Our Unforeseen Consequences, II

“More confident, far-seeing, capable and prudent.”


There were documented reports that TEPCO allowed cooling water that contacted the nuclear fuel — the worst kind yet — to return to sea shortly after the initial 2011 incident. So whatever hacks they are doing over the table now might not even be the most despicable in the whole series of unfortunate human-error-led events.

That’s enough mockery.

I recall an old Internet joke, probably out of Japan, actually, saying that humanity’s commercial nuclear energy facilities are “apartments without toilets”.

There’s merit to that statement. When it comes to dealing with fission waste, humans have little solution other than chucking spent fuel rods somewhere quiet until they fizzle themselves out: big caves in the arctic, solubles dumped into the sea — sorry California; water cans arranged on an earthquake-prone coast … Nothing humans devised or implemented so far can survive geological, let alone astrophysical timescales, and whenever somebody contemplates dumping nuclear waste any farther or deeper, one soon realises that our technology isn’t reliable enough to ensure stuff inside a miles-long perimeter around the launchpad do not turn into another no-man zone.

But this concern isn’t what I mainly set out to discuss tonight.

What I fear most about the Fukushima situation — the unforeseen consequence — probably isn’t the C-14 waiting to taint my own DNA, or make future archeologists cry (or laugh, if they are not our direct descendants but here to build their own toy human fossils collection, hi!).

What I do fear, based on how I notice the ongoing situation is being portrayed, discussed, and felt, in various information bubbles around the world, is the grand opening of a new era of humanity. One during which cold-war weapons of thought are unholstered again, probably wielded by dumber people than last time around; one that has a greater potential than ever be the last chapter of history, or, at least, be remembered as the beginning of the end of our modern life; one where the words such as “common good” or “justice” are so bent out of shape, perverted and misused, that people lose responsibility and accountability to the civilisation collectively.

For beings as feeble as ourselves, all we have is each other, and our fates are quite tightly linked as a civilisation. Hopefully some of you resonate with this observation – bring your god along if you need one. Of course, some of my Western readers may be recognising my philosophy of this shared future for mankind as Beijing propaganda. You’d be right, but to those of you I say, I occasionally fret upon the fact we need to carry you along for this journey too.

May truth and justice prevail, and may humanity stay prosperous among the stars. I do not see a way how, but that’s what I suppose my whole life ahead will be about.