OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Is it Possible to Collectively 'Forget' Technology For The Good of Mankind?

Nuclear weapon technology, even in it's early stages, killed thousands and thousands of people. As well as profoundly polluting the environment. The technology has since been developed to be even more massively deadly, has been proliferated, stolen and sold to any nation interested in tipping the balance of international power in their favor. Today nuclear weapons technology is in the hands of many nations, continually threatening to destabilize international relations and tip us into a devastatingly destructive war. Could it be possible for mankind to put an end to the development and use of this gravely dangerous technology once and for all?

Photo of Demian Repucci
2 2

Written by

Mankind, over the course of thousands of years of the development of civilization, has forgotten many things. Of course most probably by accident or by simply not thinking to record something. But could it be possible for us all to make a conscious choice to collectively 'forget' something?
Nuclear weapons technology is a prime candidate for just such a forgetfulness. Nuclear weapons have been developed to the point at which they are so destructive, so deadly and so numerous that it is in humanity's best self-preservative interest to never ever use them. Ever.
But the situation has gotten out of control. Nuclear weapons technology used to be the problem of a handful of nations. But this knowledge has since been learned by others, stolen from stable governments, sold to dictatorships, antagonists and unstable governments and now has proliferated to the point that so many nations have access to nuclear weapons that any one of a number of international tensions could escalate to a devastating nuclear war with globally destructive ramifications.
Can there ever be a way out of this dangerous entanglement? Might there be a way to convince everyone that it is the right and noble thing to do to dismantle our nuclear arsenals, destroy our purification capabilities, delete the files and shred the plans that we have used to get into this mess? One could argue that the world would be a much safer, less tense and antagonistic place without nuclear weapons. And just think of the money that could be saved! Imagine how many children could be fed, clothed and educated with all of the billions and billions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons! Schools could be built. Wells could be dug. Why we continue to freely spend money on weapons while turning a blind eye to the poor and needy is mind boggling.
Another thing to forget might be the use of landmines. But, in painful irony, instead of forgetting to produce and use landmines, we have planted them and then forgotten where they are. Terrible. And shameful that the U.S. has not been a leader in signing the Ottawa Treaty and getting rid of landmines.
But regardless of the destructive technology, the question remains. Is it possible to make a decision to forget something for the good of civilization? This type of 'forgetting' may be an act of will. It may be an act of distraction. Or it may be impossible. But I think it is an idea worth pondering. There are some things that mankind would just be better off without. Nuclear weapons I think would be one of those things.

2 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Demian Repucci

Luke, thanks for your comment! I totally agree, we must not 'forget' in the literal sense of the word. Too often humanity forgets, or doesn't learn from, the lessons of history. And we end up making the same self-destructive mistakes over and over again. I think your idea to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an interesting one. What if an internationally organized day of memorial were established so that all nations paused to remember the victims? Would such a meditation help us all to think twice before we built more missiles? Or voted to fund more 'defense' spending? Would keeping the terrible destruction of those atomic bombs fresh in our collective consciousness give world leaders pause enough to think twice before they sought to build more weapons or made strategic political moves to purposefully escalate tensions?
Yes, you are right, 'forgetting' nuclear weapons must be a willful and continual 'forgetting'. We have got to make the choice to move beyond grasping the capability of such destruction. But can we make that choice together?
Thanks again Luke!

View all comments