In 2009, a correspondent of Theodore Kaczynski asked if nuclear weapons are the most dangerous aspect of our modern technology. In the following, this writer will summarize and paraphrase the response given by Kaczynski, along with his own commentary.
Nuclear weapons have been considered for a long time as the principle danger facing mankind, intensified by our incredibly perilous brush with potential nuclear war during the Cold War between the United Sates and the Soviet Union. This writer has personally read that it would take a mere dozen or more nuclear weapons to ‘destroy the world’, and in modern estimates that number has gotten as low as 8 by some projections (albeit when utilizing only the most powerful of warheads produced to date and detonated in very particular locations that are not necessarily reasonable to expect in a war).
One must consider that, while there is a certain undeniable risk of nuclear war, the chances are not likely. Nations and their institutions have a strong incentive to avoid such actions. Even in the event of the worst projected practical nuclear catastrophe, the damage would not be enough to entirely wipe out all of the most complex life forms on Earth, and the possibility of some humans surviving such an event is very real. The consequences of such a war would still be dire. As mentioned, an ‘all-out’ nuclear war where nations commit fully to mutually assured destruction is entirely unlikely.
However, nuclear weapons are not the most crucial danger that we are faced with as a result of modern technology. That most crucial danger is what will be presented to us as the solutions to climate change.
It is virtually certain that the world’s nations will fail to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide in time to prevent disastrous effects of climate change. In this fast approaching point in the future, the only way to combat the effects of climate change will be through human ‘Geo-Engineering’ which will artificially keep the effects to ‘acceptable limits’. As the climate of the Earth is a global system, it is incredibly complex and intricate, and as with any complex system, only some results of tampering or the consequences of attempts to guide the system in a certain direction can only be reasonably predicted for the very short term. Attempts to meddle with the environment always have unforeseen consequences. In order to correct these consequences, further intervention in the environment is required, which leads to even more unforeseen consequences. This will be a feedback loop of constantly proposing solutions to try to mitigate the damages created by the previous solutions.
For hundreds of millions of years, natural processes have kept the global climate and the composition of the atmosphere within the limits that allow for the survival and evolution of complex life. Changes that occur within these system are generally very slow; however, sometimes the climate varies enough to cause a great number of species to go extinct. Even then, no event has yet caused the total extinction of all complex organisms.
If humans were to take over this ‘climate management’, which they would have to in the near-certain event of passing the critical threshold for reducing emission prior to myriad increasingly devastating climate catastrophes, the natural processes that have governed the regulation of climate through unbroken succession of influence over it will lose their ability to function, as the alternative to human control is a spiraling global climate leading to mass extinction.
Since climate is a global phenomenon, such an effort by humans could not be managed by local groups. ‘Geo-Engineering’ will have to be carried out by a global organization, and thus will necessitate rapid, global communication. This will leave the safety of the people living on the Earth entirely dependent on the technological system which destroyed the climate in the first place, lest they face total destruction.
Every civilization before ours has eventually broken down, and our civilization will break down sooner or later (for reasons that we will cover in the next post). Thus, human climate change management will also break down with the system, and since the previous natural forces will now be nonfunctioning, the climate will go into complete shock. Such a reaction in the environment may lead to any number of catastrophes: the Earth becomes too hot or too cold for complex organisms to survive, the composition of the atmosphere could become too deficient in oxygen, or may be contaminated by toxic gasses, etcetera.
Once the nations of the world pass the point of no return and are forced to manage the climate artificially through their own survival, the technological system will be considered totally essential for survival as its breakdown would mean radical disruption of the climate. At such a point, an unintentional breakdown of or a revolution against such a system would mean death (and suicide in the case of revolution). This directly entails the deadline of the ‘point of no return’ for emissions with the hopes of the human race having a planet to live on after the inevitable destruction the technological system (again the inevitability of the destruction will be made in our next post).
The world’s elite are actually afraid of a nuclear war because it threatens their life or their ability to hold power. Thus, these technocrats will be happy to take over the management of the climate and see to it that the system is made immune to challenging by those who wish to willingly overthrow it.
Best wishes to everyone, and good luck out there.