The Hundredth Monkey
This book is not copyrighted. You are asked to reproduce it
in whole or in part, to distribute it with or without charge, in as many languages as
possible, to as many people as possible. The rapid alerting of all humankind to nuclear
realities is supremely urgent. If we are wiped out by nuclear destruction in the next few
years, how important are the things we are doing today?
This book is dedicated to the Dinosaurs, who mutely warn us
that a species which cannot adapt to changing conditions will become extinct.
Two events converged on me this summer. They supplemented
each other and gave me the inspiration and added push I needed. They made me respond to
the urgency I had felt brewing in me for some time to express my concern about the
worldwide danger of nuclear weapons.
The first event was my viewing the videotape "The Last
Epidemic," taken at a symposium held in November, 1980 on the unacceptability of
nuclear weapons for human health. I was deeply impressed by the physicians and scientists
who brought their knowledge and eloquence to that meeting. Their stature and level of
experience, insight and courage left no doubt in my mind that my priorities had to be
rearranged. I had to add my voice and speak out now!
The second experience was my exposure to the Hundredth
Monkey Phenomenon, which I learned about in talks by Marilyn Ferguson and Carl Rogers.
This phenomenon shows that when enough of us are aware of something, all of us become
aware of it.
That concept confirmed my own intuitive trust in the basic
tenet of my work -- that the appreciation and love we have for ourselves and others
creates an expanding energy field that becomes a growing power in the world. This radical
new support gives me the counterbalance of hope to offset the doomsday story of nuclear
There is no need to feel helpless or get paralyzed by
hopelessness. We know we have the power to make changes if we can join together and raise
our voices in unison. There is more power in numbers that we ever hoped to dream about! I
call for us to let our numbers grow exponentially as we all take it on ourselves to spread
We are the bearers of a new vision. We can dispel the old
destructive myths and replace them with the life-enriching truths that are essential to
continued life on our planet.
St. Mary, Kentucky
Ken Keyes, Jr.
(THE HUNDREDTH MONKEY BY KEN KEYES, JR.)
I appreciate your letting me share the drama of our megaton
madness with you.
This book does not deal with petty matters.
It tells how to operate our lives -- and our world.
It tells us how to stay alive!
The mess we've brought upon ourselves is a most perilous
and challenging one.
The broad picture pieced together here will show you the
immensity of the nuclear dangers, the futility of any defense or protection, the power of
the new awareness and your role in the unfolding drama.
There is a phenomenon I'd like to tell you about.
In it may lie our only hope of a future for our species.
Here is the story of the Hundredth Monkey:
The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, has been observed in
the wild for a period of over 30 years.
In 1952, on the island of Koshima scientists were providing
monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw
sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.
An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the
problem in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also
learned this new way and they taught their mothers, too.
This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various
monkeys before the eyes of the scientists.
Between 1952 and 1958, all the young monkeys learned to
wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable.
Only the adults who imitated their children learned this
social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.
Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958,
a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes -- the exact number is
Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there
were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes.
Let's further suppose that later that morning, the
hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.
THEN IT HAPPENED!
By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing
sweet potatoes before eating them.
The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created
an ideological breakthrough!
A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was
that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea --
Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop
of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes!*
(*Lifetide by Lyall Watson, pp. 147-148. Bantam Books 1980.
This book gives other fascinating details.)
Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness,
this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.
Although the exact number may very, the Hundredth Monkey
Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may
remain the consciousness property of these people.
But there is a point at which if only one more person
tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up
by almost everyone!
Your awareness is needed in saving the world from nuclear
You may be the "Hundredth Monkey" . . . .
You may furnish the added consciousness energy to create
the shared awareness of the urgent necessity to rapidly achieve a nuclear-free world.
"If I knew then what I know now, I never would have
helped to develop the bomb," spoke George Kistiakowsky, an advisor to President
Eisenhower who worked on the Manhattan Project.
Let's look at the almost incredible nuclear monster we have
created in the last forty years on planet Earth . . . .
Herbert Scoville, Jr., former deputy for research of the
Central Intelligence Agency warns,
The unfortunate situation is that today we are
moving--sliding downhill--toward the probability or the likelihood that a nuclear
conflict will actually break out--and that somebody will use one of these nuclear
weapons in a conflict or perhaps even by accident.
The only result of a substantial nuclear exchange would be
a hollow victory in which the "winners" would be no better off than the losers.
An all-out nuclear war could make our planet uninhabitable
for a million years!
A nuclear war can end the way we live.
It cannot be won -- it can only be lost.
Winning equals losing.
The word "war" is too mild to apply to this
Carl Sagan at the Conference on the Long-Term Biological
Consequences of Nuclear War stated:
We have an excellent chance that if Nation A attacks Nation
B with an effective first strike, counter-force only, then Nation A has thereby committed
suicide, even if Nation B has not lifted a finger to retaliate.*
(*The Cold and the Dark by Paul R. Ehrlich, Carl Sagan,
Donald Kennedy, Walter Orr Roberts, p. 33. W. W. Norton and Co., 1984.)
Suppose you and your family are rafting down an unexplored
Most of your attention is on steering the raft away from
the rocks and keeping it off the banks so that it will not get damaged or stranded.
Several miles downstream unknown to you lies a huge
waterfall that will fling you and your family on the rocks below.
It is easy to miss the significance of certain signals that
are coming to you.
You have noticed a distant, rumbling background sound. But
what does it mean? You can see a mist in the air ahead of you. There's nothing alarming
that seems to call for your immediate attention.
And, besides, you are so busy guiding the raft and keeping
it off the rocks that you don't want to think or anything else right now.
Maybe the rumbling will go away . . . .
But the distant rumbling is getting louder.
We can ignore it -- or we can use our intelligent minds
to inform us of the dangers we must avoid.
