December 2022

Time Flies As Time Flows

Arthur Danin Adler | Scene4 Magazine | www.scene4.com

Arthur Danin Adler

I know that some readers are disturbed by my repetitive gloomy portrayals of the longevity of this planet as we now know it. One wrote to me and said: "Why all the naysaying  and doomsday predictions? We need hope and a positive view of the future?" She was specifically referring to my assessment that we probably won't make it too long past 2030 before this planet implodes.

I still believe that, especially with unanimous scientific news and the news leaking out of the Ukraine War and the Middle East that climate change is accelerating faster than earlier predicted, and technology has now progressed to miniature nuclear reactors and their offspring… miniature nuclear devices that are more powerful than the blockbusters that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

If that disturbs you, it grieves me.

I've expressed that grief before.

Here it is again.

There Is Still Time

Those stinging words are the final chilling image of Stanley Kramer's On the Beach.

Released in 1959 in the hot ice of the Cold War, if not the first, it is one of the first apocalyptic, dystopian films created for the Hollywood screen. Based on Nevil Shute's novel, On the Beach, it was made without the cooperation of the U.S. government and set in the future of 1964 (as were Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove and Sidney Lumet's Fail-Safe). From the mind and the fingers of Kramer, a maverick, an independent producer, the film is a powerful, disturbing entertainment that has remained so, down through the years.

Amidst the fear and ignorance of the death-wished irreversible use of nuclear weapons, Kramer succinctly juxtaposed people trying to understand, grasping for hope, fading away from hope, not understanding.

Now, amidst the proliferation of the death-wish from the U.S. and Europe, to South Asia, North Korea, the Middle East and the spectre of miniature, portable devices in the fists of jihadist crazies and their home-grown copycats, understanding and hope are fading into a mirage. It is a dark dream that is permeating, leaking through into conscious reality.

How long will it take for you and me and our brothers and sisters to accept what is no longer a dream? And when we do, what will we do? Create a vaccine to deny the effects of all-consuming radiation? Not in this century. Call Pandora to pack it back into her box and shut the lid? She's no longer on the planet. Launch a traffic-stopping, all-world conference at the UN and demand that all things nuclear be forever destroyed? Dream on my sibling dreamers, dream on.

What was once a terrible possibility is now a probability, inevitable. It's going to happen. As we foreplay with our smartphones, and make-believe that gathering more stuff and goods will insulate us, that the 'goodness of the heart' is impervious to the 'badness of the gamma ray', the clock ticks, the stockpiles grow, the controls loosen, it's going to happen: life and all of its species are going to disappear from the planet Earth.

In what little time we have left, there are few choices to get the monkey of hope off our backs:

Stymie climate change and destroy all nuclear devices. Not tomorrow, today.

Or, dig deep into the surface of the planet, hollow out an appropriate
space, create a self-sustaining habitat, stock it with humans and other species, seal it off. A dull, depressing option but perhaps a survivable one.

Or, in case there are no other humans/humanoids in the extant universe (which I don't think is true), create a self-sustaining space vessel, stock it with life, and aim it to the nearest habitable earth-like planet.

Wishful thinking with hope no longer reigning supreme.

Standing on our evolutionary beach, we are a tiny, tender, primitive species that may be worth saving.

There may be still time brothers and sisters!


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Arthur Danin Adler is a playwright, writer and the founding Editor of Scene4. For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives.


©2022 Arthur Danín Adler
©2022 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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