Saturday, June 06, 2015
Jewels of Logic About Nukes--That You Probably Haven't Thought Of
I'll probably vote for Bernie Sanders no matter what, even if it costs Hillary the election. I think it will be easier to politically activate people under a clownish, blatantly sold-out, almost psychopathological Republican than it would be under a faux-liberal female Democrat. The System of global oligarchs has, over the centuries, become amazingly subtle, replacing gulags with TV, and replacing dictators with a cool black guy who likes to play basketball, and soon, with a WOMAN, who do pretty much what dictators do. Amerika becomes a Third World country while the elites form a more powerful and relentless oligarchy. They spy on us, send our kids to wars for plunder and power, and take away OUR power to the point that we become peasants . . . peasants with nice TV's and amazing smartphones.
The only rub to my plan to vote for Sanders is, like I say, that I might be contributing to a Republican victory. It's EXTREMELY bad manners for Americans to let a KNOWN IDIOT hold the nuclear button for even a minute! We arrogantly risk the life of EVERY human with our nuclear weapons, especially when entrusted to an idiot such as Bush (any Bush), McCain, Sarah Palin, etc.). The way I understand it, our nuclear weapons policy is: "We might use some small "battlefield" nukes here and there if we really have to, or maybe a few nuclear "bunker buster" bombs, but nobody else can ever use them. We will match a full-scale attack with a full-scale retaliation, turning the attacking country [and inadvertently much of the world] into a glass parking lot, even though we'll all be dead in a few minutes or hours and won't really be able to enjoy the revenge. And by the way, Obama has already embarked on a trillion-dollar project to modernize our nuclear arsenal, to make our bombs more reliable."
And yet this horrible machine that we're spending our national treasure on, while our schools fail and our infrastructure crumbles, is a machine that can never be used. How bizarre to improve the function and reliability of a machine that can never be used! If we deploy even one nuke (on the average, each of our warheads is about 1,000 times more powerful than the bombs we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cutely named "Fat Man" and "Little Boy"), it's likely to escalate into actual nuclear war, which would result in humans of ALL countries becoming EXTINCT or at best finding themselves living in a world where the living truly do envy the dead.
According to Jonathan Schell, "The brink is not the sharp edge of a cliff, where one can stand firmly, look down, and decide whether or not to plunge. Rather, the brink is a curved slope that one can stand on with some risk of slipping."
The following is from the most famous book of recently deceased Jonathan Schell, America's most well known and respected writer about the nuclear peril humanity faces since Albert Einstein wrote about the same topic, THE FATE OF THE EARTH. Savor each of these quotes I extracted from this somewhat repetitive, not always interesting book. Don't rush. These are shining jewels of logic I found within it. A lot of us don't OWN all these concepts, but it's important that we do. Schell reasoned these concepts out for us. At the beginning of this list of quotes is my little mini-review of his book.
Note that some of my political emails are about things that don't impact you directly. Who knows?--maybe 500 years from now, Bush's decision in 2003 to invade Iraq might be seen as a good thing, something that prevented China from becoming too powerful too soon. But according to several respectable statistical studies that have taken into account all of the known nuclear close calls the United States and Russia have had, the fact that we're still alive and comfortable is the result of approximately a 50-50 coin toss. We have been less than 5 minutes from total global nuclear holocaust more than once. Nuclear proliferation and worldwide nuclear policies based on nationalism might just be YOUR BIGGEST PROBLEM, even though it doesn't seem like it.
This guy Jonathan Schell is BRILLIANT! What a beautiful mind! It's like living in 1860 and reading Darwin for the first time. I'll bet that a lot of these concepts are totally new to you, even though they are available by simply thinking honestly and analytically about what is probably humanity's biggest problem.