What are the signs and the scientific data that are so easy
for us to ignore -- but which are giving us a clear warning of a certain catastrophe
that lies ahead if we remain on our present course?*
(*In 1954, actors John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes
Moorehead and producer Dick Powell filmed "The Conqueror" on the sandy dunes
outside St. George, Utah. We had previously conducted a number of atomic bomb tests in
Nevada about 150 miles away. For three months, the filmmakers were breathing the dust
laced with radioactive plutonium fallout. Twenty-five years later John Wayne, Susan
Hayward, Agnes Moorehead and Dick Powell had all died of cancer. Of the "220 people
in the cast and crew, ninety-one had contracted cancer by late 1980, and half of the
cancer victims had died of the disease." From Killing Our Own by Harvey Wasserman and
Norman Solomon, p. 81, Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1982. Also see The Day We Bombed
Utah: America's Most Lethal Secret by John G. Fuller, New American Library, 1984. This
book documents the way the government has repeatedly lied to us and withheld documents
-- even in court proceedings under oath.)
In 1970, a pediatrician in Grand Junction, Colorado,
noticed an increase in cleft palate, cleft lip and other birth defects.
The homes of these people had been built with waste rock
and sand from a uranium refining operation!
The University of Colorado Medical Center obtained federal
funds to investigate this.
But these funds were cut off a year later.
Navajo Indians who went down into uranium mines in Arizona
have died -- and are right now dying -- of lung cancer, previously rare among
In a recent study, Dr. Gerald Buker pointed out that the
risk factor of lung cancer among Navajo uranium miners increases by at least 85%!
Robert Minogue and Karl Goller of the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission jointly wrote on September 11, 1978:
The evidence mounts that, within the range of exposure
levels encountered by radiation workers, there is no threshold, i.e., a level which can be
assumed as safe in an absolute sense . . . . any amount of radiation has a finite
probability of inducing a health effect, e.g., cancer.*
(*Shut Down, p. 72. The Book Publishing Co., 156 Drakes
Lane, Summertown, TN 38483. 1979. In the nuclear honeymoon decades of the forties and
fifties, the harmful effects of nuclear radiation on human health were underestimated by
as much as ten thousand times! Ibid, p. 167.)
Nuclear submarine workers at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, are
developing cancer at a rate that is double the expected incidence.
Dr. Helen Caldicott, author of Nuclear Madness, was invited
to speak to a meeting of these workers, but only four men appeared.
They told her that the Navy had threatened them with the
loss of their jobs if they came to hear her talk.
Are jobs more important than life itself?
In November, 1980, a group of physicians and scientists
held a symposium at the University of California in Berkeley. At this symposium Dr. Kosta
Tsipis, Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stated,
. . . our earth is surrounded by a thin layer of ozone.
Ozone is a particular isotope of oxygen (noder's note: actually, it's an O3molecule) that has the lovely property of absorbing much of
the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The ultraviolet rays of the sun are the ones that cause
skin burns. When you go to the beach and you get sunburned, that's what does it. In
addition, the ultraviolet rays of the sun blind eyes that are exposed to them for any
period of time. The very fact that we can exist on this earth--that there is a fauna,
animals with eyes on this earth--is based on the existence of the ozone layer that
filters out most of the ultraviolet rays of the sun and therefore allows us to survive.
What happens when a nuclear weapon explodes is that a very
large number of nitrogen oxides are generated by the radiation that flies out from the
explosion. As a matter of fact, a one-megaton weapon will generate 10 molecules of
nitrogen oxides (noder's note: ten?!). These molecules are lifted up together with the fireball, and reach (for
a one-megaton weapon) the altitude of say 50, 60, 70 thousand feet, where the ozone is. At
that point, these molecules will start eating up the ozone-- literally--taking it
away from circulation . . . for long periods of time. It is a very complex photochemical
process, but we know that it occurs . . . . The National Academy of Sciences felt quite
sure to state that if you have exploded . . . in a very short period of time 50% of the
weapons that will be available in the arsenals of the Soviet Union and the United States
by 1985, this simultaneous explosion will create enough nitrogen oxides to take out 50 to
70% of the ozone layer above the northern hemisphere and 30 to 40% of the ozone layer in
the southern hemisphere, because we assume that all of these explosions will take place in
the northern hemisphere . . . .
The latest word out of the scientific laboratories is that
a 20% depletion of the ozone layer will allow enough ultraviolet light to come to earth
that it will blind all unprotected eyes. Now, we can all wear glasses, but the animals and
the birds will not wear glasses, and they will all be blinded and they will all eventually
die. And this is the largest-scale ecological catastrophe that one can imagine--that
all the fauna on the earth will be blinded and eventually die.
I can think of nothing else that is a more massive
ecological dislocation -- to use a mild word. The entire ecosystem will collapse.
Because if we don't have insects, for example, to pollinate the flowers, we won't have
fruit . . . . The whole thing collapses, and that is what will happen, most probably, if
only 50% of the weapons in the arsenals of the two superpowers in 1985 were to be exploded
within a few days in a nuclear war.
If you're within a few miles of a nuclear detonation,
you'll be incinerated on the spot!
And if you survive the blast, what does the future promise?
The silent but deadly radiation, either directly or from
fallout, in a dose of 400 rems could kill you within two weeks.
Your hair would fall out, your skin would be covered with
large ulcers, you would vomit and experience diarrhea and you would die of infection or
massive bleeding as your white blood cells and platelets stopped working.
If you have less exposure to this deadly radioactivity, you
may develop leukemia in five years.
Hiroshima survivors were thirty times more likely to have
this fatal disease than the unexpected population!*
(*Between 1945 and 1963 several hundred thousand soldiers
were marched through areas where the Nevada atomic weapons tests were conducted. The rate
of leukemia among these men had been 400 times the national average! Shut Down, p. 165,
The Book Publishing Co., 1979.)
A smaller amount of exposure sets you up for cancer in
twelve or more years.
Even a tiny invisible particle of plutonium is so
radioactive that it can cause cancer or alter your genes so that your children may be
deformed at birth!
Plutonium has been called "thalidomide forever."
(*Dr. John Gofman is the co-discoverer of uranium-233 and a
leading medical researcher. In his 908-page book Radiation and Human Health (Sierra Club
Books, San Francisco, 1981) he tells exactly how radiation produces cancer, leukemia and
birth defects. This book enables you to estimate diminished life-expectancy from various
radiation exposures. It evaluates the genetic consequences to future generations of our
current radiation exposures.)
