Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Killing Spree Hypothesis: Kyrgyzstan, Bloody Sunday, Derrick Bird - and Trident

Here is an hypothesis that links the events in Kyrgyzstan, the Bloody Sunday killings, and Derrick Bird the Cumbria killer and Trident.

Some human beings,  in certain circumstances, once they have killed, will tend to proceed to repeat the act of killing. Once the human being steps out of the house of civilisation, once the sanction against killing has been bypassed, we go into a state of mind that seeks to repeat the experience. In extreme situations, it is common for people to go into a derealised state - a mode of consciousness where emotion is suspended. Most people who have been in a car accident go into this state. There is a feeling of calm in this state, and of detachment. The state of mind is well known. As a psychiatrist, I should know about the kinds of behaviour in this state, but I have to confess that I do not.

Some readers may find this hypothesis to be a mere truism. Others may well challenge me to produce evidence. And so I should. Manana. Research to be done. Someone has probably written a book about it already.

But if the hypothesis is anywhere near correct, it has a huge implication for nuclear weapons policy.  I have shown here that our Government's insistence on trying to cling on to its weapons of mass destruction, because there is no guarantee that they will not be used. The Killing Spree Hypothesis predicts that it is improbable that a limited nuclear exchange would stay limited. There is a high probability that if one goes up, they will all go up.

Marx once said that he would not want to belong to any club that would accept him as a member. The Club of nuclear weapons states - US, Russia, China, UK, France, Israel, Pakistan, India - all think they are sufficiently rational to sustain general nuclear deterrence without escalating to nuclear war. Just like junkies, who reckon they can handle it. They declare Iran and North Korea to be too irrational to be allowed to join the club. But in fact, they are all irrational humans, capable of kicking over the traces of civilisation. There is no binary rational / irrational categorisation of human individuals or of states of mind: rationality and irrational states of mind overlap, coexist, are arranged on a continuum.

Any regime that is sufficiently irrational  to think that it can create security on the basis of being able to threaten total insecurity is clearly unfit to be in possession of nuclear weapons.

The UK budget deficit, and the military review clearly provides an excellent time to look at the £70-100 billion cost of Trident. Now is the time for the British Government to provide firm international leadership, and call a conference of all nuclear weapons states with the intention of creating a nuclear free world.

It is a brilliant opportunity.

Except that Dr Liam Fox has taken Trident out of the defence review.

And we are just sitting hear, reading and writing, pushing ideas around. We should be out there demonstrating. I should be out there demonstrating. But I don't. I just sit here writing.

Maybe I'm derealised too. Maybe we all are, to a greater or lesser extent. In the words of the song,

We sleep not part but all our lives,
Times past are just a moving dream
Made by a self that is not I 
but one I was.

I wrote that.

I wrote this too:


If we could see that endless point in time
when we shall know for certain that
our journey here has reached its final end

and in some way   reel in the flow of life
and from that soaring pinnacle
look back upon this state

when we  can live and  love
and walk and breathe and
sing and talk and eat and act

and then come back
remembering what we'd seen
no longer lost inside the crashing now

and now of world wave history
smashed in a broken compound eye
a shattered image of a breaking time

then with that timeless vision
we'd live each golden heartbeat
with such a fierce intensity

to drink the music of the  sky
study the winding ivy on the branch
feel the excitement of the water in the stream

dance to the rhythms of the wave
and learn to live in such a way
that joy is everywhere.

We covered a lot of ground here, but the underlying theme is that we need to not kill each other, because once the killing starts, it is hard to stop it. Nuclear deterrence is a kind of suspended killing spree, and the certainty of "nuclear deterrence" turning into Nuclear Terror is a value that appoaches unity with each year that passes. We have to get rid of nuclear weapons (and militarism generally) and we can get rid of nuclear weapons, because we - the nuclear nations - simply cannot afford the bloody things.

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