Never let me go

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

Just “completed” reading the book. The first half of the book was a bit tedious, since we don’t know the meaning of the events and the specific words, but as we move on, everything becomes clear and one cannot stop reading it. It took me 2 months to finish the first half (including a few intermissions) and just a week for the second.

The story starts with a monologue of Kathy, a “carer” who works for “donors.” The carers’ job is to keep donors healthy such that the donors can continuously make “contributions”. There’s no mention on the age of the donors, the story seems to be about a kind of welfare facilities for the elderlies, and the contribution sounds like kinds of funding for the organization. Then Kathy retrospects her days at a boarding school called Hailsham where many “students” study and especially engage in art activities. Yes, looks like it’s a boring story about a nursing-care facility.

Quite opposite. The “students” were all clones of someone else, expected to “donate” not their money but their organs to someone else in the future. Before becoming donors, they work as carers looking after the donors. Sometimes after the first and in rare cases after several donations, the donors “complete”, which means they pass away. The very purpose of the intensive art activities was to claim that the kids still have souls and then to raise fund to run Hailsham.

I quite often think about the meaning of life, especially those who are artificially created. Granted, in a sense all creatures are made by someone (in many cases parents), but here I’m talking about the creatures whose very raison d’etre is to be consumed by someone. They have been animals only. However, now that bioscience develops, it won’t take much time until we end up consuming human beings.

The notion of clone humans for organ transplant is a bit disgusting, but when we think carefully, we find that it is not that simple. As we all know, more countries are getting more equal, and class mobility is getting lower. That means, to the certain extent, many people’s lives are determined when they were born despite my belief. Then, where should we draw a clear fault-line between the lives of clone humans who are expected to live just 30 years or so and those of the other “unfortunate” people whose life does not look bright? Surely clone human is an extreme idea, but there is extreme poverty haunting a billion people.

If we can’t move the premise that their fate is conditioned (to be clear — I hate that world and thus started my own company), what is the right thing we do to the children? Keep them in dismal conditions like cages until the end of their lives or let them at least experience a pleasant childhood? Although I didn’t reach to the 100% confidence, but I would like to give them the hope and then be responsible for doing so.

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Founder & CEO, Gojo & Company, Inc.

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