Uranium, mined from the earth, is converted by a processing
facility or a nuclear power plant into plutonium, strontium-90 and many other dangerous
Plutonium is used in making high-yield nuclear bombs. It
has a half-life of 24,400 years and is poisonous for at least a half-million years.
Dr. Helen Caldicott writes:
As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens
life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the
food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive
pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever
experienced. Unknowingly exposed to these radioactive poisons, some of us may be
developing cancer right now. Others may be passing damaged genes, the basic chemical units
which transmit hereditary characteristics, to future generations. And more of us will
inevitably be affected unless we bring about a drastic reversal of our government's
(*Nuclear Madness by Dr. Helen Caldicott, p. 1. Bantam
Books, 1980. Copyright 1978, 1980 by Helen M. Caldicott.)
We are about to drown in nuclear sewage. We now have about
one hundred million gallons of dangerous radioactive effluents that no one knows what to
do with. And it's globally increasing at a catastrophic rate.
There is no way to safely dispose of this extremely
dangerous, corrosive, radioactive garbage in leakproof containers that will be
continuously protected by competent guards free from war, earthquakes, floods and
tornadoes for hundreds of thousands of years!
What right have we to burden future generations with this
ever-increasing threat to their well-being?
We conducted over 70 nuclear bomb tests around the Marshall
Islands between 1946 and 1963.
Each mushroom cloud scattered trillions of plutonium atoms
throughout the world!*
(*By 1970 natives of the Marshall Islands were suffering
from increased incidence of cancer, retarded growth and miscarriages.)
Let's suppose just one particle of plutonium landed in a
forest near you.
It could rest on a limb of a tree, be stirred up in the air
and inhaled by a bird.
This single plutonium particle could create a
radiation-induced disease in the bird, who would die prematurely.
Suppose the dead bird decomposes in a field and when
driving by, you breathe dust that contains this invisible bit of plutonium.
This particle of human-made plutonium could ruin the
genetic regulating mechanism in one of your cells that prevents wild cancerous growths.
Your body could then begin producing cancer cells . . . .
It's a matter of probability and risk -- not certainty.
And this same deadly plutonium atom could escape from your
remains and be recycled with bad news consequences for the next half-million years!
"All of us, particularly the inhabitants of the
northern hemisphere, carry some plutonium in our lungs and other organs," according
to Dr. John T. Edsell, Professor of [Biochemistry at Harvard.*
(*Dr. John Gofman estimates that, because of the damage to
part of their clearance mechanism, the lungs of cigarette smokers "might be a hundred
times more sensitive to the effects of plutonium.")
The Savannah River nuclear plant, according to Dr. Carl
Johnson of the Medical School of the University of Colorado, may have already polluted
1,000 square miles of Georgia and South Carolina with plutonium.*
(*"And as late as 1979, radioiodine was measured in
vegetation in nearby Columbia, Georgia, at a concentration that corresponds to a human
thyroid dose of 24,000 millirems per year -- 320 times the amount permitted by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). High levels of tritium, which the plant releases
routinely, have also been detected in the Savannah River and in local milk and vegetation
. . . . Dr. Karl Z. Morgan, former director of the Health Physics Laboratory at Oak Ridge
National Laboratories in Tennessee, notes that in 1969 the flesh of a deer taken from the
plant site was discovered to have the equivalent of the 2,250 millirems per year of
cesium, or 90 times the EPA limit for a human." "Nuclear County," by
Zachary Sklar, Geo, Vol. 3, p. 32, August 1981.)
A 1975 study found that more than 10,000 pounds of this
deadly chemical are thinly dispersed in the earth's atmosphere.
Your precious body is probably already carrying this hidden
handmaiden of genetic ruin and death.*
(*Radioactive atoms are already in our food chain. The
United States Department of Agriculture in Food, The Yearbook of Agriculture 1959, p. 118,
reported that strontium-90 from the United States and Russian atomic bomb tests had
scattered radioactive strontium-90 over the entire earth. It was first detected in animal
bones, dairy products and soil in 1953. It is now in the bodies of all human beings
regardless of their age or where they live. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol.
XVII, No. 3, p. 44, March 1962, stated that children growing up in the United States have
about 6 to 8 times more strontium-90 in their bones than their parents.)
Let's make sure that we don't get additional doses!!!
We've already trapped ourselves in a small degree of
irreversible nuclear damage.
To avoid further harm to ourselves and our children, the
people of the world must somehow avoid further nuclear insanity.*
(*A leakage on September 11, 1957, and again on May 11,
1969, in the AEC Rocky Flats plutonium plant released plutonium near Denver, Colorado.
There has been a 24% increase in cancer in men and a 10% increase in women in the portion
of the Denver metropolitan area nearest to the Rocky Flats plutonium processing plant.)
One million tons of TNT is known as a megaton. A grand
total of over three megatons of nonnuclear explosives were used in World War II from 1941
Today, nuclear bombs up to 20 megatons each are poised for
Only one of these could destroy a large city and make the
land dangerous for eons!
Dr. Bernard Feld, professor, MIT, and the editor-in-chief
of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said,
Sometimes later in this decade, military plans which are
being seriously discussed now by the military establishments on both sides would lead to .
. . an immediate exchange . . . in a nuclear war of something between 10,000 and 20,000
The fallout in the United States would be total. That is to
say, there would be no areas, really, that could escape. There would be lethal fallout
covering the entire United States and essentially the entire Soviet Union. Worldwide this
would lead to something . . . somewhere in the region of, let's say, 20 radiation units
per capita everywhere on earth.
And this I would regard as a situation which we would all
have to consider to be absolutely intolerable.
And, therefore, it seems to me that we have no choice in
the direction in which we have to move. The problem that faces us is not whether nuclear
disarmament is feasible, but how we can go about convincing our leaders. And, presumably,
they will be convinced when all the people, or at least a majority of the people, of our
countries are convinced of the unacceptability of the current course of events in which
missile is piled on top of missile, in which weapon is piled on top of weapon, and in
which doctrines concerning their use are being proliferated not only in the insane
superpowers but in other so-called civilized countries as well.
