World in Turmoil

In the wake of Hiroshima, Japan has long since served as a warning reminder for the madness of atomic bombs and will now probably serve as a warning reminder for the madness of nuclear reactors. Six days after the Earth and the sea rose up in rebellion, three reactor blocks in Fukushima have exploded, and a fourth is already burning – all of which are out of control. Precisely the situation that, according to experts and other (ir)responsible authorities, is entirely impossible. 

The radiation in the control rooms is so high that most of the personnel have had to be withdrawn from duty. The go-getters - the men of action - are leaving the reactors, the Japanese and possibly the world to their fate.

Five days after the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami, Fukushima has put an end to the illusion of safe nuclear power plants, probably even for those advocates of nuclear power who seem to have slept their way through Chernobyl as also seems to have been the case for many of the Christian Democrats of this world. If something like this is possible in Japan, one of the most highly-developed industrial countries, then it is possible everywhere! 

Ultimately, everything is failing in Fukushima due to the failure of the power supply. As far as power failures are concerned, European nuclear power plants are by no means better secured. For 6 days, we have witnessed the uncontrollability and unmanageability of the situation in a country like Japan; just what would something like this look like in the third world countries that we have so generously sold nuclear installations to? 

For its part, the Japanese government responded with little more than the standard reassurances typical of governments. Initially, Prime Minister Kan said there was no danger, an hour later a state of nuclear emergency was declared, and soon blow by blow, the evacuation radius was rapidly expanded. Now all wait helplessly and Kan has complained publicly about the policy of misinformation used by the operating company of the plant. 

The reaction of the nuclear-friendly German parties - the CDU and FDP - has been just as shattering. Obviously, they still have not fully grasped the situation, even though the pictures of uncontrollability and helplessness are plain for everyone to see. The nuclear-friendly Chancellor wants to suspend the running time extensions that she recently drew out of her hat totally unnecessarily, at least until the security situation has been clarified - and probably not entirely uncoincidentally - until the next state elections are over. According to a TV poll, most Germans certainly seem to believe the latter.

So now safety is supposed to have top priority? What then, for God's sake, was the case up until now? Rarely has a politician admitted the bitter truth so openly and unintentionally.

Anyone who after these six days has yet to grasp that nuclear technology is uncontrollable probably will never manage to get it. Such a person can really only be pitied. The situation is somewhat more tragic, however, if such a person happens to the head of government of a large country.

The moratorium – in other words, the suspension of the running time extensions for three months – is something that even CDU voters can easily see through as one of the most embarrassing political chess moves carried out by a(n) (ir)responsible government solely for the purpose of staying in power.

What should we make of it when the CDU state premier for Baden-Württemberg Mr Mappus – a man who was previously a glowing supporter of nuclear power, who not long ago advocated significantly longer running time extensions than those already decided on and who even bought an age-old nuclear reactor with taxpayers’ money (thus making him owner, operator and inspector all in one) – suddenly suggests a re-evaluation of the issue two weeks before his expected (and well-deserved) election debacle after having apparently re-discovered the issue of the safety of the people.

What are we to think of parties who just yesterday were threatening that a rapid withdrawal from nuclear energy would mean all the lights would go out, but now – for obviously electorally-motivated reasons – all of a sudden can do without 8 nuclear reactors, albeit only for 3 months. After that, it seems the interests of the (ir)responsible leaders of industry will once again be put ahead of the overall safety of the general public.

If in the coming 3 months, the lights remain on, which seems likely, why should they then go out after that? Perhaps the lights will finally go on for the general population who’ve obviously been taken for a ride. A moratorium for the (ir)responsible leaders instead would be the order of the day. When it comes to electricity, Germany has long since become the world champion in exporting. The reactors that have now been temporarily shut down account for just over 7% of overall electricity production, which is not even the portion that is exported.

At the very least, the Germans will soon be able to use the election to teach the (ir)responsible leaders a lesson by relieving them of the responsibility that they are obviously not capable of sustaining anyway, given that they have not been able to provide any sustainable answers. But even that will still not yet be enough.

