Programmed To Be Free
Gatacca by Andrew Niccol tells the story of Vincent, a young man naturally and traditionally engendered in a world where genetic engineering is the followed pattern to have a child. Few minutes after his birth, Vincent’s fate is revealed through a DNA analysis. Two important facts in the analysis will mark Vincent’s life, a fail in his cardio system and his life expectancy, only thirty years. The film shows a world where life is highly determined by genetics, and happiness is mostly based on the quality of the genetic profile, a kind of identity card for people. Vincent, who wants to become an astronaut and work for Gattaca, a company that launches rockets to the out space, overcomes all the difficulties present in his way defying all the premises of the biology engineering. However, it is not so clear that only free will is which leads him to his dream, an important load of determination has to do with his success.
The main premise of determinism is the following: all events are caused and there is nothing that we can do to avoid it. There are several forms of determinism: social, religious, biological, psychological. B.F.Skinner, father of radical behaviorism supported the idea that “freedom is a myth” and tried to prove how behavior responds to natural laws and to a stimuli- response model. Skinner’s ideas are still a subject of study and neuroscientists have a lot to say about determinism. Recent experiments demonstrate “that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to ten seconds before it enters awareness” (Soon). In other words, it is our brain who rules over us and not us over it. This distressing statement has been proved by many scientists such as Mark Hallet, who assures that free will is nothing but a perception of the mind: “it is much more likely that free will is entirely introspection. It is a strong and virtually universal perception, but, as been illustrated here, this perception is subject to manipulation and illusion.” However, genetic profile is based on probabilities and this gives space to the defenses of the free will and of course, a hope to Vincent.
The defendants of the free will argue that actions are not subjected to any casual forces. Creativity is a main reason to believe in free will. Creativity requires of a reflection capacity, and reflection processes involve spans of more than ten seconds. In order to fulfill his goals, Vincent makes a display of creativity that defies any deterministic theory. The very first scenes of the movie show all the strategies that Vincent makes to infiltrate into Gattaca. He brushes his body vigorously to get rid of any particles of dead skin, produces small blood bags that puts under a fake fingertip, attaches one bag of urine to his leg, which is not his own, to pass the analysis of the company. All of these actions would represent what Sartre called free will. This creativity is far beyond of the...