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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 19 - 25, 2002

  Opinion Columns

There are no straight lines in nature

Commentary by DICK DORWORTH

As has been pointed out by (Carl Gustav Jung) who studied the human mind more than most, large areas of that mind are shrouded in darkness.

Dr. Carl Gustav Jung held the view that consciousness is "a very recent acquisition of nature." He described consciousness as "frail, menaced by specific dangers and easily injured." Jung studied and treated the vulnerabilities of the human psyche, which he saw as encompassing far more than human consciousness and its contents, with the humility and reverence of a man who realized that no man ever "perceives anything fully or comprehends anything completely." Though many scientists and philosophers deny the existence of what is termed the "unconscious," Jung considered them naïve, doing nothing more (or less) than expressing "an age-old ‘misoneism’—a fear of the new and the unknown."

He wrote, "Man has developed consciousness slowly and laboriously, in a process that took untold ages to reach the civilized state (which is arbitrarily dated from the invention of script in about 4000 B.C.). And this evolution is far from complete, for large areas of the human mind are still shrouded in darkness."

Shrouded in darkness.

Well, as one of my friends is fond of saying, there you have it.

Shrouded in darkness.

Such dark thoughts arise in these dark international times because it’s not always just the unknown, the unconscious, that is shrouded. A few years ago I was discussing nuclear armaments in the world with one of my hawkish friends. I argued in favor of on-going reduction to elimination of nuclear weaponry among the super powers as the first step to persuading less powerful nations to abandon their nuclear arsenals. It is unreasonable, hypocritical and impractical for any powerful nuclear armed kingdom to ask a weaker nation (India, Pakistan, Israel or those shadow nations lacking geographic boundaries or even coordinates that are presently terrorizing the world, for instance) to forego nuclear weaponry. I argued that it is always the powerful and strong who set the example by which the weaker model their actions and values. My friend the hawk, his memory of history as well as the foundation of his moral high ground shrouded in darkness, argued that weaker countries couldn’t be trusted but that the U.S., morally superior to and the protector of the rest of the world, could handle being the possessor of superior levels of nuclear weaponry because, among other reasons, "… we would never be the first to use the atomic bomb against another country."

In the context of a debate between friends, I enjoyed pointing out his invalid argument and reminding him that the U.S. already has been the first to drop an atomic bomb on another country¾twice; but that reminder and its larger point was disturbing, not at all enjoyable. His consciousness had completely blocked out the realities of history in the interests of a particular military/political and, in reality, economic belief system. My friend, an honest man, was good enough to rethink the point and recognize that perception and comprehension are more frail than any political/military/economic dogma would have us believe. None of us ever perceives anything fully or comprehends anything completely. One of the many problems with the linear path of thinking that comprises any dogma (religious, political, social, economic or even personal) is that it tends to ignore or relegate to insignificance or the realm of demons whatever won’t fit on the line.

However, lines are inherently narrow and, as Gertrude Stein observed so succinctly, "There are no straight lines in nature."

This includes the nature of man, a far more mysterious, unknown and unpredictable beast than those of linear thought believe. As has been pointed out by one who studied the human mind more than most, large areas of that mind are shrouded in darkness. Though for the most part they would have you believe otherwise, this includes the minds of the political and military leaders of the world who are fond of walking and talking their particular line.

Walking the line, shrouded in darkness.

How else explain the refusal of Russia and the U.S., the two largest nuclear nations which set the standard for the world in all things military, to reduce their nuclear arsenals. Putin and Bush have recently signed a "treaty" that does not require either nation to destroy a single warhead. To comply with the "treaty," warheads need only be removed from deployment for a single day, December 30, 2012, the day before the treaty ends. Despite the Bush administration’s claims to the public of reducing the threat of nuclear war, the $5.9 billion nuclear weapons research and development budget proposal for 2003 is more than double that of 1995. The Bush administration, apparently oblivious to the dangers in which it is putting the U.S. and the world, is using that money to develop new and modified nuclear weapons, including what are known as "bunker busters," which are first strike weapons. The U.S. is preparing for a return to full scale nuclear weapons testing, assigning a larger role to nuclear weapons in its military strategy and expanding the infrastructure of the nuclear weapons complex in America.

Forty years ago Jung wrote that the west has "… begun to realize that the difficulties confronting us are moral problems and that the attempts to answer them by a policy of piling up nuclear arms or by economic ‘competition’ is achieving little, for it cuts both ways."

In short, thanks to George Bush and his administration, the bomb is back, walking the line, shrouded in darkness.


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