Hardly less embarrassing were the statements by experts from the nuclear industry. One is reminded of the following remark by Peter Ustinov: "The last voice we will hear before the world explodes will be that of an expert saying ‘This is technically impossible.’” The head of the German Atomic Energy Agency is already refusing to directly answer the questions of reporters in TV interviews and instead, as though chanting a mantra, simply repeats what everyone already knows, emphasizing the fact that no one made any mistakes – it just happened to be the case that the Japanese reactors were only secured up to level 8, and unfortunately, a level 9 situation occurred in this instance. In our neck of the woods, there are reactors which have been on the grid for over 40 years and which nowadays no longer even meet the safety requirements for Germany. The industry experts cannot be trusted, and noted professors should also be regarded with caution. The path to atomic bombs and nuclear power plants is paved with Nobel prizes!

A fundamental question that we should be asking is: How is it possible that we’ve banked on a form of technology that not a single insurer world-wide is willing to offer risk coverage for. Why do we accept this? Especially if we take into account that we are the people who insist on insuring even the smallest motor scooter?

How can it be that, even though we still have no acceptable final disposal site for nuclear waste, we just continue on as before? Are politicians like the nuclear-friendly German Chancellor and her coalition partner Westerwelle simply willing to accept waste sites such as Chernobyl, Fukushima or XYZ.

Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that they did previously outline their plans for us and the world - and still got elected anyway. And they are also letting us know again this time as well: there will be a moratorium for three months, and then –  after the state elections – we’ll see what happens then ...

The Swiss had only just recently decided in a majority vote to expand a nuclear power plant near their capital city - Bern. Should this be seen as a sign of courage or simply a lack of imagination? Probably the latter, and in that respect, we should actually be grateful to the journalists for the constantly repeated images on television, which help to remedy this lack of imagination. What would be the point otherwise of constantly broadcasting the same horrific scenes and of constantly letting the same nuclear power plant explode and start burning over and over again and again for everyone to see.

And it does appear to be having an effect: in Switzerland, the operating company responsible for the construction of the new nuclear power station in Bern - the Swiss Federal Office of Energy – is now reviewing the complete withdrawal from nuclear power within a few months. The Swiss have a direct democracy, and since the politicians know this, they are probably already anticipating the change in public opinion. Our politicians on the other hand, can feel quite safe when it comes to public opinion, as has been shown by the CSU-FDP government, which simply pushed through its nuclear policy agenda against the will of the majority.

The nuclear power plants in Fukushima are failing due to the lack of electricity that they were originally designed to eliminate. In Japan, the lights are really going out, even though these plants, if one is to believe the experts and politicians, were actually designed to prevent precisely that.

What interpretation remains if we examine things more deeply?

The feminine elements of Earth and Water are in turmoil and are rising up in rebellion; Mother Earth is quaking with wrath and withdrawing all safety and security. Water, as the element of the soul, is running wild and storming through the countryside, sweeping everything in its path into death and ruin. Pluto, the principle of change in Capricorn, is showing us our limits (Saturn), our hubris and our powerlessness. Neptune-Poseidon, the god of the sea and the quaking of the Earth, is responsible for the tsunami – significantly a Japanese word meaning "harbour wave", i.e. the wave that threatens our homeland, our harbour. Nowadays, we do not voluntarily offer any “sacrifice" to Mother Earth or the sea; on the contrary, we squeeze every last bit or drop that we can get out of them, and so they claim their sacrifices in this way instead.

On the other hand, as is the case in any catastrophe, this could become a turning point, which is precisely what the original Greek word actually means. Sent by Fate for our salvation, in order to help us recognise our greed and our delusions of grandeur so that we may be cured of these and heal in the sense of becoming whole. (Latin: salus = health, safety, well-being). With regard to the concept of resonance, many people may find themselves thinking of the deceitful Japanese policy of killing whales "for scientific purposes" or the Bay of Taichi that every year is stained red by the blood of countless dolphins due to the rough and reckless fishing methods of Japanese fishing fleets, as well as a great number of similar deeds that we have probably also committed .... In this horrific way, the sea has managed to take a breather from the Japanese; perhaps and it can only be sincerely hoped, they and we ourselves will use this break for a change of thinking.

In view of the current, highly-threatening nuclear situation, one must be careful, as a long-time opponent of nuclear power, not to become cynical: all of this could even turn out quite well for us in Europe. We could use this situation, which will damage us far less, to finally once and for all get rid of nuclear reactors, along with the (ir)responsible leaders who have always advocated them and who even now do not want to definitively let go of them.

