Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Human Society in Ethics and Politics, Part Two, Chapter VI

Part Two, Chapter VI (pages 208-212), “Scientific Technique and the Future”

The peaceful uses of atomic power hold great potential – but its military uses threaten the continued existence of life on earth. The old military logic, that of arming yourself beyond the capabilities of your likely rivals, implied that wars were as bloody as the prevailing technology permitted. In the nuclear age, this logic will bring doom, and not just for the warring parties. Nor are the existential threats only nuclear – biological weapons might have similar destructive potential. “It is impossible to foresee any limits to the harm which scientific ingenuity can enable men to inflict upon each other [p. 210].” Ingrained ways of thought are leading us to catastrophe, but these patterns of thought are proving hard to change. The idea that a war can be won is obsolete. Our salvation requires that our wisdom grow to match our skill. “It is the imperative duty of us all in the perilous years that lie ahead to struggle to replace the old crude passions of hate and greed and envy by a new wisdom based upon the realization of our common danger, a danger created by our own folly, and curable only by a diminution of that folly [p. 212].” Hatred is reciprocated, so people’s hearts must soften. And our well-being depends upon the well-being of others. This truth has long been known to sages, but the need to implement it in practice now is vital.

No comments: