“All our knowledge merely helps us to die a more painful death than animals that know nothing.” ~ Maurice Maeterlinck
Humans have great capacity for good, for love, for incredible acts of valor and courage; yet the friction remains. Our race also has the unyielding capacity for horror. Our consciousness makes us immortal; a consciousness that the Gods of the Greek culture were envious of. A man is immortal, and when he dies he becomes something else. When Gods die, they become Oblivion… Here, in this sphere of oblivion, we see what human beings have become.
The Bhagavad Gita; an ancient philosophical Sanscrit Hindu teaching is one of mention. This scripture chronicles a meeting, a conversation between a prince and Krishna. After an interview upon successfully creating and witnessing the first testing of the Atomic bomb in 1945, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer–the hand in charge of creating the weapon–referred to the Bhagavad Gita… His words were soft and desperate, despite his assured tone. He had tears in his eyes and an audible lump in his throat:
“WE all knew the world would never be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remember the line from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita… Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty and impress him. He then takes on his multi-armed form and says:”
“Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of worlds.”
I understand those who cried, I understand those who were silent, and I fully understand Dr. Oppenheimer’s tears and sorrow as he witnessed for the first time what could be the undoing of humanity, and the Earth. What I do not understand are the thoughts of those who laughed at such a profound display of destruction and inhumanity. What ice-cold grip on the heart is this? It is such a sadness to know that humans are capable of total madness, and laugh in the face of the devastation that they can create.
For the first time in recorded history, human beings were able to completely destroy the very cities that they built… and could do so within seconds. And this is done by separating something smaller than a human hair, by separating the very building blocks of life.
Perhaps Dr. Oppenheimer didn’t realize the magnitude of his experiment, or perhaps he did.. Regardless, I also know the feeling of causing death by accident.
I remember a jaunt through the woods as a pre-teen to catch squirrels, I was maybe 13 or so. The summer growth was abundant, greenery encroached the trail to the pond. I had my BB gun and my pocket knife as usual while walking. As I neared the shortest crossing point across the creek I accidentally hit the trigger… to my left a small tree frog jumped, and squealed out in agony. I’ll never forget the sound.. As the steel ball entered his body, the frog “Eeeped” at such a loud pitch. He landed right in front of me, convulsing, limbs frantically moving in a chaotic spasm. He died while his small chest and belly heaved, until it finally stopped. I remember the sound of that death, I hear it still today.. and I remember I was sorry for such a careless act. But why did I instinctively have this empathy?
Death is the same, no matter how it happens. We’ll all feel the sword, in one way or another… The worst is, the willingness to kill, the insane urge to hurt another living creature is alive within the human being. We have the power to destroy this entire planet… and it only takes one person to kindle the fire… The only thing that separates us from totally destroying ourselves is the love we all have within… To understand that we can change is only the beginning… Changing is the task.
I’ll not believe that humans live within a sphere of Oblivion, I’ll believe that they can see the frog, and feel sorry for what they do. I’ll believe that they realize that death is the destroyer of worlds, and that anybody can easily become this destroyer. I’ll believe that what is in the heart is greater than anything.. and that immortality is a soul looking to his father for help.
Please spread peace.. Love is the answer.