How are we going to convince ourselves that this is an
intolerable direction, stop where we are, turn it around and eventually reduce these
stockpiles . . . ?
David Hoffman points out, "In a nuclear war, the best
defense is not to have an offense."*
(*David Hoffman is the co-founder of "Interhelp,"
a think tank focusing on practical ways to get us out of our nuclear predicament.)
War no longer functions for settling disputes between
War itself must be abolished in the twentieth century
-- just as slavery was eliminated during the nineteenth century.
Our survival demands new ways for operating our
A single conventional bomb can blow up the reactor rods
that fuel a power plant.
If Europe had nuclear power plants during World War II, our
bombs could have devastated the continent and made it uninhabitable for thousands of years
by radioactive pollution of the air, food and water.*
(*A 1964 Atomic Energy Commission study showed that a
serious nuclear accident could kill 45,000 people, injure 100,000 and contaminate "an
area the size of Pennsylvania.")
Any nuclear reactors anywhere make us vulnerable to
aggression and fanaticism by politicians and terrorists -- even if they don't have
access to nuclear bombs.
When we even maintain a supply of nuclear bombs as a
"deterrent," we are dangerously perpetuating the illusion that our safety and
security lie in nuclear materials.
Such a consciousness makes inevitable the competitive
stockpiling and future use of these materials.
And the passions of many military and political leaders and
terrorists are such that sooner or later they will unleash every bit of destructiveness
they can get their hands on!
A nuclear war could blow enough fine dust into our
stratosphere to filter out sunlight and create a nuclear winter that could freeze out most
human and animal life on the planet.
Here is a report of the conference "The World After a
Nuclear War" in Washington, D.C., November, 1983:
Well over a hundred scientists working independently in
countries such as the United States, Germany and the Soviet Union presented a grim
consensus that was summed up by Stanford University Ecologist, Paul Ehrlich, "The two
to three billion who are at least able to stand up after the last weapon goes off are
going to be--at least in the Northern Hemisphere--starving to death in a dark,
smoggy world." The World Health Organization has concluded that a major nuclear war
between the United States and the Soviet Union could leave 1.1 billion dead from immediate
nuclear effects of the blast, fireball and radiation. Another 1.1 billion would be
injured. Since medical facilities would be almost wiped out, most of the injured will die.
The ultimate toll within a few months is estimated by this study to be more than 2 billion
people or roughly half the world's population.
But will the survivors be much better off? Ehrlich points
out that even at noon, the earth will be almost dark because of the millions of tons of
dirt and debris that the nuclear explosions will throw into the sky. He points out that
rampaging forest and city fires may burn 50% to 60% of the United States and send huge
amounts of smoke into the sky. It will take many months to settle back to earth.
Scientists estimate that temperatures in the plains of North America and the steppes of
Central Asia may drop as much as 40C (72F) -- it could literally freeze in July.
With our atmosphere enshrouded in nuclear dust carried up
into the stratosphere, sunlight would not sustain photosynthesis, according to Joseph
Berry, noted plant physiologist, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
Several atmospheric chemists pointed out that in some
regions the light would fall to as little as 5% to 10% of the former levels. Carl Sagan
said that if a little less than half of our nuclear materials are exploded (5,000
megatons), the midwest would drop 15 to 20 below zero Fahrenheit for months.*
(*Science News, November, 1983. For complete information on
this conference, see The Cold and the Dark by Paul R. Ehrlich, Carl Sagan, Donald Kennedy,
Walter Orr Roberts. W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1984.)
Have you ever felt overconfident?
Have you ever felt like taking a chance just to see how it
Have you ever felt so angry that you were determined to
hurt someone even if you hurt yourself, too?
Have you ever felt so depressed, so discouraged, that you
just didn't give a damn?
Have you ever felt like kicking over a game you couldn't
(*People close to Nixon in his last days in office
reportedly deactivated the signal mechanism that our President can use to hurl our nuclear
holocaust at Russia and destroy the world.)
The United States and Russia have enough military hardware
to destroy every city on earth seven times!
And other nations are scrambling to acquire this dreadful
(*The U.S., Russia, France, Great Britain, Italy and West
Germany are selling nuclear and conventional arms to other countries at the rate of over
$350 million per day! It's sad to note that our economies and our diplomacy are developing
a dependency on our roles as merchants of death.)
Why do we have to live under these perilous conditions?
Eventually, every large or small country on this planet
could have a supply of deadly nuclear bombs.
Nuclear bombs are not that difficult to make . . . .
Eight thousand pounds of plutonium and uranium are now
missing from U.S. facilities, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission!
The insane arms race is almost out of control.
Nuclear war by design or by accident is possible and
IT COULD HAPPEN ANY MINUTE!
"Nuclear war," according to Roger Fisher,
Professor of Law at Harvard, "is not a solution. It is worse than any problem it
An all-out nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia could
kill hundreds of millions of people and subject the survivors to radiation sicknesses
-- and cause countless mutations of the genetic blueprints of our species.*
(*If our nuclear insanity continues, our descendants may be
so mutated that they cannot even be classified as members of our species, Homo sapiens.)
"Nuclear weapons aren't weapons -- they're an
obscenity," said Dr. Marvin Goldberger, President, California Institute of
According to Dr. Herbert L. Abrams of the Harvard Medical
School, the corpses produced by a nuclear war between Russia and the United States if laid
end to end would reach from the earth to the moon.
Could any worthwhile human desire however right, good or
needed be actually achieved by this sacrifice of the human race?
Rear Admiral Gene R. LaRocque, United States Navy
(retired), suggests that a nuclear war may be started by mechanical mishaps and electronic
and personnel errors:
. . . one of our strategic submarines, the George
Washington, ran right into a Japanese ship just a few months ago and sank it! That's one
of our best missile submarines! . . . We've lost two of our nuclear attack submarines that
sank in the ocean and we don't know why to this day -- the Scorpion and the Thresher.
