ALTERNATIVE TO ANNIHILATION

6. February 16, 1959



Historical forces are at work today pushing us ever nearer a world war; this time the ultimate war -- destroying the world. It is as if our planet were on a collision course with some fiery comet.

Instead of blaming Communism for the impending doom, we should think of it as a threat outside any national conflicts. A military contest in which a possible winner emerges is one thing. Mutual annihilation is something different. It is not our differences that has created this second monster. The monster is something apart -- it is a part of the nature of the universe. At some time man's progress was bound to reveal the A and H-bomb. Its possible misuse would immediately threaten man.

This threat from outside is of course really a threat from inside each of us. For it is the fear in man, the suspicion and hate, that will unleash the Bomb. Our fears exciting the fears of our enemies will finally culminate in disaster -- UNLESS DRASTIC STEPS ARE TAKEN TO CHANGE OUR COURSE!

Perhaps a better perspective of our position could be gained if we were to visualize our doomed planet plunging through space on a collision course with a super-hydrogen bomb (or meteor) that will destroy it. Experience in human relations teach us that in such a crisis men would forget their religious, racial and ideological differences. There would rise a strong common feeling with all our world neighbors. If this feeling can be generated in time, we may change the direction in which we are headed.

If identification with the whole family of man can be achieved now, there will be hope for man's survival on this planet. We can meet the threat of massive destruction with massive participation in nonpolitical efforts to heal, to build and to unite.

In every American community their are numerous activities in our service clubs, churches, youth groups, etc., that are working through voluntary and United Nations organizations to spread goodwill and render service around the world without any strings attached. These voluntary efforts afford a closer contact and sense of participation with what is being done than similar efforts by national governments and they are less likely to intensify the cold war. If these activities were stepped up tenfold in an intense campaign -- not to win the cold war, but to demonstrate genuine world friendship -- a chain reaction of good will and peaceful progress would sweep around the world. A new sense of purpose and meaning in life would rapidly grow. The growing faith and friendships of the Earth's billions of little people would soon make war impossible.

We can help one another and build bridges of understanding through scientific, cultural, economic and social activities wherever they serve a common purpose divorced from the grave ideological differences that separate us. The success of Atoms for Peace, International Geophysical Year, Cultural Exchange, International Literacy programs, health programs and mutual aid in farming, industry and trade indicate some of the vast opportunities in this direction. Massive participation by the people of every community in activities such as these will encourage friendly contact with our neighbors in every country, and communicate more of our true values and less of our fear and hate. Then the theme of the world's great religions would find its way from the depths of the human spirit and mind into the actions that relate us one to another.

John McConnell