I was sitting my Biology 11, Basic Botany and Zoology, class and listening like the perfect little student I am. We were discussing things about the plant and animal cells. Mitochondria, chlorophyll, stroma, golgi apparatus, ribosomes and all those little things we have inside our bodies. Then a funny thought alighted on my mind. It asked me, “What if animal cells had chloroplasts?”. In other words, what if humans could photosynthesize and produce their own food?
Behold! The Plant Cell!
Then I just ran away with this idea for a while and I ended up writing this.
What if human cells could steal chloroplasts? Apparently, a certain water creature is capable of this. When it eats some kind of fungus or plant, I forgot the specifics, it steals the chloroplasts of plants so it’s a photosynthetic animal.
If humans had chloroplasts, we would be green. Or we would have patches of green that would cover our skin where the sunlight hits us most: the ridges of our noses, the planes of our foreheads, the top of our arms and our shoulders. Would people walk around naked so they could photosynthesize more when they’re really hungry? Green people working out naked. Sounds like something different.
If we were all green, would racial discrimination still exist? Or would our prominent greenness something we would all overlook given the distinctiveness our different facial structures have?
If we were all green and don’t need to eat, would we miss the tantalizing curse of food? The succulent flavors of fruit juices and the fire of spices that we could once savor in our mouths? Or would we carry on eating just to satisfy the selfish cravings of our palates?
If we were all green and could produce our own food, would world hunger end? Would wars cease? Or would humans find another cause for war aside from resource scarcity? Would people stop working just to get money for food? Stop stealing to feed their families? Would jobs become less like work and instead, more closely reflect the passion every human being has since we could risk much more without the overbearing shadow of needing money for sustenance? Would photosynthesis make happiness and peace more easily grasped?
If we could all photosynthesize, would our excess starch mean we could produce enlarged body organs and parts that we could pluck off and give to a starving animal? Roots from our toes we could share, stems from our fingers we can give away. Literally pieces of ourselves we offer up to give sustenance to those who need it, or, maybe, just wants to taste a bit of it. Perhaps, we could grow our hearts and pluck it or portions of it from inside our chest so someone else can literally have our heart? Would that mean we could also give pieces of our brains away, so people can taste our thoughts or have pieces of our minds?
If our cells become totipotent, which is to have the ability to become any specialized cell that is demanded of it, like plant cells, would we have the ability to grow back the parts of ourselves we have given away and therefore, become as selfless as trees?
Would that mean we could be immortal or at least grow so old that we would get bored with the world and eventually offer ourselves up to be eaten away into oblivion by other creatures who cannot photosynthesize?
The Photosynthetic Slug