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Preventing unnecessary war
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Posted by: Michael G. Lewis on October 11, 1998
Subject: Preventing unnecessary war



Michael G. Lewis
Seattle, Washington

The problem is, the stakes are so high in the nuclear situation,
that elimination of factors which even faintly might aggravate
the danger of nuclear conflict, is of value. Several such
factors are here discussed.

In a world with many complex, interacting and constantly changing issues,
in which causes can be attributed to a few very obscure, sophisticated,
erudite and themselves complex causes, dedication exclusively to analyzing
the causes of issues leads to a situation in which one knows everything
about a set of hypothetical causes and nothing about what is really
happening, nothing about what is really going on. This is like the
man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Things which have high prices are said to be valuable, but typically,
things can only be compared with others of their kind.

In any case, it is often not useful to concern oneself with whether
it was God, the church, the military, the pentagon, the economy,
the workers, the fanatics, or whoever else may arise, cause, for
instance, the events of the day, whether they be peace or war,
changes in prices, or political elections. There was one instance
in which this is useful: the idea that several different doctrines,
usually not compared at all between themselves, may all be looking
at the world at the same time (perhaps someday, perhaps not now)
and concluding the same event, but all have supposedly different
reasons. The example I used was that of a theologian, a Marxist,
a capitalist, an environmentalist, a military general, a politician,
and what have you, looking at the world situation and concluding
that thermonuclear war is, variously: the wrath of God scourging
mankind for his sins; hostility from an opposing government;
a necessity to support the price of labor; the final frustration
of mankind at smog, pollution, toxic waste and the destruction of
the natural habitat; a direct attack by enemies against whom no time
can be wasted, and so forth. The problem is, they are all concluding
the same issue: the nuclear mushroom cloud over what remains of every
city. I have my own idea, for instance, that there were just about
as many nuclear warheads as there are cities larger than Jerusalem
because if we had not reached the moon successfully as we did, the
whole planet would have destroyed all the human cities and started
over again with some other approach to reaching the moon. But the
problem is, that only adds one more idea to just what this thing
is, yet reaches a similar conclusion--the nuclear mushroom cloud.
As it is of course, we actually did reach the moon and thus the
existence of the cities is justified and vindicated--if the
indigenous forces of nature which underlie mankind's destiny
believe it! Optimists thing it will be believed, because of the
many and verifiable, truthful changes which resulted in turn, such
as excellent prediction of the weather, the images of the Earth
from space, the moon rocks themselves, and the sworn testimony of
a dozen and more astronauts. What remains if the suggestion is true,
is to ensure that traces which imply the success are unavoidable
throughout the world forever, a process which will require a heap
of living and not much else will suffice. Probably, by the end of
the next century, sufficient such artifacts and marked changes will
exist that it will be very difficult to pretend that flight to the
moon never happened.

Nonetheless, the end of the next century is not yet with us, and there
are still thousands of thermonuclear warheads in place waiting for some
bizarre general to give the order to retarget them on his favorite
nemesis and launch the world into oblivion. Until these are gone, and
no more fear remains which sustains their existence, the world will be
in continual danger from the most colossal stupidity which can happen
to a species--mass self-destruction at a time in which greatest optimism
should be the norm.

Consider that another factor is superstition. It was once believed that
the planet Mars was the God of War going round the earth in his fiery,
bloody red chariot. Now, Mars goes around the Sun one time in 22 months,
so just about two years after the first landing of men on the moon, it
was quite certain by those who believed it, that Mars was no longer a
justifiable cause of war. By seven years after the project was
completed, Mars was defunct, a sapped and plundered god, and no longer
significant in anyone's mind anywhere on Earth as a cause of war. Well,
we hope so anyway. Mars had by then gone around the Earth three times
and more, and that creates a mathematical induction on the Martian orbit,
which goes something like the following: If no nuclear war has occurred
in three Martian periods of time, then Mars is not the cause of nuclear
war, because from three integers, one can deduce an infinity of successive
integers, and we can conclude that Mars never will cause a nuclear war,
not at any rate from its simple existence as a planet and the fading
superstitions of prehistoric cultures.

Well, of course, the real culprit was Earth, so that if no nuclear war
had occurred by 1977, three years after the conclusion of the Apollo
Project, then it is not the simple existence of Earth as a planet,
and so on. Now, I do not want to suggest that the superstitions
regarding the motions of the planets in the sky are the cause of all
wars, or that they are the inevitable cause of nuclear war. Instead,
I want to suggest that the ancient and now obsolete superstitions
regarding the motions of the planets in the sky were implicated in
some wars and that they still have sufficient influence in the course
of human events, that they are implicated as a possible destabilizing
factor and primitive cause of some of the kinds of tensions and
disagreements by which nuclear war might come about. With that
kind of possibility, it is worth defusing the vestiges of the
superstitious beliefs. "We all" know that the planets are not Gods
of various kinds who might wreak doom on the Earth, but "we" are
the rationalistic, enlightened white western inhabitants of the
lands from which the flights to the moon took place, and "we"
strongly believe that the flights were successful and we have many
evidentiary artifacts which "prove" to us all that the long struggle
to reach the moon is over and completed and finally successful. But
vast numbers of people have no such luxurious abundance of material
proof. Millions of human beings are illiterate or have no reliable food,
shelter, political or any other kind of security, or even reliably
safe water or medical care. They live not above, but within what we
call the underlying chaos and the darkness and despair from within
which rank superstitious beliefs arise. Underlying them is only
more rank underlying chaos which, if living, consists of plants and
animals, some domesticated, much wild.