And earlier this year one of our missiles was accidentally fired from Arkansas because a
mechanic dropped a wrench . . . .
We've had several incidents where nuclear weapons have
literally fallen out of airplanes, literally just fallen through the bomb bays. Probably
the most interesting one is the one that fell out of a strategic bomber in the Carolinas
some years ago . . . . landed in Carolina in a swamp, and they looked all over for that
nuclear weapon. We haven't found it yet . . . .*
(*The Defense Department bought the land, put a fence
around it, and now it's a nuclear safety area! From a talk given on October 31, 1981 at a
Los Angeles symposium organized by Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Council
for a Livable World.)
Daniel Ellsberg, who was an assistant to former Secretary
of Defense McNamara, reminds us of an accident in 1961 when an Air Force plane carrying a
24-megaton bomb crashed in North Carolina.
On crash impact five of the six interlocking safety
mechanisms on the bomb failed!
Only one switch kept the bomb from unleashing the
equivalent of 1,000 Nagasaki-type explosions!*
(*From Survival newsletter, Sept.-Nov. 1981, published by
Southern California Alliance for Survival.)
We've been lucky so far!
A Russian airplane carrying a nuclear weapon crashed in the
Sea of Japan.
U.S. submarines carrying nuclear missiles have collided
with Russian ships.
By mistake, we dropped on Spain four plutonium bombs which
fortunately did not explode.
Oops -- so sorry!
The failure of a 46 computer part has produced a false
signal that Russian missiles were on the way.
On November 9, 1979, a reportedly fail-safe computer
responded to a war games tape by turning on all American early warning systems around the
On June 3 and again on June 6, 1980, computer errors in our
warning system began a rapid chain of events that could have ruined the planet.
You and I may have been only minutes from nuclear death
when these technical errors were spotted!!!*
(*Military folks will protest that, while true, the above
are unfair statements. They haven't blown us apart yet, have they?)
What if an error is not detected within minutes?
Up until the last half of this century, civil defense was
usually protective against ordinary bombs.
With less than thirty minutes warning of a missile attack,
we can forget it!
The fire storm of a nuclear missile will turn most
underground shelters into crematoriums, anyway.
TODAY PROTECTIVE MEASURES ARE INEFFECTIVE, AND ULTIMATELY
Nuclear bombs are so hopelessly devastating that at the
November, 1980 Conference of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Dr. H. Jack Geiger
It is my belief that any physician who even takes part in
so-called emergency medical disaster planning--specifically to meet the problem of
nuclear attack--is committing a profoundly unethical act. He is deluding himself or
herself, colleagues, and by implication the public at large, into the false belief that
mechanisms of survival in any meaningful social sense are possible.
Albert Einstein warned: "We must never relax our
efforts to arouse in the people of the world, and especially in their governments, an
awareness of the unprecedented disaster which they are absolutely certain to bring on
themselves unless there is a fundamental change in their attitudes toward one another as
well as in their concept of the future.
"The unleashed power of the atom has changed
everything except our way of thinking."
Nothing is worth playing Russian roulette with the journey
of Homo sapiens.
As you and I live out our lives and set up the way for
future generations, let us resolve to avoid nuclear destruction.
Why let ourselves be wiped out by not responding to the
clear signs of future catastrophe?*
(*See The Fate of the Earth by Jonathan Schell. Alfred A
Knopf, Inc., 1982. It places the issue in a large perspective with a brilliant analysis of
the forces at play. The Fate of the Earth is an important guide at this crucial time.)
Carl Sagan, professor of astronomy at Cornell University
and creator of the "Cosmos" series, said:
What a waste it would be after 4 billion tortuous years of
evolution if the dominant organism contrived its own self-destruction. We are the first
species to have devised the means. There is no issue more important than the avoidance of
nuclear war. It is incredible for any thinking person not to be concerned with this issue.
No species is guaranteed tenured life on this planet. We are privileged to be alive and to
think. We have the privilege to affect the future.
Since nuclear missiles fly both ways, neither the United
States nor Russia can make itself more secure by making the other less secure.
Nuclear weapons can no longer provide us with security.
Our choice is clear:
A non-nuclear future or none at all!!!
Our life on the planet is more important than money or
Do we have to be such fanatics that we destroy the world by
squabbling over conflicting ideas?
Is a "cerebral itch" more important than life
Is human destiny a hectic trip from Adam to Atom?
All around us we're getting messages loud and clear:
The danger of the annihilation of human civilization should
not be made the subject of theoretical arguments, but be used as a basis for creating a
common awareness of the alarming situation the world is facing today and of the need for
exercising the political will to search for acceptable solutions.
Report of the Secretary-General Of the United Nations*
(*"General and Complete Disarmament, Comprehensive
Study on Nuclear Weapons," (A/35/392, page 151, September 12, 1980.)
The overwhelming priority to do away with nuclear arms has
not penetrated the collective consciousness or conscience of the general public . . . .
Nuclear arms must not just be limited, they must be eliminated.
Rev. Maurice McCrackin, Community Church of Cincinnati
Rear Admiral LaRocque warns us:
It's very important for all of us today to realize that the
Soviet Union is not the enemy. Nuclear war is the enemy. We're going to have to learn to
live with the Russians or we and the Russians are going to die at about the same time.
So urgent is the situation that we must shortcut through
our usual ways of thinking.
Humanity and world peace must be given priority above
As individuals we must act affirmatively and stop
supporting the drift toward nuclear holocaust.
Dale Bridenbaugh, Richard Hubbard and Gregory Minor took
their stand and resigned from highly paying positions as nuclear engineers at General
Electric on February 2, 1976.
They told the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy:
When we first joined the General Electric Nuclear Energy
Division, we were very excited about the idea of this new technology--atomic
power--and the promise of a virtually limitless source of safe, clean and economic
energy for this and future generations. But now . . . the promise is till unfulfilled. The
nuclear industry has developed to become an industry of narrow specialists, each promoting
and refining a fragment of the technology, with little comprehension of the total impact
on our world system . . . . We [resigned] because we could no longer justify devoting our
life energies to the continued development and expansion of nuclear fission power -- a
system we believe to be so dangerous that it now threatens the very existence of life on
The problem of nuclear poisoning of the planet can only be
solved by educating the people on earth about the nuclear facts of life.
