The toxic effect modernity has had on the human organism goes largely unremarked as we focus instead on the more easily visible devastation around us. Thus, while it is readily and broadly acknowledged that modern development has poisoned the planet, the fantasy persists that it has made us, its human beneficiaries, into better, more enlightened, more tolerant, more moral beings.
We fail to see that the mutagenic effects of modernity have not spared us. Blinded by the progressive idea that our progressive notions are improvements over those of our supposedly primitive forebears, we hallucinate that our stuntedness, our degeneration, makes us tower above them.
Thus, although progressive thought openly revels in its unnaturalness, in its violation of traditional norms, in its disruption of gender, in its promotion of every form of intellectual and aesthetic aberration and deformity, it evades detection as being of a piece with the larger anthropogenic destruction of nature. We fail to notice that modern technological magic has inflicted its most deleterious effects on those closest to it, its inventors and practitioners.
In science fiction, which projects onto the future what is already in the past, mutation tends to be equated with physical disfigurement. Modernity’s most damaging effects, however, are spiritual. And of these, the least visible is the loss of the ability to judge spiritual disfigurement, to see our own degradation for what it is.