Right now , this minute, there may be a team of people sitting at the R&D offices of a famous Asian mobile phone manufacturer, planning features for a device I will be using a year from today. Right now, this minute, there may be engineers hard at work in a lab somewhere in Europe, inventing the next generation of an Electric Vehicle. And also, right now, there may be a group of scientists collaborating internationally in an effort to end Ebola. At the same token, right this minute, somewhere around the world, a weapons’ manufacturer is developing the next generation of WMD. Hackers are trying to break into cyber vaults, inflicting heavy damage. And a young radical, who considers himself a revolutionist and a tool in the hands of Allah, and whom we consider a terrorist, is devising a bombs that will kill as many infidels as possible.
Many years ago, in my teenage days, I was a guide at a youth movement in Israel. I was about sixteen and the group under my supervision was probably about twelves or thirteen years of age. Among the exercises I was to give them, there was one I particularly remember. It was a game. My troopers were divided into two groups. The goal was for each team to design a method by which large quantities of blood would be channeled out of a large city, drained into the sea. Whoever came with the best solution in the fastest amount of time, would win.
Excited, the kids went to work, putting forward various ideas — from trucks carrying tanks of blood, to chiseling channels for the purpose of transporting rivers of blood onto the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the solutions were quite impressive but ultimately no one won. No one won because no one asked the one critical question this game was designed to invoke: why? Why would a country need a method for draining so much blood? This, mind you, were exercises created by a generation of Holocaust survivors; people who, firsthand experienced what it meant to live through the ingenuity of men who forgot, or didn’t care for asking the most elementary questions.
Unfortunately that long ago trial I conducted as a youth trainer, keeps surfing back in my mind decades later. With all the creative forces we humans poses, powers that seem to only grow with the support of advanced technology, the fundamental questions remain as obscured as they were in those dark days of that not too long ago past.
Learned from: a reflection on the current state of affairs.
p.s. this is, of course, not about the policy makers; not about the Hitlers, Putins and Khomeinis of the world. It is about the people, us, the enablers.