Discussions of genetic enhancements often imply deep suspicions about human desires to manipulate or enhance the course of our future. These unspoken assumptions about the arrogance of the quest for perfection are at odds with the normally hopeful resonancy we find in contemporary theology. The author argues that these fears, suspicions and accusations are misplaced. The problem lies not with the question of whether we should pursue perfection, but rather what perfection we are pursuing.
Three cases of pediatric surgical body modification--limb lengthening, normalization of genitalia, and craniofacial surgery--are considered through the moral language used by those who experience these surgeries. This language has been described as altruistic individualism. Decision making remains individualist, but it also shows considerable concern for others; egoism is complementary with altruism. The altruistic individualist is one of many incompatible identities that are predicted and described by the figure of the cyborg.
After a review of the history of the subject, it is pointed out that Mason's deep trance hypnosis, were it employable in all cases and not just in 10-15% of them, would be the ideal anaesthetic. "Narco-hypnosis" is described as a method employable by the anaesthetist and advantageous in a certain number of operations.
An approach to outpatient anesthesia using drugs that have reversible or very short-acting effects is described, along with a method of monitoring patients using pulse rate to assess tranquility. Preoperatively, the patient is given 1 mg of lorazepam the evening before surgery and sublingual lorazepam 1 mg combined with hydroxyzine 50 mg intramuscularly one hour before surgery. Before infiltration of local anesthesia, intravenous diazepam in 2.5 mg increments is given if needed, followed by a mixture of meperidine and pentazocine intravenously in exactly a 10:1 ratio.