The Luxury of Morals
I was reading this today. Quite shocking, particularly this bit:
I’ve optimized soups,” Moskowitz told me. “I’ve optimized pizzas. I’ve optimized salad dressings and pickles. In this field, I’m a game changer.
To think of food as being “optimized” (and I am a product manager; I “optimize” products all the time) is one thing. But Moskowitz followed up:
There’s no moral issue for me,” he said. “I did the best science I could. I was struggling to survive and didn’t have the luxury of being a moral creature. As a researcher, I was ahead of my time.
This sounds so much like the ultimately destructive scientist in dystopian movies, making excuses retrospectively while also trying to establish his brilliance.
If being a “moral creature” is a “luxury” – and I say this as someone who has struggled to survive myself, with two children, no less – then we’re here. In the future. Day by day I go past the New York harbor, watching our ships come in – literally. Ships filled with cheap merchandise made by who knows what impoverished men, women and children from who knows which lands, unloading from their containers and shipping off to Wal-Mart in a logistical wet dream. I spend a considerable amount of money each week (and time, in terms of food prep) on Real Food because eating what I’m apparently being programmed to is literally an exercise in futility (if not morbidity).
The only ones who benefit from this level of mass-production – and it is everywhere, from our food to our clothing to our furniture to our transportation, our movies and TV and even our books – are the corporations. And they seem to be quite happy to merely repackage their messages until we swallow them like we do Cheetos.
I don’t want optimized pickles. I want the real thing. And that’s the least of it. I want my daughters to grow up and grow old. I want the world to have green in it, for my grandchildren and their grandchildren. And I want them all to do good things – because doing good things is not a luxury. It’s how we’re going to continue to live.