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A penny for his thoughtsOur Posthuman FutureFrancis FukuyamaProfile 1799 pp400A little for Francis Fukuyama has gone a long way In 1989 he made himself famous by opining that with the breaching of the Berlin Wall history had ended His pronouncement hardly qualified as an idea it was a slogan crassly bolstering American triumphalism At the time he was a middling policy wonk in the federal government so he was merely doing his job by dressing up propaganda as philosophyHistory soon enough resumed or as Fukuyama would put it recommenced but no one remembered that in doing so it cancelled his prophetic credentials Every so often in the past decade he has attempted to reassert himself as a savant by thinking up a new slogan The last in a diatribe about social order was The Great Disruption once more the notion was not even his since he was paraphrasing Nietzsches description of the great disengagement - the assault on ancient verities that begot the modern worldNow still professing to play the oracle Fukuyama has undertaken a crash course on biotechnology helped I assume by the platoon of research assistants and the extra all-round assistant he thanks in the preface which gives him something else to be eschatological aboutHe introduces his essay by claiming a share in the sublime intellectual fury of Nietzsche There is he says a method in this madness Hesitating as if on the edge of a precipice perhaps recalling Nietzsches injunction to vault across he admits that the change of subject is quite a leap for him He might have spared us the hyperventilation If only his book had been a little more deranged in fact its merely trite and dull And as for the leap well Id rather call it a plunge plummeting straight to ground like a dropped stolid clunking brickThe arguments wearily derivative are easy to summarise Neuropharmacology has allowed us to change our behaviour and through genetic engineering we
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