‘Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows its madness, and every country has an excuse.’ – Carl Sagan.
It would be difficult to not be moved by this comment. It would be difficult too to find anything but horror in the idea of a full nuclear exchange. Like Carl Sagan, and many others, I am terrified by the concept of nuclear war. The bright light, the atomic fireball, and the mushroom cloud are all symbols for me of human’s ingenuity, and agressive savagery. In our mad rush to kill each other we have harnessed the very same power that has kept the stars burning for billions of years.
If we are alone in the universe, and the only known measure for moral behaviour then with nuclear weapons we come to a troubling position, and relisation. That we have used the best minds of a generation to build weapons capable of wiping most, if not all life, from earth:
Robert J. Oppenheimer quoting the Bhagavad Gītā.
Not everyone, however, would be killed in a full nuclear exchange; the survivors would face new horrors: radiation ruining the land and water, dust covering the skies potentially leading to a ‘Nuclear Winter’, leagues of people blinded and burned by the fireballs, and the overall sense of hopelessness: civilisation destroyed because of petty, immature differences. It is fully within mankind’s power to kill itself in a blinding light of destruction, and potentially ruin the planet that gave us life and has been our home.
The mere fact that these weapons still exist should tell us that we as a speices need to mature – we need to realise that we are not heroic Man, or Humanity, a proud and noble race apart from the rest of the animal kingdom because of our ‘genius’ and ‘intelligence’. Instead it seems that ‘genius’ and ‘intelligence’ is one of the main problems with humanity, but so can it also save us. There is obviously great potential in humanity, and if we can fully learn to accept the fact that we are mere animals on a small and fragile planet, alone and adrift, then we might have a better chance of survival. We are not gods, and we should only hold ourselves to blame for our own actions. For all our proud achievements, theories and ideas we are little better than children showing off a doodle to a disinterested parent.
We must learn to accept ourselves as the simple and violent, but basically rational animals that we are, aspiring to something more - something we can’t fully describe or appreciate yet: Civilisation. If we give ourselves over to our own primordial impulses then we are ruining ourselves and our potential.
You need to be logged in to comment