August 6 and August 9 are two very important anniversaries in world history. On these dates in 1945, the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively with the objective of finishing up World War II once and for all. The idea was to show Japan the sophistication of the weaponry the United States had developed and to make the Japanese understand that they had no chance of defeating the Americans. That objective was achieved, and shortly after the bombs were dropped, the Japanese surrendered. The Americans avoided what would have been a protracted land war in Asia, but in so doing, generated a sense of shock and alarm throughout the world, as people everywhere were forced to confront the devastating effects of nuclear warfare.
These anniversaries, in particular, are resonating today as a result of the movie Oppenheimer, which just came out in movie theaters. The movie deals with one of the principal creator of the atomic bomb, a very complex person who was extremely worried about the long-term effects of introducing such a powerful instrument of war into the world. That concern has proved to be justified with the war between the Ukraine and Russia moving forward but without any end in sight and particularly seeing as Russia has a lot of nuclear bombs and is led by Vladimir Putin, an extremely unstable ruler.
Beyond the actual situation on the ground, perhaps there are other aspects regarding the very presence of nuclear bombs in the world and, in particular, in Eastern Europe now that are cause for concern. First of all, the bomb was created in the United States, because, during World War II, there were fears that Hitler and Nazi Germany were developing the bomb. Obviously, the U.S. could not let the Nazis get ahead of them in nuclear research. The truth is though that the Germans weren’t close to producing a nuclear bomb. And the Germans surrendered before the United States could use their nuclear bomb against Germany. So, by the time the United States had the bomb ready to deploy, the only outstanding enemy on whom to use it was Japan.
But underneath this surface narrative, there was a whole different one which, as far as I know, has never been delved into. This other narrative was based on an underlying reason that scientific investigation took people in the direction of developing a bomb that had the potential to wipe a city, a country, a civilization off the face of the earth. Why would people create an imprint that had the capacity to wipe out all the other imprints that humans have ever made? As modern technology has covered up the traditional natural experiential surfaces among which the human race has grown up and evolved in, people have lost their connection with the organic grounding which kept them feeling fully and vibrantly alive. People are sinking deeper and deeper into an experiential vacuum which makes them feel more and more numb. As they sink further and further into this numbness, they require larger and larger amounts of abrasive stimuli, in order to temporarily pull themselves out of their numbness. As was mentioned in some of my previous articles, modern technological humans resort to all different kinds of self-destruction in order to find the appropriate kind of abrasive stimulation that will allow them to temporarily feel alive. Perhaps the most extreme way that people self-destruct in order to feel alive is with suicide. You heard me right. Suicide! The ultimate form of self-destruction. So, one might ask what good does it do someone to commit suicide, if he is searching for a way to feel temporarily more alive.
The truth of the matter is that the process of suicide encompasses more than just the actual moment of killing oneself. It also includes the time from the moment one decides to kill oneself until the moment of the actual act. That period of time is one that can provide some of the most abrasive psychological stimulation that a person is likely to experience in his lifetime. The waiting for the ax to fall, as it were. While waiting for the ax to fall, in spite of the fact that the person is committed to carrying out the horrible deed of total self-destruction, he experiences a fear and trembling with regard to the unknown of total nothingness that will occur after he dies that is unlike anything that he has experienced before. So, it is indeed paradoxical that a person will experience his greatest intensity of consciousness, just before his consciousness is totally wiped out. But it is, nevertheless, true.
Now if we can extend this concept of what happens before suicide to what could happen before the greatest collective suicide imaginable, namely death during a nuclear explosion, we can understand how the mere presence of nuclear bombs in the world creates enough abrasive stimulation to pull all thinking feeling aware individuals out of the numbness that has been created from their overly frictionless overly mediated lives. On this level, Oppenheimer and his team were doing the world a favor in terms of preventing people from sinking deeper and deeper into an all-enveloping experiential vacuum. As long as the presence of the bomb serves just to create a sustained fear and trembling and nothing else. And that, unfortunately, is a big question mark.