Drug experiments which restore sanity and intellect to the senile suggest a future when every child will be a genius. Care to become a genius? A top-rank musician, painter, writer, philosopher, mathematician, inventor, scientist, states man, wizard of finance – or a combination of the lot? In the future geniuses may be manufactured by the millions, by drugs or surgery.
“What has a genius got that I haven’t?” asks the average man. “More oxygen in the brain,” say scientists.
Dr. Klingman and Garnett were studying 17 very old patients at Virginia University Hospital. The patients were in a state of semi-imbecile due to high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis (narrowed, hardened arteries). The doctors injected into each patient a tiny dose of cytochrome every day for a few weeks. Within a few days 11 of the 17 recovered sanity, their minds became clear.
Cytochrome C is a substance, found in red-blooded animals and humans, which facilitates transfer of oxygen to the tissues. In old age less cytochrome C is made in the body, as a result the tissue-cells get less oxygen.
Most body cells can “make do” with less oxygen, but not brain cells. They just fade out. As a result their owner becomes mentally confused or sinks into stupor. This had happened to the Virginia hospital patients.
Injections of cytochrome C, extracted by a difficult, costly process from stockyard animals restored these patients to sanity, but supplies ran out in a few weeks and the patients relapsed into senile dementia.
If cytochrome C can transform aged minds from semi-imbecility to normality, why should not extra doses of this substance in childhood raise minds from normality to genius?
That should happen if genius depends on a rich supply of oxygen to the brain.
Along comes world-famous New York psychiatrist Dr. Edward Podolsky with proof. Over past century brains of many famous men have been examined after death to seek a clue to their genius. Size proved no criterion.
Complex brain convolutions (twists which provide a bigger area) were claimed to indicate intelligence. But celebrated anatomist Weidenreich pointed out that the whale’s brain has more convolutions than man’s, yet no one considers the whale a genius.
However, Dr. Podolsky finds that brains of geniuses have wider arteries and a better blood supply than the ordinary fellow’s. Their brains get more oxygenated blood and oxygen is the fuel of thought.
He foresees a future when extra arteries may be spliced into the brain circulation (on the same lines as the present operations for “blue babies”) so as to change morons to normal persons, and normal persons to geniuses.
If it’s as simple as that, why not become a genius by spending several hours a day in a hospital oxygen tent.
No good, say scientists – cytochrome C is needed. In pneumonia there’s any amount of it in the tissues, but the diseased lungs don’t supply enough oxygen for it to work on, so to supply extra oxygen is correct.
It is similarly correct to supply oxygen to plane passengers at high altitudes. The passengers have cytochrome enough in their tissues, but there’s a lack of oxygen in the rarefied air.
Extra Blood Supply
Down on the ground, however, if extra oxygen is supplied to a healthy person his tissues don’t absorb more than their cytochrome can deal with; and if too rich a mixture of oxygen and air is breathed, it causes convulsions.
So in the future surgeons may switch an extra blood supply into the brain by artery graft and administer a synthetic drug, with similar properties, to cytochrome C, making everybody a genius.
What would a world run by geniuses become? Idealists imagine a world without war, under one government, with robots and ingenious gadgets doing the work, every other day a holiday, and so on.
If you’ve read any biographies of geniuses you’ll feel that that is unlikely. If you know man’s history from BC 1,000,000 to date, with growth of war running parallel to growth of intellect, it seems unlikelier still.
A world in which everybody knows everything would be no Utopia.