Commentary on Siti Nurani Mohd Nor

- Masahiro Morioka
Integrated Arts and Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University, Gakuencho, Sakai, Osaka 599-8531, JAPAN

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 9 (1999), 169.
In the article, "New Reproductive Biotechnology, Values, and Society," Prof. Nor questions how we can create society that has at its core a deep sense of religious consciousness, and at the same time, being industrious, dynamic and devoted to advancement. But, it seems to me almost impossible for society to meet both requirements cited above. Industrialization and scientific progress have weakened our traditional religious sensitivity in every part of the world. To be scientific and industrialized, in a sense, means to be able to live without the power of god(s). Hence, those people sometimes lose the necessity of sticking to their religions.

However, it is also true that we can not continue enjoying our scientific and industrialized world without some kinds of "spirituality," because after acquiring much pleasure, positions, and money, we can not help thinking the meaning of our own life, and sometimes suddenly realize that we are not happy in reality. In Japan, many youngsters are beginning to say that they have much money and pleasure, but they are not happy. And some of them try to cut their wrists, or do violence to others without specific reasons. I believe it's time to think how we can put a kind of "spirituality" into the core of our industrialized, scientific civilization. This spirituality may not necessarily be the one that is based on a particular religion. Anyway, our civilization strongly needs spirituality that has a potential of changing the course of our civilization. But how? In this way, we reach the starting point again.

Professor Nor suggests the ordinary Malaysian's attitudes towards reproductive technologies are not strongly "religious" in the sense that they sometimes have eugenic ideas or "perfect baby" expectations some religious texts prohibited. Of course, people in a secular world have those ideas everywhere in the world; Malaysia is no exception. However, I wonder if these secular and worldly people do not have any kind of spirituality. People have eugenic ideas, but at the same time, some of them seek the way not to kill fetus that has severe disabilities. This may be a rare case, but we can sometimes be spiritual without religion. Hence, I want to know what happens in our mind system in the case like this. Some call this "love of life" or "compassion." I want to know how it can work in this scientific and industrialized society. Simply insisting the importance of love does not suffice. We need the way to put it into the core of our social system and the core of our inner self. This is a really difficult challenge for us, but this is the topic our bioethics must face.

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