For the world economy, the misery in Japan could even present far greater opportunities than many a war; the reconstruction of Japan could - if it is at all possible – end up being a considerable stimulus for economic growth. German carmakers certainly will not be greatly saddened if the Japanese are forced to take a longer break.

Naturally, this is a macabre view, whereas the real opportunity at the moment would be a general change of thinking. It is not only the female elements that are acting in a crazy way; all across the world, we have maltreated and tortured the Earth and the seas in a crazy and irresponsible way. It is no wonder they have turned against us. There is currently so much in our world that is running contrary to the female pole. Finally grasping this fact is perhaps our last chance in many respects. At the moment, many things are on the move: worldwide, the citizens of many nations are trying to get rid of their autocratic potentates; quite recently, the despots in Bahrain, with the help of occupying troops from Saudi Arabia and other friendly dictatorships in the Gulf region, took advantage of the golden opportunity that the moment offered to bludgeon the rebellious majority of the population into submission. Overshadowed by the Japanese tragedy, the extent to which we have left the Libyans in the lurch also hasn’t really attracted much attention – could this be because their dictator still has his hand on the oil pump? There are already some countries that would like to help them, but Merkel’s Westerwelle, who not so long ago was cuddling up ever-so photogenically to the Egyptians, didn’t want to agree to a no-fly zone over Libya. Nevertheless, holding back in this way will do little to change the upcoming major clean-up. There is simply so much material.

However, it is not only in the nuclear power plants that so much is going haywire; our medical system is not faring much better. The conditions in our general hospitals also urgently require a safety review; in all of our industrialised countries, the doctor errors and the side effects of pharmaceutical medication have long since become the third most common cause of death? Do we really want and need that?

The W.H.O considered the health risk on Day 4 of the Japanese catastrophe to be minimal. Today, on Day 6, it firmly believes that a world-wide radiation disaster can be entirely ruled out. This statement alone makes me suspect that this danger exists. After all, these are the same guys who managed to stir up the bird and swine flu panic in the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. (Ir)responsible people are sitting in top positions and thus spreading irresponsibility. After so many blunders, it could well be a good idea to withdraw their authority, too.

In Austria, following the publication of a study that suggested that just 5 years of regular mobile phone use was enough to double the rate of brain cancer, the Medical Council called for a dramatic increase in the number of neurosurgeons to cope with all the impending brain tumors. Surely, other reactions would also have been possible?

Should we really just continue on with genetic engineering? Can we actually afford to eradicate so many species of plants and animals in favour of genetically-manipulated monoculture plants and animals that only serve one purpose - to increase the profits of a few?

Is it really so harmless to simply let all the bees die?

Do we really need to torture millions of animals until they are ready for slaughter under unspeakably awful conditions in animal factories in order to then ingest not only their tortured flesh but also their fear and anguish?

Can we really justify being so laid-back in our handling of the climate? Are the islands that we’re allowing to sink into the Pacific perhaps heralding the sinking of entire cultures? What will remain of the Japanese tradition if the country becomes uninhabitable? What will remain of the small islands that we have already been sacrificing without really realizing it?

What are these various signs telling us; where is the Japan within us? The whole of the modern world is abusing the sea and its inhabitants to an indescribable extent, as well as also abusing other people if we take modern-day human trafficking into account. Slavery has rarely been such an overriding factor as it is today...

Is it not the case that we are all living according to the motto of "after us, the deluge"? When has a generation in the past ever been so guilty of leaving their children such a mortgage to deal with in the future?

Due to our archetypally-male, performance-driven style of doing things, our workplaces are making us sicker and sicker; at the same time, the world's climate is becoming crazier and crazier and the Earth more and more uninhabitable ...

In the wake of Chernobyl and Fukushima, do we still need a third death zone? Do we still need politicians who are prepared to accept permanent waste disposal sites of this sort for the sake of short-term benefits?

On the other hand, can we really complain about such deluges and the rising up of the Earth? Shouldn’t we perhaps choose instead to start making it unnecessary for the female pole that we have been trampling underfoot to continue to rise up against us?

But will this disaster be enough to convince the Chinese and French to abandon their nuclear policy? They have banked on it so strongly and geared everything towards it.

Let's ask the question again, but this time the other way around: What else can Mother Earth and the sea come up with to bring us to our senses?