[B+] Fate of the Earth, 1982 book by Jonathan Schell [recently deceased, which brought this book to my attention, and is why I read it in January 2014], makes you see the consequences of nuclear war. I don't think I'll include this book in my lifetime favorites list even though it's super important (people have given FAR too little thought to what extinction means!) because the author is just too repetitive. I like how it gets philosophical and deals with the meaning of extinction from a lot of different angles, but it gradually becomes too much of a philosophy book, while the first half of it is much tighter--a scientific discussion that makes the nature and MEANING of nuclear danger very clear.
p 4 ". . . the world as a whole has thus far failed to fashion or to discover within ourselves an emotional or intellectual or political response to nuclear weapons. This peculiar failure of response, in which hundreds of millions of people acknowledge the presence of an immediate on remitting threat to their existence and to the existence of the world they live in but do nothing about it--a failure in which both self interest and fellow feelings seem to have died--has itself been such a striking phenomenon that it has to be regarded as an extremely important part of the nuclear predicament . . ."
p 6 Jimmy Carter: ". . . the survivors, if any, would live in despair amid the poison ruins of a civilization that had committed suicide."
p 8 "A society that systematically shuts its eyes to an urgent peril to its physical survival and fails to take any steps to save itself cannot be called psychologically well. In effect, whether we think about nuclear weapons or avoid thinking about them, their presence among us makes us sick, and there seems to be little of a purely mental or emotional nature that we can do about it."
Interesting: if an airplane is shot down by bullets and everybody dies, there's not much difference for the passengers, although a few of them might have died immediately from the bullets while others died a few moments later from the crash. (analogy for hydrogen bomb holocaust "survivors")
Political revolutions involve lots of people, build over time, and don't last, while scientific revolutions are led by 1 or 2 people and never die! Scientists, as they construct the ever growing structure of scientific knowledge, are like bees, building a more and more complex and elaborate hive. Also, science, the most powerful revolution on Earth, is a leaderless revolution.
p 100 "As long as that knowledge [how to make a nuclear bomb] is in our possession, the atoms themselves, each one stocked with its prodigious supply of energy, are, in a manner of speaking, in a perilously advanced state of mobilization for nuclear hostilities, and any conflict anywhere in the world can become a nuclear one. To disarm matter itself, converting it back into its relatively safe, inert, nonexplosive 19th century Newtonian state--something that not even the physics of our own time can teach us how to do."
p 105 "A disturbing corollary of the scientists inability even to for see the path of science, to say nothing of determining it, is that while science is without doubt the most powerful revolutionary force in our world, no one directs that force."
An escape to space to live with peaceful people in a big space station or settle on another nice planet is a fallacy, since we would take the knowledge of making nuclear weapons with us!
p 108 "If, given the world's discouraging record of political achievement, a lasting political solution seems almost beyond human powers, It may give us confidence to remember that what challenges us is simply our extraordinary success in another field of activity--the scientific. We have only to learn to live politically in the world in which we already live scientifically."
p 113 "Death, having been augmented by human strength, has lost its appointed place in the natural order and become a counter-evolutionary force, capable of destroying in few years, or even in few hours, what evolution has built up over billions of years."
"One might say that after billions of years nature, by creating a species equipped with reason and will, turned it's fate, which had previously been decided by slow, unconscious movements of natural evolution, over to the conscious decisions of just one of its species. When this occurred, human activity, which until then had been confined to the historical realm--which, in turn, had been supported by the broader biological current--spilled out of it's old boundaries and came to menace both history and biology. Thought and will became mightier than the earth that had given birth to them. Now human beings became actors in the geological time span, and the laws that had governed the development and the survival of life began to be superseded by processes in the mind of man. Here however there were no laws; there was only choice, and the thinking and feeling that guide choice. The reassuring, stable, self sustaining prehistoric world of nature drops away, and in its place mankind's own judgments, moods, and decisions loomed up with an unlooked-for terrifying importance."
p 132 "In actuality, of course, no one is proposing the voluntary suicide of everyone on earth; on the contrary, what is being claimed is that one or two countries have the right to jeopardize all countries and their descendants in the name of certain beliefs."
p 149 "The scientists working on the Manhattan Project wanted to send word to President Truman, who was at the Potsdam Conference, that the detonation near Alamogordo [150 miles south of my birthplace, Albuquerque, New Mexico] had been successful, they chose the horrible but apt code phrase "Babies satisfactorily born." Since then, these "babies"--which are indeed like the offspring of a new species, except that it is a species not of life but of anti-life, threatening to end life--have "proliferated" steadily under our faithful care, bringing forth "generation" after "generation" of weapons, each more numerous and more robust than the last, until they now threaten to do away with their creators altogether. Yet while we did all this we somehow kept the left hand from knowing--or from dwelling on--what the right hand was doing; and the separation out of our lives from awareness of the doom that was being prepared under us and around us was a largely preserved."