The people of the Soviet Union, the United States and all
other countries can be made aware of the nuclear peril --
When the people of this earth know the facts, they will not
want to live poised on the brink of nuclear annihilation!
("Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an
end to mankind." [John F. Kennedy.)
"The war planning process of the past has become
totally obsolete. ATTACK IS NOW SUICIDE," said Thomas J. Watson, Jr., former
Ambassador to the Soviet Union and President of IBM. Watson warns us against:
". . . the illusion that we cannot sign treaties with
the Russians because they systematically violate them.
Let us be clear about this: there are major differences
between our two countries. Soviet values are diametrically opposed to ours. Contention
between us on a global scale is a fact of life. Suspicion is the keynote of our relations.
But having said that, let me add this: on the evidence, the
Soviets do keep agreements provided each side has an interest in the other's keeping the
agreement, and provided each side can verify compliance for itself."*
(*Keynote address at Harvard's 330th commencement on June
In 1958 a Russian nuclear installation exploded at Kyshtym.
Radioactive clouds devastated the countryside for hundreds of miles. This area of the Ural
Mountains is now a wasteland that cannot be safely inhabited for millennia.
It's interesting to note the U.S. Government hid this CIA
report for almost 20 years.
It only came to light in 1977 under the Freedom of
In 1981 George Kennan, former Ambassador to Moscow, and one
of our foremost authorities on Russia, called for immediate, across-the-board 50%
reductions in all kinds of nuclear arms as a first step by both sides. He pointed out:
We have gone on piling weapon upon weapon, missile upon
missile, new levels of destructiveness upon old ones, helplessly, almost involuntarily,
like victims of some sort of hypnotism, like men in a dream, like lemmings heading for the
And the result is that today we have achieved--we and
the Russians together--in the creation of these devices and their means of delivery,
levels of redundancy of such grotesque dimensions as to defy rational understanding. What
a confession of intellectual poverty it would be, what a bankruptcy of intelligent
statesmanship, if we had to admit that such blind, senseless acts of destruction were the
best we could do!
Dr. Jim Muller of the Harvard Medical School reports that:
In March, 1981 at a conference held by the International
Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Dr. Yevgeni I. Chazov, Deputy Minister of
Health of the U.S.S.R. and cardiologist to Chairman Brezhnev and other Kremlin leaders,
revealed that he had spent 35 minutes on national Soviet television discussing the medical
consequences of nuclear war. The conference itself was covered in detail by Pravda, with a
circulation of over 10 million, Izvestia, over 8 million, and so on. Statements about the
impossibility of surviving nuclear war and appeals to world leaders to prevent it were
(*In June, 1982, Dr. Muller, with Dr. Bernard Lown and Dr.
John Pastore, appeared on Soviet television with Dr. Chazov and two other Russian
physicians. Dr. Chazov said, "We have come here openly and honestly to tell the
people about our movement, whose main objective is the preservation of life on
earth." They discussed such topics as the effects of a one-megaton bomb on a city,
medical care for the victims and the long-term effects of radiation fallout. The one-hour
telecast was seen by an estimated 100 million Russians and it was not censored.)
Dwight D. Eisenhower, who served as a five-star general in
World War II and who also served as President of the United States, could speak as ".
. . one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who
knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly
built over thousands of years . . . ."
In 1953, Eisenhower said, "Every gun that is made,
every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in a final sense a theft from those
who hunger and are not fed -- those who are cold and not clothed.
"This world in arms is not spending money alone --
it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its
By 1959, this general and statesman said,
"I like to believe that people in the long run are
going to do more to promote peace than are governments.
"INDEED, I THINK THAT PEOPLE WANT PEACE SO MUCH THAT
ONE OF THESE DAYS GOVERNMENTS HAD BETTER GET OUT OF THEIR WAY AND LET THEM HAVE IT."
The Council for a Livable World has pointed out that
military expenditures of themselves are destructive to human life -- even if the
weapons they stockpile are never used.*
(*The Council for a Livable World was founded in 1962 by
the eminent nuclear physicist Dr. Leo Szilard to combat the menace of nuclear war and
strengthen national security through rational arms control.)
The people of Earth are now spending one million dollars
per minute on armaments!
Once we stop preparing to blast each other apart, we will
find that we can easily solve all the world's hunger, water and shelter problems.*
(*More than $18 billion in arms sales were made to Third
World countries in 1980 -- up from $8 billion in 1975. Let them eat -- guns?!?)
What can you and I do about the biggest problem our world
has ever faced?
In case you are feeling that there is nothing you can do
about the increasing nuclear menace that hangs over our heads, remember the story of the
You may be the Hundredth Monkey!
Your own awareness and action can be the added energy
needed to make the difference between life and death for you, your family -- and all
Dr. Caldicott reminds us,
The power of an aroused public is unbeatable. Vietnam and
Watergate proved that. It must be demonstrated again. It is not yet too late, for while
there is life there is hope. There is no cause for pessimism, for already I have seen
great obstacles surmounted. Nor need we be afraid, for I have seen democracy work.*
(*Nuclear Madness by Dr. Helen Caldicott, p. 93. Bantam
Books, 1980. Copyright 1978, 1980 by Helen M. Caldicott.)
MASS ACTION IS EFFECTIVE.
Eighty thousand people in June, 1977 marched in Australia
demanding that uranium be left in the ground where it belongs.
This protest was successful!
In Germany, after experiencing nuclear protests, West
German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt said, "One cannot simply force nuclear energy down
A Time magazine poll showed that 76% of the voters in the
U.S. support a nuclear freeze.
Statewide votes in Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New
Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, California, Wisconsin, and the District of
Columbia have called for immediate negotiations for a verifiable freeze in the production,
testing and deployment of all nuclear weapons, missiles and delivery systems.
