Yes, you read that headline correctly: scientists now believe head transplants are possible. Nay, perhaps even desirable. Consider this:
Note that the article is accompanied by large picture boldly emblazoned at the top of the piece, depicting the wondrous advantages of head transplants to people with terrible disfigurement. But the real Frankenstein possibilities are noted at the very end of the article:
"Paraplegics with qualifying injuries (i.e., enough spinal cord left intact to allow for a head transplant) could in theory regain the full use of a (donor) body. Likewise, patients with muscular dystrophy could be given whole new lives. Aside from the enormous technical challenges a head transplant would present, another potential barrier is cost. Canavero estimates that the total cost of a head transplant would be at least €10 million euros ($13 million.)"
Now, notably absent in this wondrous new vista of head transplants is any consideration of the human person and how all this might be affected. Transplant recipients - particularly of heart transplants - have long recorded that they have unusual emotions, foreign emotions, and even foreign memories, someone else's memories. Now imagine this with, well, someone else's head.
The whole possibility reminds me not so much of Percy Shelley's Frankenstein (yes, I said Percy, not Mary), but rather of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein (that's pronounced Frahnk-n-STEEN, for those of you who haven't seen the movie), where an incompetent lab assistant (played by Marty Feldman) robs a local brain depository not of the brain of its most prestigious sanctified and brilliant resident, but of the defective brain of its most addle-minded and criminal nincompoop.
Well, look around. We have abundant heads of nincompoops - think of Congress or Parliament here, or of the White House, the Bundeskanzlei, the Elysee Palace, 10 Downing, the Old Lady of Threadneedle, the Fed Reserve chairmen, BIS groupies - so the whole problem all along has been the wrong people in the wrong place with the wrong heads on the wrong bodies.
We can, for example, solve the world's financial problem by (1) cloning Murray Rothbard several times (2) severing his/their heads, and (3) transplanting the Rothbard heads onto the Bernanke, Rockefailure, Rottenchild bodies, et voila! financial sanity. And, in the ultimate touch, we could at the same time give them human hearts by transplanting a few of those we'd clone from someone known for sanctity, after growing their organs in various pigs or goats(we'd have to shop around for some suitable candidates... Francis of Assisi maybe).
....ah, the bright transhumanist future beckons.
The trouble is, folks, that some of these people would actually think all this is good (except maybe the heart transplant part, because they already think they have human hearts).
But either way one slices it (er.... that may not be the best choice of words here), one thing is abundantly clear:
These people are nattering nut-kabobs.
See you on the flip side.