I have assumed throughout this book that psychological occurrences in Hiroshima have important bearing upon all of human experience. I have suggested in a variety of ways that we are all survivors of Hiroshima and, in our imaginations, of future nuclear holocaust. The link between Hiroshima and ourselves is not simply metaphorical, but has specific psychological components which can be explored in relationship to the general psychology of the survivor.
We may define the survivor as one who has come into contact with death in some bodily or psychic fashion and has himself remained alive. From this broad perspective we may compare patterns we have observed in Hiroshima to those of other "extreme" historical experiences, particularly the Nazi persecutions, but also the plagues of the Middle Ages; to relevant Japanese cultural practice pertaining to death and survival; and to responses to "ordinary" forms of disaster, as well as to individual survival in association with "the dying patient." I have found it convenient to pursue these comparisons under five general themes--the death imprint, death guilt, psychic numbing, nurturance and contagion, and formulation. As we examine these categories we find ourselves dealing with universal psychological tendencies; the survivor becomes Everyman. But the holocausts of the twentieth century have thrust the survivor ethos into special prominence, and imposed upon us all a series of immersions into death which mark our existence.