Hiroshima, 2022: Humanity’s Capacity for Rendering Nothingness

We have been meditating on some of the many meanings of Nothingness.  Today, August 6, 2022, is the 77th anniversary of the nothingness rendered by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.  A stark reminder of human’s capacity to participate in, provoke and even effect nothingness of the most stark kind.

Aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, August 6, 1945, with writing of pilot Paul Tibbets. Wikimedia Commons.

After such events, we are eager to hear the words, ‘never again, never again.’  We want to believe that we can learn from our worst instincts and worst trials. 

Of course Hiroshima was only part of the utter destruction waged in WWII on countries in Europe, Asia and around the world, a destruction being revisited in our own day, though on a limited scale so far, in Ukraine.  

A déjà vu is unfolding and suffering is being rendered there and far beyond the borders of Ukraine to countries in Africa and beyond who are feeling the real effects of famine; and many countries in Europe bracing and sacrificing for the real effects of loss of oil and gas supplies come the cold winter.

As a cargo ship carrying Ukrainian grain sets sail from Odesa for the first time since Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian farmers navigate the ongoing assault, lost sales, and crippling inflation. PBS NewsHour

To deliver nothingness as was done to Hiroshima, to render a city into a no-city in an instant–that is a new level of human capacity for rendering nothingness onto others. 

Carl Jung put it this way: 

Humanity is involved in a new responsibility.  He can no longer wriggle out of it on the plea of his littleness and nothingness, for the dark God has slipped the atom bomb and chemical weapons into his hands and given him the power to empty out the apocalyptic vials of wrath on his fellow creatures. Since he has been granted an almost godlike power, he can no longer remain blind and unconscious.  He must know something of God’s nature and of metaphysical processes if he is to understand himself…and the divine. 

A parallel to Hiroshima, what we might call the Hiroshima of the 21st century, is our dark capacity for making climate change happen–climate change is a kind of atomic bomb that is circumventing the globe from the rainforests of Brazil to the cities of Europe this summer.  From the glaciers of Antarctica to the ice packs in Greenland, from the mountain tops of the Himalayas to those of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, from the wildfires in New Mexico and California to the flooded communities of Kentucky. 

Climate change and warming seas threaten the Thwaites Glacier in Western Antarctica, one of the largest glaciers on the continent. Overcast

Thomas Berry used to say that the nuclear bomb has already gone off—that is to say the chemicals that humans have been pouring into Mother Earth without proper testing and that have so much to do with rising rates of cancer and other diseases. 

Climate Change is another of the apocalyptic vials of wrath humans drop on their fellow creatures.

When will we ever learn?

See Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, p. 138. 

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Pyrocumulus cloud over the firestorm that followed the dropping of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Is humanity moving beyond what Jung calls our “blindness and unconsciousness”?  Are we coming to know “something of God’s nature and metaphysical processes” and understanding ourselves more fully?  Is it happening rapidly enough?

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

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15 thoughts on “Hiroshima, 2022: Humanity’s Capacity for Rendering Nothingness”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    ATTENTION: After a planning meeting today among the team that produce the Daily Meditations; including Matthew Fox, it was decided to limit comments to just “180 words.” The team feels that the comments have become more than comments, and many more like mini-essays. So, the new guidelines for the comments will be limited to just 180 words (your laptop or device can probably do a word count for you). If it exceeds 180 words it will be removed from the comment section. You will however be able to resubmit your comment after you pare it down. Also, your comments must be limited to responding to the “Queries for Contemplation” for the day. I hope this will not discourage you from writing in. We want your comments and feedback–just shorter and more focused on the questions for the day. Matthew will be making some changes himself, and we’re in the prosses of reassessing where we are after nearly three years. Remember the team works 365 days a year to bring this to you… Oh, and this is about the length your comments should be!

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    May our Lights from the same Light that gave Vladimir his first breathe, nudge his consciousness into ending the Ukrainian war and join with all nations with nuclear weapons stockpiled, to act Now upon the words spoken in the Nuclear Proliferation treaties. We may pray that our Lighted collected synchronized consciousness in our thoughts and words become whatever guided actions we can take now as we are filled with the forgiveness from our Creator that forgives us. May our tears shed for all the victims put out the fires of all war.

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    Robert Oppenheimer, the Father of the Atomic bomb said it best. In witnessing the detonation of the first atomic bomb in the Los Alamos desert in 1945, he quoted the Hindu scripture, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Literally translated from Sanskrit, “destroyer of worlds” means “world-destroying time.” The Hindu God is one of creation and dissolution, and so the Sanskrit implies that no matter what man does, everything is in the hands of the divine. The argument of Gita is that death is an illusion, we’re not born and don’t die: there’s only one consciousness and the whole of creation is a wonderful play of creation and dissolution, darkness and light, with each (be it warrior or priest) having his place in the choreography. It seems that we’re in the world-destroying time, Christianity’s perilous “last days.” Life, in the spiritual sense, is too important to leave in the hands of flawed humanity, which can only escape the creation/dissolution cycle beyond this world. Not a bad perspective.

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    We can only hope that a critical mass of humanity is moving beyond “our blindness and unconsciousness” with the grace of the Divine Feminine Spirit of Love~Wisdom~Creativity~Compassion… in our inner and outer lives with one another and Sacred Mother Earth, our spiritual multidimensions (including our ancestors, spirit guides, and angels), and our multiverse Cosmos… Our eternal souls are still evolving on this earthly dimension of our spiritual journeys with-in the Loving Diverse Oneness of our co-Creation~Evolution… our Beautiful Beloved Cosmic Christ Consciousness….

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    In answer to Matthew’s questions today:
    Jim Garrison’s depth charge book THE DARKNESS OF GOD: THEOLOGY AFTER HIROSHIMA was published in 1983. Garrison brought forward the vision of Carl Jung on the subject Matthew raises on today’s anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945. Garrison’s warning was that “we must internalize theologically both the terror and the salvation of the traditional Judaeo-Christian concept of apocalypse as something that will not be done to us by divine fiat alone, but as something that might well be done by us through our own decision, God working divine wrath through our arrogance.” How much have we learned in the 30 years since Garrison’s book was published to much acclaim???

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    Thank you for stating it like it is, Matthew. I would add that even worse, humans have the ability to delude themselves that they are doing this for good purpose and think of themselves as some heroic saviour. Saying things directly and plainly is refreshing and powerful.

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    It does not appear that we are moving beyond our own myopic vision and flawed and selfish consciousness. There are a host of prophets and seers like Matthew who are working to help us to understand God and ourselves, and I am so very grateful for them. Will it be enough? I do not know. T.S. Eliot’s, “This is the way the world ends…..not with a bang but a whimper.” comes to mind. As Thomas Berry points out, we have already poisoned our earth, and there is really no place that is safe from pollution–including the pollution of spirit that has allowed greed to rule.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Gwen, If Oppenheimer: “In witnessing the detonation of the first atomic bomb in the Los Alamos desert in 1945, quoted the Hindu scripture, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” What a difference it was Paul Tibbets was ‘inspired’ to name the atomic bomb after his own mother, Enola Gay! An insult not an honor!

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          For the record, and I don’t think it affects the discussion, but Enola Gay was the plane. The bomb was called “Little Boy,” in contrast to “Fat Man,” the larger bomb dropped on Nagasaki. There’s a fascinating and thought-provoking novel called Fat Man and Little Boy, by Mike Meginnis, where the two bombs, in human form after the bombings, come to the realization of what they did. It struck me a month or two ago, that many of us who realized during the Vietnam war how fruitless and evil all war is, have been rooting for Ukraine like the war there is a sporting event. It’s demoralizing.

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