In Massachusetts voters backed a proposal that would
require a referendum before any nuclear waste site or power plant can be established.
The United Nations organization with its worldwide offices
will help if requested:
Once there is an initiative from a region, the countries
and regional organizations concerned should be able, upon their request and in the manner
they wish, to draw to the fullest extent on the resources and possibilities of the United
(*Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations,
"General and Complete Disarmament, Study on All the Aspects of Regional
Disarmament." Page 64, A/35/416, October 8, 1980)
Here's some good news.
In June, 1981 a Gallup poll asked Americans, "Do you
think that the United States should or should not meet with the Soviet Union this year to
try to reach agreement on nuclear disarmament?"
Eighty percent said we should meet, thirteen percent said
we should not, with seven percent undecided.*
(*Nuclear War: What's in It For You? by Ground Zero is an
excellent book that will increase your nuclear awareness. Pocket Books.)
In addition to mass action, we must alter the separating
mental habits that created the nuclear problem from the start.
Let's examine the change in consciousness that must take
place for four billion of us to get along together on planet Earth.
How we think and feel has got us into this nuclear problem,
The way to our survival lies in altering how we think and
We must use the power of our collective consciousness as we
learn to focus on peace -- and human togetherness.
The men and women of the nuclear nations must be willing to
give up their PLUTONIUM SECURITY BLANKETS.
Instead we must REALLY be willing to REALLY listen so we
can REALLY understand what's REALLY bothering us.
We must get behind emotional rigidity, intellectual jargon
and logic-tight compartments of the mind.
We must realize that there are no simple right answers.
We must stop risking the survival of our planet by
demanding that we always get our way. If we always get our way, there is no real
Together we must develop effective understandings based on
both sides working together to create mutually acceptable solutions that we can all live
It's our separate-self mental habits that are the cause of
our survival predicament.
The bomb is not the real problem -- it's only an effect
of our attitudes.
Our mental habits of understanding events in an
"us-vs.-them" perception rather than an "us-and-them" insight are
creating a devastating mental, emotional and moral separateness in our minds.
If the human race can't learn to get along with itself, it
will soon exterminate itself.
A group of our top scientists working in the Manhattan
Project during World War II developed the atomic bomb from textbook theory to Hiroshima in
only four years!
What would happen if an equally dedicated group backed by
our nation's resources worked together to create a world consciousness of our common
humanity and a unity of our human hearts and minds that would make all armaments useless?
Any problem created by the human mind can be solved by the
What's stopping us?
If you had a highly contagious, often fatal, disease, you
would care enough about other people to try to avoid transmitting it.
Could the expectations and demands that make you feel
hatred, alienation and a "me-vs.-them" separateness be considered a disease?
Such emotion-backed demands are more deadly to the survival
of the human race than all contagious diseases added together!!!
Remember this the next time your mind makes you experience
hatred and hard-heartedness.
If we want humankind to survive into the next century, we
can no longer afford to transmit the deadly disease of hatred, non-caring and forcefully
getting one's was that lead to murder, assassination and ultimately to nuclear
Increasingly our minds have put great energy into three
forms of separateness that make us create thoughts and actions that result in a lethal
threat to our continued life on planet Earth!*
(*See No Boundary by Ken Wilber. Center Publications, 1979.
This is a discussion of how our minds create division and separateness.)
First, your mind is divided against itself.
You have become self-conscious, self-downing,
self-critical, and in too many ways have lost your deeper levels of appreciating yourself.
Have you sometimes noticed that when you're feeling most
separate from someone else, behind it all your mind is just not feeling good about you?
Secondly, your mind has become divided against your own
Your thinking has obstructed the free flow of your
feelings. Your mental activity constantly crowds out your experiencing the aliveness of
You have neglected your body and instead put your energy
into activities involving pride, prestige and that ever-seductive "success" that
have not brought you happiness or peace of mind.
Thirdly, just as your mind has become divided against
itself and against the body which houses it, it has also increasingly alienated itself
from your four billion cousins that are here and now sharing the planet with you.
You have lost the bond with Mother Earth herself and all
her creatures -- and forgotten how we all depend on each other.
In too many situations we automatically experience people
as "them" -- not "us."
These jungle-type habits of mind are dangerous to our
In the millions of years in which our ancestors were
surviving in the jungles, it was important for their minds to create an instant
For animals eat other animals and no species can survive if
all of its members are eaten up.
This instant perception of "otherness" is basic
to survival for animals in the jungle.
We can learn a more effective way to make our lives work.
We are still creating a "jungle" of our civilized
lives by continuing the operation of our "us-vs.-them" mental habits.
We're all in this together!
"Love alone," wrote Teilhard de Chardin, "is
capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it
alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves."
UNDERSTANDING, COOPERATION AND LOVE ARE THE KEYS TO HUMAN
The problem I find in trying to go from the separate-self
to the consciousness of my unified-self is that my ego operates under the illusory
programming that in order to like or love you, I must like or love everything you do or
I identify you with your thoughts or your actions.
I lose sight of the fact that your thoughts and actions
just reflect your life experiences and your training.
I may crystallize my mind against what you do or say and
fail to notice your good intentions . . . which usually are just like mine!
Even if you drop a bomb on me your purpose is to settle
arguments -- and create peace!
These are good intentions -- just like mine!
You just need a more effective way to realize your positive
A stereo set is not the record it plays.
If a record is scratchy, we don't throw out the stereo set.
All we have to do is change the record.
We don't have to reject a human being because we don't like
his or her programming.
We can just make it clear that we like the person --
but we don't like a particular action.
And our thoughts and actions can change because they're not
us -- in our essence.
I have the direct experience that in my essence I am
something apart from the mental habits that spin out my personality and the current soap
opera of my life.
Thus I can dislike a person's behavior and still feel that
this is a human being who like me is just trying to make life work using the programming
we picked up when we were young.
Your thoughts and actions are only a set of mental habits
in a state of flux as you evolve from stage to stage of your life's growth.
All of us have done mean, sloppy and uncaring things that
we wish we hadn't done.
I always hope that you won't identify me with the things
that I've done that were unskillful responses to life situations.
