We’re not talking about curing one disease, Agent. We’re talking about curing everything. How long would a human being live if there were no cancer, no heart disease, no diabetes, no Alzheimer’s?
A world without disease? Now that’s a place I’d want to live in. This ideal is pitched in Justin Cronin’s The Passage, to have the human race saved from all the suffering that happens because of viruses. “Project Noah” is an experimental drug therapy that not only cures diseases from the human body, but has the potential to make them even healthier than ever before. The only twist is the subjects that are chosen to partake in this experiment. As soon as the Sykes gave the orders to gather up some death-row inmates, my breath shortened. This is not a good idea. These folks had a bad run with the law and suddenly we trust them enough to taste the “benefits” of the new drug? We don’t even know the full effect of this “cure” and how it can change a person completely. All of this is an experiment and can easily backfire. Then what? The world that Project Noah wanted to improve, ends.
I think that the biblical reference of the project to Noah’s Ark is very interesting. In the biblical story, God instructs Noah to build an ark and save a pair of each animal on Earth from a major flood. In return, Noah’s family is saved and the whole world is basically anew. This even symbolizes the cleansing of the sinful world we live in and a fresh beginning. The novel’s Project Noah reflects on the notion of a “new life” or “new world.” This project will “cleanse” the ill body and make it even better than ever before.
The narrative also touches on the number of years Noah lived for. 950 years of life sort of runs the path of immortality, in my eyes. There is a fixation of living forever and the fear of death amongst humans. We try to stretch the number of years we are given and live it to the fullest extent we know how. Project Noah plays around with that idea and shows how much it is desired. A healthy, long life is the ideal in which the project strives for.
The search for the fountain of youth and obsession of shaping a perfect human or life is evident in the world we live in today. There’s so many ads that pop up on social media that supposedly make you thinner or youthful. Product pitching, especially those that declare “health benefits,” are seen everywhere! It’s not bad to want to be healthier, but doing so in an artificial way is not the answer. The demand for fast results is abused by the medical market because they gather people to try out their product. It is easy manipulation. This world that Cronin sees in the beginning is obsessed with improving the human race. Yet, it goes bad when the virus completely changes the world and houses vampires that are ready to feed. Yes, it is a very scary world to live in, but what’s even more frightening is the fact that all the experimental projects out there today in the medical field can potentially backfire.