No one is the perfect specimen, but we have the fantasy that through body modification we can achieve perfection. Hence Heidi Montag’s 10 surgeries that took her from natural beauty to freakish cyborg.
Heidi may have her Barbie body, but what’s the next surgery for perfection? The ideal of beauty is mercurial, and even with body modification you may find yourself one procedure behind. Could the future of popular body modification be eye jewels, pointy ears, or animal features?
When does body modification become necessary for you to function as a normal member of society? What if what once gave you distinction is now imperative to simply be normal? This is a particular concern in the field of cosmetic neurology: “Some neurologists recently have wondered whether their field is the next frontier in elective medicine. The specialty now tries to protect ailing brains from conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or migraine headaches. But doctors’ efforts one day may extend to normal brains.” “As he envisions it, cosmetic neurology one day could mean not only sharpening intelligence, but also elevating other dictates of the brain — reflexes, attention, mood and memory. Studying for the SAT? Take this drug to retain more of those pesky facts. About to report for duty at the fire station? These pills will improve your reflexes. Here’s the 800 number. Ask your doctor.” “In his editorial, Chatterjee also raised questions about whether cosmetic neurology might lead to coercion in certain professions. If a drug improved the emergency reaction of pilots, would they then be forced to take it? Would you pay more for a flight knowing the pilots took the drug?”
We’ve been taught to trust in science and progress to improve our lives. But with each new technology for body modification comes new societal ideals. What are we leaving behind and striving towards? Is it ever reachable?