| model of the genocidal self through collective patterns of
nuclearism (embrace of the weapons out of attraction to their
ultimate power and to their high technology), and visions of idealistic
purification and ultimate sacrifice extending even to the lure of Armageddon.
Must all this happen? Some of it has already, but the rest need not.
Any witness tells of the danger of some form of repetition of what one has
observed, in order to encourage steps to prevent that repetition. One listens
to what Loren Eiseley called the dark murmur that rises from the abyss
beneath us, and that draws us with uncanny fascination,³ and
realizes that the murmur is our own, a whisper of danger that must be heard
before it becomes a hopeless genocidal scream.
So much stays with me
from this work, but I want to end with two images that continue to reverberate
The first is from Auschwitz. I went to the camp a few years
ago and was shown the many exhibits maintained there, exhibits that leave
nothing to be added concerning the evil human beings can do to other human
beings. But the one that left the most profound impression on me was the
simplest of all: a room full of shoes, mostly baby shoes.
image is from a talk with a Jewish doctor who survived Auschwitz incarceration,
told me his story, and became my friend. He described how, at a certain point,
he and a few other prisoner doctors were overwhelmed with moribund patients,
with suffering people clamoring for relief They did what they could, dispensed
the few aspirin they had, but made a point in the process of offering a few
words of reassurance and hope He found almost to his surprise that his words
had effect, that in that situation it really helped. He concluded that by
maintaining ones determination to try to heal even under the most extreme
conditions, I was impressed with how much one could do.