By Nathaniel Counts
Politics, theoretically at least, is a process designed to enhance the sense of wellbeing of its citizens. The success of this process, the amount of wellbeing that can be created, is hamstrung by biology – we have basal levels of felt wellbeing that are determined through some amount of nature and nurture, and that are independent of our present circumstances. Because there is a biological component to it, we may be able to alter an individual’s basal wellbeing before they reach adulthood. For example, if hypomania, a psychological condition where the individual only experiences the manic part of bipolar disorder, were found to have a definitively genetic etiology, gene therapy could be used on embryos so that they would grow up to experience the constant heightened state of wellbeing associated with the condition (for an interesting article on hypomania and wellbeing, see here).