The mind can be trained to nurture a "me-and-you"
consciousness in which patience and understanding will compassionately harmonize the flow
of our activities so that we all want to help each other work things out.
We can develop an awareness that things aren't problem-free
for me until they're problem-free for you!
This applies equally to relationships between individuals
or between countries.
When I create my experience of you I may forget that you
are not your thoughts or actions.
I don't know you from inside -- as I experience myself.
I may forget that in every important way you are like me.
You have a human heart that feels pain and warmth, sadness
In your essence and in your intentions you are basically
good -- just like me!
And my ego is often too ready to treat as important all the
differences that my mind notices: lifestyle, skin color, social status, educational
background, our differing ideas and opinions and on and on.
When I continually magnify these outward signs, I create
the experience that you are really different from me.
It's time we begin to realize that you and I are far more
alike than we are different.
We are all fellow beings traveling the road of life
We don't live in isolation.
We are all interconnected.
We all live in one world.
We are affected by a lack of harmony of any type anywhere
on the planet -- even if we're not consciously aware of it.
We are not separate.
What we say and do can affect the well-being of all of us.
We know that our health may be affected if we live among
What we are beginning to learn is that our peace of mind
may be affected if we live among disturbed people.
Our happiness may be affected if we live among unhappy
Our love may be affected if we live among clashing,
And even the future of our species is in doubt with various
nations stockpiling nuclear devices designed to destroy each other.
The nuclear nations today have created more than 50,000
nuclear devices -- in an expression of the consciousness of the separate-self.
These dangerous toys enable some children of Earth
pompously playing the roles of military and political leaders, to kill fellow humans in
(*See Missile Envy by Helen Caldicott, William Morrow and
Co., Inc., 1984.)
We pay a horrendous price for this separate-self --
this "me-vs.-you" jungle-type consciousness.
No matter what illusions may dominate our minds, nuclear
devices are suicidal for our species.
Any perception that our lives are an
"us-vs.-them" matter is an illusion and can only create alienation, unhappiness
-- and perhaps death.
If our species is to survive, it must replace the illusions
of separateness with the emotional experiences of acceptance, cooperation and
Instead of "you vs. me" it must become "you
and me" -- on this planet together.
However much our ideas and ideologies may clash, we must
remember that nothing is more important for survival and for happiness in life than
feelings of understanding and commonness of human purpose.
All of the nations of earth are acting like spoiled
children who are fighting over marbles.
Children forget that their happiness comes not from
possession of the marbles, but from the fun of playing together -- and from creating
the great adventure of life together.
We can learn to keep our squabbles within bounds.
We must learn to disagree without throwing each other out
of our hearts -- and thus create rocklike hatreds.
We can become skillful at changing the desire systems in
Whatever we expect to get by creating hatred and
separateness even if "justified" is always purchased at far too great a price.
Human love--our heart-to-heart love--is more
valuable than anything else.
If we have this, we have enough.
Without this love in our hearts, nothing else will be
Kierkegaard said, ". . . to love human beings is still
the only thing worth living
for -- without that love, you really do not live."
Let's not ruin our future because of anything that happened
in the past.
Let us challenge our present approaches and rethink old
Would you want your children to die because your mind is
not flexible enough to forgive?*
(*Bernard Benson in The Peace Book Bantam Books, 1982
gives a sensitive new angle by letting a child ask the pertinent questions and give
practical solutions. Philip Noel Baker (Co-chairman of the World Disarmament Campaign and
winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) said, "Everyone who wants to live should read this
book." It has been translated to Russian and the author was interviewed by children
on TV in Moscow.)
From the point of view of our complex desire systems, life
will always seem "imperfect."
WE WIN SOME AND WE LOSE SOME.
Can we expand our hearts so that we do not hate even the
proponents of nuclear power?
Can we learn to feel love and compassion for the people
involved in perpetuating nuclear technology even when they're unable or unwilling to
understand the reasons for our concern?
Always remember that feelings of anger and hatred and
separateness are our only problem.
Let's not try to save the world by increasing the problem!
The next step in our growth as individuals and as a species
requires that our minds experience the planetary urgency of letting go of separating
mental habits and demands that close our hearts to other people.
We are challenged by our destiny to increase our ability to
create with many people the enjoyable experiences of acceptance and cooperation.
Individual and species survival means increasing our
tolerance, our patience and our own understanding so that we do not continue to drive
ourselves crazy when people or situations are not the way we want them to be.
We can no longer afford to create separateness and
alienation if we want to get the most from our lives.
We can still want what we want. We can think it's only fair
or right to get it.
We can still put gentle energy into trying to change
But we must learn not to throw people out of our hearts.
We tear each other apart too easily . . . .
We're all like kids, taking our disagreements and our
differences too seriously!
When will we learn that it is only our emotion-backed
demands that make us create the internal experience of unhappiness?
Our egos and rational minds are so good at making us feel
and think that the problem of human separateness lies in the outside world -- and not
With practice, this mental skill of inner flexibility will
make us even more effective and powerful.
It takes a strong person to be able to lovingly but
directly communicate what he or she wants to someone who disagrees -- and acts
You will increase your skill in helping the world when you
learn to be mentally flexible.
This means being able to constantly blend back into
creating an experience of life as a whole with appreciation, cooperativeness and love for
the people around you -- even when they oppose you.
We haven't yet become effective at operating our minds and
our emotions to create that subtle blend of both head and heart that lets us use our
treasure chest of inner wisdom.
This wisdom is kept tightly locked up when our egos and
minds run off the tapes that continually create the illusion of separateness.
Only by opening our minds and hearts will we find the rich,
intuitive wisdom that always lies within every human being -- even if it isn't used.
The conflicting energies in our world are so great today
that perhaps we need the "millionth monkey" to project the energy of wholeness
and cooperation -- of friendship and love, of sharing life on this planet together.
WHATEVER THAT CRITICAL NUMBER IS, YOU ARE NEEDED TO SAVE
You are essential!!!
It may be that without you, it will not happen and our
species will hurtle itself into partial or complete destruction.