"It is probably crucial psychologically in maintaining this divorce that, once Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been pushed out of mind, the nuclear peril grew in such a way that while it relentlessly came to threaten the existence of everything, it physically touched nothing . . ."
Even if we're only building nukes to be safe, the threat of using them is only valid if there is actually a chance we will, which means we are all in the act of being immoral every second of every day.
In 1930 Freud predicted human caused destruction of humanity.
p 157 ". . . every generation that holds the earth hostage to nuclear distraction holds a gun to the head of its own children."
p 161 "As long as politics fails to take up the nuclear issue in a determined way, it lives closer than any other activity to the lie that we have all come to live--the pretense that life lived on top of a nuclear stockpile can last."
"In this timid, crippled thinking, "realism" is the title given to beliefs whose most notable characteristic is their failure to recognize the chief reality of the age, the pit into which our species threatens to jump . . ." [You are considered naively altruistic and goofy if you talk about a world at peace, a world without nuclear weapons.]
Solzhenitsyn: "Woe to that nation whose literature is disturbed by the intervention of power because that is not just a violation against freedom of print, it is the closing down of the heart of the nation, a slashing to pieces of its memory."
p 171 "The idea of escaping extinction before one was born is a strange one for us, since it is so new, but to generations that live deep in nuclear time, and who know that their existence has depended on the wisdom and restraint of a long succession of generations before them, we can be sure that the idea will be familiar."
p 172 "By acting to save this species, and repopulating the future, we break out of the cramped, claustrophobic isolation of a doomed present, and open a path to the greater space--the only space fit for human habitation--of past, present, and future."
p 173 "By threatening life in its totality, the nuclear peril creates new connections between the elements of human existence--a new mingling of the public and the private, the political and the emotional, the spiritual and the biological."
p 174 "Formerly the future was simply given to us; now it must be achieved. We must become the agriculturalists of time. If we do not plant and cultivate the future years of human life, we will never reap them."
"Instead of being asked not to kill our neighbors, we are asked to let them be born."
p 175 The nuclear peril makes all of us, whether we have children of our own or not, the parents of all future generations.
p 177 More and more, the earth is coming to resemble a single body . . . inhabited by billions separate intelligences and wills. In these circumstances, the use of violence is like the left hand attacking the right, or like both hands attacking the throat.
p 178 We need to remember that neither as individuals nor as a species have we created ourselves. And we need to remember that our swollen power is not to create but only a power to destroy.
p 186 "What is needed to make extinction possible, therefore, is some way of thinking about it that at least partly deflects our attention from what it is. And this way of thinking is supplied to us, unfortunately, by our political and military traditions, which, with the weight of almost all historical experience behind them, teach us that it is the way of the world for the Earth to be divided up into independent sovereign states, and for these states to employ war as the final arbiter for settling disputes that arise among them."
p 187 "One might say that they [nuclear bombs] appeared in the world in a military disguise . . ."
p 188 "We try to make due with Newtonian politics in an Einsteinian world."
"... It is not an external, self-propelled peril . . . rather the peril comes from our own actions--from within us . . ."
p 194 "The doctrine that resulted was the doctrine of nuclear deterrence: the forbidding political and intellectual product of our attempt to live simultaneously in the two worlds--the nuclear, scientific world and the pre-nuclear military and political one."
p 196 "And as long as we continue to accept the underlying assumptions of this strategy we will be condemned to go on sketching scenarios for futures that must never be, while neglecting all planning for futures that CAN be and that would permit us to be."
[author is being ironic] Salvation from extinction by nuclear weapons is to be found in the nuclear weapons themselves.
p 199 "the sturdy child of terror." [Churchill] "According to this logic, safety can only be as great as the terror is, and the terror therefore has to be kept relentless. ... "distruction" must, conversely, be "assured," as though our game were to destroy, and not to save, mankind."
p 200 "Each side actually has an interest in maintaining its adversary's retaliatory forces as well as its own."
p 202 "Once the action begins, the whole doctrine is self canceled. In sum, the doctrine is based on a monumental logical mistake: one cannot credibly deter a first strike with a second strike whose reason for being dissolves the moment the first strike arrives."
p 203 "To grasp the reality of the contradiction, we have only to picture circumstances of leaders whose country has just been annihilated in a first strike. Now their country is on its way to becoming a radioactive desert, but the retaliatory nuclear force survives in its silos, bombers, and submarines. These leaders of nobody, living in underground shelters or in "doomsday" planes that could not land, would possess the means of national defense but no nation to defend. What rational purpose could they have in launching a retaliatory strike?"
p 205 ". . . adding to Kahn's concept of reasoned insanity the planned accident. The strategy in effect, he writes, "the brink is not the sharp edge of a cliff, where one can stand firmly, look down, and decide whether or not to plunge. Rather, the brink is a curved slope that one can stand on with some risk of slipping.""
