scratch-mark

A Most Curious Thing (2 things)

There are a couple of elements to this tragic story that I find curiously compelling, and I doubt anyone from the West can adequately explain it.

  1. That amidst such fervent primitivity, there resides nuclear weapons.
  2. That amidst such fervent primitivity, they had elected a woman to rule them; whereas, we enlightened ones are just considering it seriously for the first time ever.

I want to think that, either we’re already eventually screwed (the nukes), or we simply have not much of a very good clue or grasp of their experience and nature as human beings.

I’ll be dammed if I can make sense of it.

From time to time I entertain myself in the idle speculation that nearly everyone having nukes; i.e., the ability to unilaterally destroy the modern world (yes, I understand about delivery mechanisms — it’s a technical point) just might elevate us to a parity where each nation can just go about their own business. I readily admit it’s risky enough to be dismissed out of hand as either too silly or too uncertain.

In the larger sense, everyone ought to come to grips with the conditions under which they’d be willing to give up their lives. Consider this: what if it turns out that in the cosmos, the only planetary civilizations that make it past the nuclear threshold are those that take such  a huge risk and it pays off? Out of trillions of potential civilizations, that would make for some millions or at least thousands of successful ones, and we’d never know it unless we took the shot. And even then, when and under what circumstances the shot is taken is material. There’s always an underlying random element.

Always a good idea to keep selection bias in mind — even if we’re talking speculation.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

5 Comments

  1. Billy Beck on October 19, 2007 at 05:52

    "From time to time I entertain myself in the idle speculation that nearly everyone having nukes; i.e., the ability to unilaterally destroy the modern world (yes, I understand about delivery mechanisms — it's a technical point) just might elevate us to a parity where each nation can just go about their own business."

    Let me say this about that: it's one of the craziest ideas, ever. That's because there are people out there who would happily destroy themselves in order to destroy you.

    Randomize that.

  2. Billy Beck on October 19, 2007 at 07:22

    "I just don't see them not further proliferating over time."

    Neither do I, but that's not the same thing as concluding that we're all going to live together peaceably once everyone has them.

    I'm convinced that you and I are going to live to see a terrorist application of nuclear weapons.

    As for your "little ol' me": I know you can think in principles and concepts, Rich. You are, individually, just a symbolic variable. You can substitute me, or anyone else you know, and still get to the same conclusion because it's not about the individuals. It's about the culture that we live.

    I cannot imagine why this should be difficult to understand.

  3. Richard Nikoley on October 19, 2007 at 06:20

    "Let me say this about that: it's one of the craziest ideas, ever."

    At some level I can't help but think it's plain crazy that these things even exist at all, so I'm not the slightest offended by your assessment of my wild-ass speculation.

    But given that Pakistan, India, and North Korea apparently have them, I just don't see them not further proliferating over time. I just wonder if it comes the time where it's more destabilizing to attempt to prevent their acquisition by force than it would be to attempt to ensure that they're handled responsibly by those who do acquire them.

    Perhaps there simply are no good options in this regard.

  4. Richard Nikoley on October 19, 2007 at 07:01

    "That's because there are people out there who would happily destroy themselves in order to destroy you."

    One additional niggling point, here. I'm sure you're referring to the specific to make the point of the general, but I should point out that I don't think there are people happy — as in eagerly willing and waiting — to kill themselves in order to kill little ol' me. I think there are people happy to kill themselves if they can take out a number of people, essentially randomly, where they think it advances their cause.

    I wonder if they really think that killing on the scale of a nuke would advance their cause? Perhaps they do, but I'm not sure about it, and I can think of reasons where they might be crazy to blow themselves and a relatively small crowd up, but not go so far and to detonate a nuke.

    My deepest resentment is that we have to spend so much time wondering about these issues.

  5. Richard Nikoley on October 19, 2007 at 08:37

    "Neither do I, but that's not the same thing as concluding that we're all going to live together peaceably once everyone has them."

    OK, but I emphasize that I'm speculating, not concluding. I also emphasize that I'm not emphasizing my speculation. Perhaps it's pointless to imagine all the possible scenarios, but it's a strange and often surprising world we live in. Not to harp, but trading has taught me to consider seriously contrarian possibilities that nobody considers much because they're "unthinkable."

    "I'm convinced that you and I are going to live to see a terrorist application of nuclear weapons."

    That too I would consider a speculation worthy of consideration. And I'll readily admit that it seems far more likely to me than the one I advanced.

    Then again, we simply can't know. Moreover, I don't disagree that the most prudent course is to try and halt or at least slow their proliferation. Halt, for obvious reasons. Slow, because we don't know to what point our knowledge will bring us. Perhaps we'll be luckily enough to see them obsolete through some form of enlightenment we can't yet imagine.

    "You are, individually, just a symbolic variable. You can substitute me, or anyone else you know, and still get to the same conclusion because it's not about the individuals."

    This is essentially what I meant when I said: "I'm sure you're referring to the specific to make the point of the general." Perhaps I could have been clearer.

Leave a Comment





YouTube1k
YouTube
Pinterest118k
Pinterest
fb-share-icon
40
45
Follow by Email8k
RSS780