Anders on Hiroshima, and survival

An excerpt from German critical theorist Günther Anders’ “One World or No World,” written in 1970 as a contribution to Hiroshima In Memoriam and Today: A testament of peace for the world.1

“When we speak of the new epoch in which we live since the catastrophe of Hiroshima, we do not pronounce only a historical statement, but a moral statement as well.  As of August 6, 1945, mankind [sic] has shown that it is able to destroy itself, and an entirely new moral situation has arisen.  It is a situation in which each and every people in the world bears responsibility for the continuous existence of itself and of the other peoples.  Through the common danger something has been attained which, unfortunately, love has never succeeded in attaining:  for the first time the world has actually become one world.  The feeling that we are living in one world and that everybody is responsible for the lives of the others, this feeling must prevail today.  If it does not prevail every day, then weand I mean by ‘we’ mankind as a wholethen we can abandon all hope.  Then the new epoch will be the last epoch.  For after it there will be no new epoch but sheer nothingness, a rotating globe without any life on it.”

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1Ed. Hitoshi Takayama (Asheville, North Carolina: Biltmore Press, 1971).

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