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Cloning & Individualism

In: Social Issues

Submitted By glennheng22
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Results May Vary: Adam Phillips’s Theory of Cloning and The Paradoxical Apotheosis of Individualism Adam Phillips’s essay “Sameness Is All” takes the form of a dialogue with two children to introduce the fantasy of cloning in which everyone is identical. Specifically, Phillips observes that cloning is a “denial of difference and dependence” which leads to a “refusal of need” (92). However, Phillip remains mindful that such fantasy of physical or psychological sameness is implausible as everyone is different - even clones. One then questions the significance of such wanting of sameness, or if the sense of sameness serves any purpose. Using the concept of Self and Other that Joanne Finkelstein examines in “The Self as Sign,” I propose that the sense of sameness that is offered by the illusion of cloning allows one to establish a sense of identity. In a final analysis, I will elaborate on Finkelstein’s arguments on the Self and Other to shed light on the question posed by Philips on whether cloning was the death or apotheosis of individualism, and suggest that cloning has the paradoxical outcome of reinforcing individualism even as one seeks uniformity. Cloning is supposed to lead to conformity and uniformity, the absolute sameness. Phillips argues that cloning is appealing to society because it seems to represent a cure for “the terrors and delights of competition” (90-91). What is interesting, however, is the eventual admission by Phillips that this absolute sameness is impossible as “people, in actuality, can never be identical” (94) due to the difference in our individual histories and environment - among other factors which influences our individuality. This admission by Phillips prompts us to further ponder a question he poses in his essay: “Is cloning the death or the apotheosis of individualism” (88)? If we consider cloning as...

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