The status quo grows more untenable by the day. The situation is said by experts to be more precarious than at any time in the past 75 years when humans have lived with the dangers of atomic and nuclear bombs. Experts warn that the issue of annihilation is not if, but when it will happen, unless significant changes are made in the spread of these weapons and the systems for controlling and preventing them from ever being used. The prospects of reforms are not good, but that must change. The obstacles are formidable but not quite impossible to overcome.
This reality explains why most of us, present company included, rarely engage with the topic. Denial plays a big part, as does the fact that controlling these weapons is not a local issue. Responsibility for controls are largely delegated to military and other experts by national administrations, Democratic and Republican. Jonathan Schell, in “The Fate of the Earth” (1982), noted that it’s as if there is a monster in the room and yet we have managed to divert our attention from it.
Fortunately, there are a few well-regarded individuals and institutions seeking ways to lower the risks that these weapons will ever be used and, most fanciful of hopes, that they might, someday, be retired.
Yes, you are reading a REAL wellness-focused essay, a look on the bright side of life-based philosophy. My focus is promoting mental and physical wellbeing via the use of reason, the joys of exuberance, the disciplines of athleticism and the art of securing maximum liberty. But alas, what good is any of that if, by madness or accident, one or more of 15,000 existing thermonuclear warheads does what all are designed to do, namely, explode?
For half a century, I’ve promoted lifestyle strategies of a positive nature aimed at becoming and remaining well, as long as possible. How long is possible depends on countless variables–I’ll mention just three:
1. Those related to self (i.e., genetics, lifestyle, timely and effective medical care) that are somewhat under our control;
2. Those related to nature (i.e., super-volcanos, mega-tsunamis, solar flares, earthquakes, global pandemics, asteroids) over which we have no control; and
3. One related to human miscalculation (i.e., thermonuclear explosions) over which existing safeguards are, for a host of reasons, under dubious controls.
Sam Harris, in a recent podcast, described the ever-present threat of nuclear war as the greatest risk we face. The last 75 years in which humans have lived with the bomb have been marked by near-suicidal folly, reckless stupidity and moral oblivion. In “The Logic of Doomsday,” Sam and his podcast guests Robert Perry (former Secretary of State) and Lisa Perry discuss the history of nuclear weapons, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the present threat of accidental nuclear war, nuclear terrorism, unilateral disarmament, the psychology of deterrence, tactical nuclear weapons, cybersecurity, details of command and control, nuclear proliferation, the steps we could take toward safety, strategic missile defense, nuclear winter and other topics. I highly recommend this podcast.
Of course, just because the world might end in a week, day or minute does not mean it’s a waste of time to pursue REAL wellness. After all, our luck might hold. To those who follow arms control efforts, the consensus is that it’s a wonderment we’re dodged the biggest bullet imaginable for 75 years. The comic book-worthy Rapture will never happen but something much worse is far more plausible and not unlikely.
When you look at the facts, you’ll realize that it’s almost beyond belief that it has not happened, already. The future is very bright, but not in a good way.
It may not sound like it, at first, but being conscious about the risks of nuclear war, intentional or accidental, should be on the REAL wellness agenda as a matter of concern. Specifically, in addition to our personal wellness pursuits, it’s sensible to know the risks of nuclear Armageddon and ways those risks can be abated somewhat. By the policies and politicians we support, we can collectively have some influence, however slight our individual efforts.