210 ". . . thus, the peril of extinction is the price the world pays NOT [emphasis mine] for "safety" or "survival" but for its insistence on continuing to divide itself up into sovereign nations. The nuclear powers put a higher value on national sovereignty than they do on human survival."
215 "It is as though a number of people, each one possessing certain valuables that the others want and, furthermore, think they have a right to, are grouped in a room around a single bomb that is large enough to kill them all if it goes off. Each person holds in his hands a switch with which he can detonate the bomb."
217 "For the doctrine's central claim–that it deploys nuclear weapons only in order to prevent their use--is simply not true. Actually, it deploys them to protect national sovereignty, and if this aim were not present they could be quickly dismantled."
"For to build this machine at all was a mistake of the hugest proportions ever known--without question the greatest ever made by our species. Now deterrence, having rationalized the construction of the machine, weds us to it, and, at best, offers us, if we are lucky, a slightly extended term of residence on earth before the inevitable human or mechanical mistake occurs and we are annihilated."
"National sovereignty lies at the very core of the political issues that the peril of extinction forces upon us. Sovereignty is the "reality" that the "realists" counsel us to accept as evidence, referring to any alternative as "unrealistic" or "utopian." But that political realism is not biological realism; it is biological nihilism–and for that reason is, of course, political nihilism, too." [beautiful logic, Joe!]
219 "This predicament is sort of a cage that has quietly grown up around the earth, imprisoning every person on it, and the demanding terms of the predicament--its durability, it's global political sweep, its human totality--constitute the bars of that cage.
Admiral Hyman Rickover, who devoted a good part of his life to overseeing the development and construction of nuclear power and nuclear-missile-bearing submarines for the United States Navy, told a congressional committee that in his belief mankind was going to destroy itself with nuclear arms.
p 222 "Thus in today's system the actual weapons have already retired halfway from their traditional military role. They are psychological weapons, whose purpose is not to be employed but to maintain a permanent state of mind--terror--in the adversary."
p 225 "And yet simply to recognize that the task is at bottom political, and that the only a political solution can prepare the way for full disarmament and real safety for the species, is in itself important."
"Moreover, this recognition forces us to acknowledge that nuclear disarmament cannot occur if conventional arms are left in place, since as long as nations defend themselves with arms of any kind they will be fully sovereign, and as long as they are fully sovereign they will be at liberty to build nuclear weapons if they so choose."
p 230 "We deny the truth that is all around us. Just as inertia produces despair--a despair often so deep that it does not even know it self as despair--arousal and action would give us access to hope, and life would start to mend: not just life in its entirety but daily life, every individual life. At that point we would begin to withdraw from our role as both the victims and the perpetrators of mass murder."
p 231 "Two paths lie before us. One leads to death, the other to life. If we choose the first path--if we numbly refuse to acknowledge the nearness of extinction, all the while increasing our preparations to bring it about--then we in effect become the allies of death, and in everything we do our attachment to life will weaken: our vision, blinded to the abyss that is open at our feet, will dim and grow confused; our will, discouraged by the thought of trying to build on such a precarious foundation anything that is meant to last, will slacken; and we will sink into stupid stupefaction, as though we were gradually weaning ourselves from life in preparation for the end."
"One day--and it is hard to believe that it will not be soon--we will make our choice. Either we will sink into the final coma and end it all or, as I trust and believe, we will awaken to the truth of our peril, a truth as great as life itself, and, like a person who has swallowed a lethal poison but shakes off his stupor at the last moment and vomits the poison up, we will break through the layers of our denials, put aside our fainthearted excuses, and rise up to cleanse the earth of nuclear weapons."
Wow, if you're still with me, THANKS! If you have any comments, please post them by clicking on the Comments link below.