Tag Archives: self-destruction

Carl Sagan

It might be a familiar progression, transpiring on many worlds—a planet, newly formed, placidly revolves around its star; life slowly forms; a kaleidoscopic procession of creatures evolves; intelligence emerges which, at least up to a point, confers enormous survival value; and the technology is invented. It dawns on them that there are such things as laws of Nature, that these laws can be revealed by experiment, and that knowledge of these laws can be made both to save and to take lives, both on unprecedented scales. Science, they recognize, grants immense powers. In a flash, they create world-altering contrivances. Some planetary civilizations see their way through, place limits on what may and what must not be done, and safely pass through the time of perils. Others are not so lucky or so prudent, perish.

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, New York, 1994, pp. 305-306

Thomas Schelling & Morton Halperin

Conflict of interest is a social phenomenon unlikely to disappear, and potential recourse to violence and damage will always suggest itself if the conflict gets out of hand Man’s capability for self-destruction cannot be eradicated–he knows too much! Keeping that capability under control–providing incentives to minimize recourse to violence–is the eternal challenge.

Thomas Schelling & Morton Halperin, Strategy and Arms Control, Washington, 1985, p. 5