Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Peace, Disarmament and Technology

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Peace, Disarmament and Technology

Article excerpt

2. Peace, disarmament and technology

We consider peace to be an active form of widsom and negotiation, and it is precisely for this reason that it is essential for us to recognize that, in our day and age, peace cannot be merely an "institutionalized truce". Since 1945, each truce, each agreement, each convention has simply heralded a new impetus to the arms race and accelerated development of the military technology of the atomic era.

Although it is not the only cause, this has been due in large part to a fundamental reality--the division of the world into opposing blocs. In military and economic terms, these blocs have been at the root of the division of the world; furthermore, the political conception of blocs, with their ideological stratification, has hampered the evolution of philosophical theory as well as any progress in the parallel yet independent process of philosophical reflection.

One practical consequence of this has been the "colonization" of science, due largely to the ideology of power and to the ethically anomalous divorce of science itself from its own historical effects. In practice this has led to a methodological sectarianism according to which science must become the servant of military rather than human priorities. This moral aberration, the evidence of which we encounter daily, characterizes the science of our time. It presupposes that alignment into blocs is a natural state of affairs; it also explains the moral reaction of those scientists who have broken with the established order and with the military/industrial complex and whose stance allows us to hope that there is a future for mankind.

It is clear, therefore, that for this century peace is going to be bound up with a new formulation of the objectives of development. There will be no peace worthy of the name so long as we fail to take advantage of each period of ideological truce that occurs to alter the existing status quo of today's world--in other words, so long as we do not adopt the principle of a genuine liquidation of the dominant structurlly-enshrined violence.

To speak of peace and development as one and the same phenomenon does not mean merely to speak in abstract terms of a purely moral proposition or to enter an ideological labyrinth from which there is no exit. On the contrary, it is to pose the crucial question of the closing years of the twentieth century. Peace today is not simply the opposite of war; it is the political and philosophical context for the practical achievement of a new form of development giving effect to the suspension of conflicts and which will give rise to a new form of society based on negotiation, self-examination and liberty. …

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