We know that in the long run, in the millions of years, the emergence
of Earth as a spaceflight culture will change every species on Earth,
but the current crisis caused by the existence of huge numbers of
nuclear warheads and the increased potential for biological and
chemical warfare does not give us millions of years. We don't have
much time. We have a critical period of time ahead of us, of a few
hundred years, during all of which the danger of nuclear war will
slowly diminish.

We live in a world in which small groups of people find it appropriate
to engage in terrorist activities, and it is just such small groups of
people who are most vulnerable to superstition, fear, despair and
misery arising from disaffected lower economic strata and from the
wild and domesticated plants and animals, for whatever instinct to
survive they can be interpreted.

Saturn, just now, is in Aries. Saturn was in Aries when the Apollo
Project flights to the moon began. That was thirty years ago. Saturn,
a huge, influential planet with bright rings, goes around the sun just
once in thirty years. We know, rationally, that Saturn is not a
sensible, justifiable cause of war, nor of nuclear war. But Saturn
was known to the ancient Romans to be very significant in human
affairs. If it was not that Saturn exerted a direct cause on human
behavior (individual or political, economic or military) then it was
certainly known that he who commanded the thirty year interval of
Saturn commanded much. Saturn is apparently implicated in a string
of wars which began around the time the astronomical telescope was
invented. In the late 1400's, the War of the Roses occurred, lasting
thirty years. The Thirty Years' War was next, followed by the
American Revolutionary War, and more recently, the First and Second
World Wars. Now, these events are all just about 165 years apart,
which is the period of time of one Neptunian orbit around the Sun.
That is, the planet Neptune goes around the Sun in 165 years.

Earth years.

We will apparently be somewhat concerned with the possibility of
nuclear war being exacerbated by superstitions about the planets,
for at least another sixty years (for Saturn); Uranus and Neptune
are more distant, and not so influential in human affairs, but
to whatever extent they are influential, each will require some
time for any danger which it contributes, to fade utterly. Uranus
goes around the Sun once in 85 years, so that 255 years after
the conclusion of the manned flights to the moon, it will fade
into the complete obscurity of universal anomie. Taking 1975 as
the year of completion of the Apollo project, Neptune will be
utterly insignificant as a potential cause of nuclear war, around
2230 A.D. Neptune will not fade utterly in this mathematical
way until 2470 A.D.--approximately the year 2500 A.D.

The mathematical induction on the periods of the planets is
significant because the superstitions underlying the causes of
war are not groundless--indeed, they are entirely too earthy.
For one thing, there is the unnerving coincidence, that the
number of nuclear warheads is just about on a parity with the
number of cities larger than Jerusalem, all of which might
have been scourged to destruction had the flights to the moon
failed. Why, indeed, do we have this particular number of
nuclear weapons? Not entirely provable, it is just too close
for comfort for a mathematician's easy rest.

So, we have the following to perform:

One is to defuse the link between the primordial evolution toward
the moon, and the capability for nuclear war, by linking it instead
to the facts regarding the successful completion of Project Apollo,
and the successful developments since then, such as satellite
communications, navigation, weather forecasting and meteorology,
and other factors, wherever these might still be obscured by
illiteracy, famine, drought, or other primitive and difficult
conditions of existence.

The other is to jump start the dismissal of the superstitious
beliefs which still exist, that the motions of the planets are
any kind of justification for war. This too requires
enlightenment. Much can be accomplished at this time, because
we have now had thirty years of peace (thermonuclear peace)
since the successful flights to the moon, in which no nuclear
war has taken place. Some saber rattling has occurred.
Generally, there is strong public sympathy for various United
Nations resolutions against nuclear war, and for the
disarmament of nuclear weapons, warheads and arsenals. This
thirty years is significant because during one entire orbit
of the planet Saturn about the Sun, no nuclear war has
occurred. To the enlightened and the blessed, who already
know that the motion of a planet is not a justification for
nuclear war, it is easy to see that no number of that planet's
orbits will ever be a justification of war. But the
superstitious and the heathen, still lost in the muck of
poverty and natural aggression, it will be another sixty
years before three of Saturn's orbits will draw the influence
of that planet into implacable numerological oblivion of the
induction. If leaders are shrewd, they can ensure that
Saturn's present influence and Saturn's influence sixty
years hence, are not distinct--in essence, to jump start
the induction. After all, the old ringed thing has gone
around a few times already, it's just a matter of getting
the first button to start with the third buttonhole, as
it were.


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