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Connexions Other Voices October 13, 2021: Light and darkness

The theme of the October 13, 2021 issue of Other Voices is Light and Darkness.

From the introduction:

The featured book is this issue of Other Voices is Diana Johnstone's memoir Circle in the Darkness. The title is inspired by Albert Einstein's observation that "as our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it."

As Einstein, and Johnstone, remind us, the more we learn, the more we realize how little we know. Each question we answer opens the door to more questions, because there are always more questions than answers. We are called upon to attempt to answer at least a few of the questions that seem important to us, but we do well to keep in mind that our answers are tentative and incomplete, always subject to revision in the light of further investigation. It can be difficult to remain critical, and self-critical, but self-righteousness and absolute certainty, no matter how emotionally satisfying they may be, only do harm, to ourselves, and to those we interact with.

This issue of Other Voices offers some fragments of knowledge and insight, and it also raises questions.

David Rovics observes that, in his view, people on the left and on the right have a lot in common, such as opposition to the elites that are destroying the lives of so many around the world. Why, he asks, do they respond to the same problems in such different ways? Why do they direct so much of their anger against each other, rather than against those who rule?

Cedric Johnson raises a similar concern: blackwashing, that is, the corporate embrace of anti-racist rhetoric, which works to present those who produce and benefit from gross inequalities of wealth and power as allies. If we fall for this, says Johnson, we will inevitably be fighting each other for crumbs, while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful.

Amory B. Lovins offers a fact-filled critique of the idea that 'clean' nuclear power can be a climate "solution." He shows that nuclear power is much less efficient than solar and wind power, and that investing in it inevitably comes at the expense of more investment in better solutions. In any case, the best solution, by far, as he points out, is using less energy, not producing more. He also makes the important point that new nuclear plants would not come into service until the late 2030s - far too late to make the changes that we have to make now.

In The Day the World Ended, Caitlin Johnstone asks us to think about the unthinkable: nuclear war.

In the aftermath, she writes, there will be "No one left to recognize the mistake, to grow as a result of that recognition, and to rise above it. No one left to realize how staggeringly insane it was to flirt with the end of the world for the sake of power, how arrogant it was to think that we could remain in perfect control of all those weapons for decades on end without something going wrong amid our reckless games of nuclear chicken."

So do it now: "Pursue a life of excellence and live each moment like it could be your last, because of course it could. And above all make sure you do everything in your power to raise awareness and oppose the insanity of the situation we now find ourselves in."

The October 13, 2021 issue of Other Voices is online at

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