Saturday, August 09, 2008

August 9 and Us

My attention fell into the hole of August 9 via a C&L link about missing Nixon 44 years after his resignation, where it then swirled down through the This Week in Peace summary until it hit Franz Jagerstatter , a coscientious objector, publicly beheaded in Berlin on this day in 1943, a story of such profound resonance that it reminded me that we are completing the cycle of the A-bomb anniversaries, Hiroshima (8-6-1945) and Nagasaki (8-9-1945).

If you follow the above link to the wiki history of Nagasaki, the sub-heading "Modern Era" seems to be followed mostly by a picture of a mushroom cloud, an unintentional warning much more dire than all the pretend mushroom clouds invoked to justify war since that time.

I have actually been to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One of the strongest surviving memories is clinging to the iron rail around the Genbaku domu (A-bomb dome) sobbing.

The other memory is of the paper cranes, the beautiful outcome of another sad story, growing like a beautiful memory scar over both peace parks.

The message was overwhelmingly clear: our technology is going to kill us unless we figure out how to get along.

Yes. The message really is that simple, but unfortunately learning to get along really is clearly a difficult and complex undertaking, much more so than nanotechnology, moon landings or massive Olympic extravaganzas, as recent events in Georgia continue to illustrate.

So we do need simple signposts pointing the way towards getting along, but we also need to figure out how to wire these ideals into enough human brains to matter.

To do this we will have to utilize all of our learning and technology, everything we have learned from history, literature, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, psychiatry, neuroscience, as well as political science, marketing, advertising and every other field of human endeavour.

We can't afford to continue sacrificing the bravest and the best Jagerstatter's among us as they try to show us a better way nor can we let Nixonian standards become the acceptable mean of leadership.

Getting along should be the next Manhattan Project with far better funding. That is essentially what FDR was thinking the day before he died.



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