By Chris Hedges
The explosions, which marked the culmination of three centuries of physics, signaled the ascendancy of the technician and scientist as our most potent agents of death.
“The concentration camps with their gas chambers, the first atomic bomb … confronted us with the stark reality of overwhelming death, not so much one’s own ~ this each of us has to face sooner or later, and however uneasily, most of us manage not to be overpowered by our fear of it ~ but the unnecessary and untimely death of millions. … Progress not only failed to preserve life but it deprived millions of their lives more effectively than had ever been possible before. Whether we choose to recognize it or not, after the second World War Auschwitz and Hiroshima became monuments to the incredible devastation man and technology together bring about.”
“It is satisfying to have had such clever and efficient pupils,” Born wrote, “but I wish they had shown less cleverness and more wisdom.”
“Over the years, I have felt a certain disapproval on your part for much that I have done. This has always seemed to me quite natural, for it is a sentiment that I share.” But of course, by then, it was too late.
Science is for us what totems and spells were for our premodern ancestors.It is magical thinking.It feeds our hubris and sense of divine empowerment.And trusting in its fearsome power will mean our extinction.
Science and technology have empowered and amplified the ancient lusts for war, violence and death.Knowledge did not free humankind from barbarism.The civilized veneer only masked the dark, inchoate longings that plague all human societies, including our own.
The future of the human race depends on naming and controlling these urges.To pretend they do not exist is to fall into self-delusion.
A rational world, a world that will protect the ecosystem and build economies that learn to distribute wealth rather than allow a rapacious elite to hoard it, will never be handed to us by the scientists and technicians.
‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, in one way or another.”
The critic Harold Bloom, in words that could be applied to Oppenheimer, called Victor Frankenstein “a moral idiot.”
They will relentlessly push forward, exploiting and pillaging, perfecting their terrible tools of technology and science, until their creation destroys them and us.They make the nuclear bombs.They extract oil from the tar sands.They turn the Appalachians into a wasteland to extract coal.They serve the evils of globalism and finance.They run the fossil fuel industry.They flood the atmosphere with carbon emissions, doom the seas, melt the polar ice caps, unleash the droughts and floods, the heat waves, the freak storms and hurricanes.Now I am become Death,
the destroyer of worlds.