Benjamin's Response

2001-9-8 04:56:00

Benjamin sent this response to me and I think he intended it to be posted on the list so I will forward it on.

Benjamin quoting JJ:
I just have a few minutes to make a couple comments and will add more later.

Benjamin quotes JJ's quote of Djwahl Khul as follows:
" ...The atomic bomb ... was and is purely beneficent."

Sorry, but I just don't see how this could be true.

JJ's response:
Those three dots represent missing words totally distorts the quote. He did not say the atomic bomb was and is purely beneficial. Instead he said "the intent" behind the Hierarchy in inspiring the development of atomic energy was meant to create beneficial results in the process of time.

Yes, you're correct. I realize that I altered the context by condensing the sentence; I did this deliberately for the effect. But this is a grammatically valid method to make a point, and it does, don't you think? It highlights the wholehearted endorsement of "atomic" energy by DK, at least in the excerpts you quoted.

I think that the history of the roughly 60 years since DK dictated those words has demonstrated that the positive impact he foresaw has not developed. Perhaps in time it will. In the meantime, there are serious concerns about nuclear energy as it is being applied in the present. These concerns should be addressed in the present and not according to the expectations hoped for 60 years in the past. I believe the Masters are intelligent enough to know that conditions change, and plans must be changed accordingly. In fact, I believe that whatever plans are made "on high" are subject to modification at any time. The Masters have grown beyond attachment to the past, as have many of us mere mortals.

Benjamin asks in previous post:
Why are we afraid to consider - and implement - alternatives?

Benjamin quoting JJ's response:
I do not see any fear within anyone I know or have met concerning alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal etc. [Good; glad to hear it!] But there is tremendous fear (most of it created by illusion) concerning nuclear power. Because of this fear activists have made every possible move to dismantle current plants and prevent the production of new safer ones.

Are you implying that all activists are motivated by fear? Beware of broad generalizations!

Is it fear or is it a rational recognition that there are very serious flaws in our present energy policy, a policy that emphasizes fossil fuels and nuclear fission, both of which are demonstrably destructive to the ecological systems of our planet and to the physiology of the human body? I personally do not live in fear. Rather, I make a conscious choice to live in a way that functions in harmony with the planet. I find that energy technologies based on fossil fuels and nuclear fission are incompatible with such harmony. Therefore, I oppose them. It's that simple.

Benjamin quoting JJ:
What if we had deluded activists creating the same roadblocks with wind power, for instance? What if every time a new windmill blade was shipped we had protesters blocking the road or railroad tracks because these blades kill endangered species?

But we don't have such deluded activists, do we? Could that be because the drawbacks of wind power are so minor in comparison to nuclear power as to not arouse protest or concern?

Benjamin quoting JJ:
What if every time someone wanted to put up a windmill that one had to go through mountains of red tape, much of it unnecessary? [This applies to everything nowadays, including wind power. For ample evidence, look to California....] What if after the windmill served it purpose that people were so frightened by it that burying it 2000 feet in rock where it would not be disturbed for billions of years was not enough to allay those fears?

But this is not the case, is it? So what's the point? Could it be that there are significant reasons why people are not afraid of wind power or solar power?

Benjamin quoting JJ
Let me assure you that if these great fears were associated with wind power then the cost of such power would be so great that we could not even consider it as a source.

The miracle is that even with all the paranoia associated with nuclear power, it still provides an economical source of power for many of the nations of the earth.

For the moment, yes. But many people choose to look at ALL the costs, not only for today but for the future as well. Some people are concerned with the legacy we leave to the generations that follow us. Some of us choose not to leave a polluted planet and a burden of monitoring radioactive wastes for thousands of years (see prior post) to our children, grandchildren and beyond. Some of us feel a moral obligation to the rest of the living systems on this planet. Ultimately, this is not an economic question of cost effectiveness (which apply only to the industrialized nations, anyway); it is a spiritual and moral question of whether we can call ourselves civilized or enlightened if we leave behind us a polluted and diseased planet.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. The list of environmental insults created in this century is astonishingly long, and the list continues to grow. Burning of fossil fuels and nuclear fission are only part of the picture.

Benjamin quoting JJ:
France leads the list by receiving 75% of its power from nuclear reactors. Lithuania, 73.1%; Belgium, 57,7%; Bulgaria, 47.1%; Slovak Republic, 47%; Sweden, 46.8%; Ukraine, 43.8%; Republic of Korea, 42.8%; Hungary, 38.3% and Armenia, 36.4%. In total, 17 countries and Taiwan, China relied upon nuclear power plants to supply at least a quarter of their total electricity needs. All this has transpired (with the exception of Chernobyl) without the direct loss of one human life.

How do you define a "direct" death? Is it "indirect" if increased environmental radiation increases the probability of, say, contracting leukemia and brings about a death, say, a year ahead of the time it might have occurred otherwise? Keith cited specific examples of radiation incidents that led to statistically demonstrable consequences in the local population. Are such cases not "direct" enough to alert thoughtful people to the question of whether ionizing radiation (above and beyond natural background levels) is a necessary or desirable aspect of human societies?

As for the percentages, they demonstrate nothing except that many people have embraced the technology, perhaps at a time when and in a generation in which it seemed a good idea. This is no argument for not revising one's assessment of the technology as more experience is gained. This is no excuse for having a lack of imagination or creativity sufficient to create technologies more compatible with continuing and healthy life on the planet.

Benjamin quoting JJ:
My point is that we need to take a logical non-fearful approach to all forms of energy and let the all sources have equal freedom in vying for dominance. Whatever proves to be relatively safe and economical will then be embraced by the public.

We shall see. I share the same hope. As to whether the public EVER embraces the greatest good is not certain. The public is notorious for embracing whatever the politicians and advertisers feed them through the conventional media and through public education (so-called). And the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the corporate kingpins are, for the most part, so thoroughly invested in their entrenched positions that they cannot - by definition - guide us into a creative and imaginative future. If the masses of people would think for themselves and take responsibility for their choices and actions - or lack thereof - perhaps this unfortunate and potentially disastrous social dynamic would be changed. As society exists at present, the idea that "all sources have equal freedom" to vie for dominance is a myopic denial of way human society actually functions. And I have in mind the ol' US of A as I say this, the freest country on the planet right now.

Concerning "safety," if you mean to say that we will hopefully endorse technologies that do little or no harm to the planet and its inhabitants, then I agree that safety is a desirable concern. I would argue that in an objective comparison among various technologies, nuclear power is relatively low in its "safety quotient," particularly when the hidden aspects such as the impact of mining, management of radioactive wastes, and other concerns are taken into account. If we are speaking of safety as a concern arising in reaction to fear, I have no use for it.

It is those who are bold enough, imaginative enough, and self-reliant enough who leave the past behind and create the future. There are two choices: progressive or reactionary. The world is at a crossroads, and everyone must choose to go forward or to go back. Which choice dominates is still undecided, in my view.

And if we were concerned with what is economical only, we would still be living in caves, squatting around campfires. Initial costs are always high. Look at hand-held calculators, for instance. When I was in college, a decent scientific calculator cost nearly $100 (US). The same thing nowadays can be bought for $5 or $10. If simple economics was our guiding principle, we'd all still be using slide rules! Or counting on our fingers....


Away for the weekend...see you Monday....