This equation is striking in its simplicity and tragedy, to some extent even doom. The formula looks like this:
Boundless Desire for the Good X The unstoppable growth of the possibilities of human society
= Ecological catastrophe.
An absurd contradiction arises: how can this be? After all, society reaches new levels of development, and human thinking is aimed at improving life while preserving the world around us? But the result of the calculations is inevitable – a global environmental catastrophe is at the end of the road. One can argue for a long time about the authorship of this hypothesis, its reliability and relevance. And you can consider a vivid example from history.
It happened exactly 500 years ago.
1517. February. The brave Spaniard Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, the head of a small squadron of 3 ships, in the company of the same desperate men, sets off for the mysterious Bahamas. His goal was standard for that time – to collect slaves on the islands and sell them in the slave market. But near the Bahamas, his ships deviate from the course and go to uncharted lands. Here the conquistadors meet an incomparably more advanced civilization than on the adjacent islands.
So Europeans got acquainted with the great Maya.
“Explorers of the New World” brought war and outlandish diseases here, which completed the collapse of one of the most mysterious civilizations in the world. Today we know that the Maya were already in deep decline by the time the Spaniards arrived. The conquistadors were in awe when they opened large cities and majestic temples. The medieval knight could not imagine how the people living in the forests became the owners of such buildings, which have no analogues in the rest of the world.
Now scientists are arguing and putting forward new hypotheses about the death of the Indians of the Yucatan Peninsula. But one of them has the greatest reason for existence – this is the hypothesis of an ecological catastrophe.
The Maya had a very developed science and industry. The management system was much higher than that existed in those days in Europe (and the beginning of the end of civilization dates back to the XNUMXth century). But gradually the population increased and at a certain moment there was a breakdown in the balance between man and nature. Fertile soils became scarce, and the issue of drinking water supply became acute. In addition, a terrible drought suddenly hit the state, which pushed people out of the city into the forests and villages.
The Maya died in 100 years and were left to live out their history in the jungle, sliding down to the primitive stage of development. Their example should remain a symbol of man’s dependence on nature. We must not allow ourselves to feel our own greatness over the outside world if we do not want to return to the caves again.
September 17, 1943. On this day, the Manhattan Project officially launched, which led man to nuclear weapons. And the impetus for these works was Einstein’s letter dated August 2, 1939, sent to US President Roosevelt, in which he drew the attention of the authorities to the development of the nuclear program in Nazi Germany. Later, in his memoirs, the great physicist wrote:
“My participation in the creation of a nuclear bomb consisted of a single act. I signed a letter to President Roosevelt emphasizing the need for experiments on a large scale to study the possibility of building a nuclear bomb. I was fully aware of the danger to humanity that the success of this event meant. However, the possibility that Nazi Germany might have been working on the same problem with the hope of success made me decide to take this step. I had no other choice, although I have always been a staunch pacifist.”
So, in a sincere desire to overcome the evil spreading throughout the world in the form of Nazism and militarism, the greatest minds of science rallied and created the most formidable weapon in the history of mankind. After July 16, 1945, the world began a new segment of its path – a successful explosion was made in the desert in New Mexico. Satisfied with the triumph of science, Oppenheimer, who was in charge of the project, told the general: “Now the war is over.” The representative of the armed forces replied: “The only thing left is to drop 2 bombs on Japan.”
Oppenheimer spent the rest of his life fighting the proliferation of his own weapons. In moments of acute experiences, he “asked to cut off his hands, for what he created with them.” But it’s’ too late. The mechanism is running.
The use of nuclear weapons in world politics puts our civilization on the brink of existence every year. And this is only one, the most striking and tangible example of the self-destruction of human society.
In the mid 50s. In the XNUMXth century, the atom became “peaceful” – the world’s first nuclear power plant, Obninsk, began to provide energy. As a result of further development – Chernobyl and Fukushima. The development of science has brought human activity into the realm of serious experiments.
In a sincere desire to make the world a better place, to defeat evil and, with the help of science, to take the next step in the development of civilization, society creates destructive weapons. Maybe the Maya died the same way, creating “something” for the common good, but in fact, hastened their end.
The fate of the Maya proves the validity of the formula. The development of our society – and it is worth recognizing it – goes along a similar path.
Is there a way out?
This question remains open.
The formula makes you think. Take your time – read into its constituent elements and appreciate the frightening truth of calculations. At the first acquaintance, the equation strikes with doom. Awareness is the first step to recovery. What to do to prevent the collapse of civilization?..