In actual fact, the male elements could soon end up turning against us. The largely-abandoned nuclear reactors in Fukushima could as part of their meltdown process become an open atomic fire. What then?

Back when Chernobyl happened, Gorbachev turned thousands of soldiers into involuntary heroes for the Soviet Union by letting them "burn out" in the nuclear fire as they built the protective mantle. Is it likely that in democratic Japan there will be soldiers who are willing to let themselves be exposed to such brutal radiation to secure the safety of their country and the world –a kind of modern-day Kamikaze so to speak? In our part of the world, who among us would do such a thing? Who would sacrifice themselves to build a sarcophagus for nuclear power plants that have spiralled out of control, thereby knowingly sacrificing his life in the process? The firefighters in Germany who were interviewed have already turned down the idea; Germany’s national soldiers will also turn it down. The idea should in fact be turned down and we should now also turn down the idea of nuclear power plants and their political protagonists. In the final analysis, it is a form of technology that actually requires dictators who are able to sacrifice human lives

In this unfortunately-no-longer-unthinkable case, it would simply be a question of time before the Air element would become the enemy, transforming Tokyo into a ghost town and Japan into a dead island. Following this, the Chinese and Russians would most probably also be affected by the constant nuclear winds and clouds .... And the world would slowly but surely become contaminated by nuclear radiation. This ending has now found its way out of Hollywood film studios in a horrific way thanks to (ir)responsible politicians throughout the world and their unwitting voters.

So what are we still waiting for? We could now start understanding the laws of life on a grand scale, as well as taking the rules of the game to heart; we could confront our shadow aspects - and each and every one of us could both individually and communally direct our spiritual and intellectual energy towards genuine solutions.

It is the people, the general public, who are now required. In this respect, Austria could serve as a role model. Many years ago, its population forced their (ir)responsible politicians to abandon the nuclear power plant Zwentendorf against their declared will, as well as enforcing a ban on the use of nuclear power that was written into the Constitution – regardless of the costs. The Chancellor had even tried using blackmail to save his nuclear power plant by threatening to resign. However, the people were not willing to let themselves be blackmailed; they were fiercely determined and have never regretted it. Austrian politicians have to this day not even managed to provide a relevant subsidy for photovoltaic systems. Thus far, it has been the citizens themselves who always have been way ahead in these matters, as is becoming more and more apparent in Germany, where the nuclear-friendly Chancellor is currently governing a population in which the absolute majority is against nuclear power. It is high time to use this greater awareness about the issue of responsibility as a chance to get rid of the (ir)responsible leaders, especially since this is so easy to do by using the ballot paper to make them take note. It is also high time to send a clear signal for a reconciliation with Mother Earth, Mother Nature, the sea and the female pole. And that could start with many small actions.

If we just switched off all stand-by devices, we could do without two entire nuclear power plants in Germany alone.

We could also switch to clean, responsible electricity instead of letting the nuclear power producers EON, RWE and Co. muddle their way through any longer.

And above all, electricity could be saved in numerous different ways.

There should be more or less unrestricted investment in renewable energy. For cleaning and laundry detergents, oil-free products could be chosen instead. Particularly advanced thinkers could support local bio-organic products. Quality could replace quantity as a general rule. Unwanted magazines and catalogues can simply be cancelled rather than being thrown away. Consistently separating one’s rubbish also saves energy. We also do not always need to have the latest mobile phone, right? ... I do not use one at all ... We could go shopping more often and buy less, rather than buying in large quantities, which simply increases the build-up of rubbish

Overall, spiritual aspects could help us to move forward. Instead of trying to pin the misery on the politicians - we could ask ourselves where there are aspects of Westerwelle within ourselves: perhaps in the sense that he is happy to turn up to bask in other people’s glory when there are easy successes, but in the case of really important issues, he is prepared to leave people who are begging for help in the lurch. In what ways do we have elements of the Chancellor in us, who places buying time over making decisions and concentrates on covering up instead of clearing up and governing. Is there also part of us that refuses to be taught a lesson even in the face of a very clear situation?

We could profit greatly through paying attention even in the small, seemingly insignificant things in everyday life. Zen as part of the art of everyday living.

Feeling gratitude for the wonderful gift of life on our Earth and the asking oneself the question: In what areas of my life can I easily do without a lot simply by being aware and highly conscious.

We could also allow our eyes to be opened once again for the miracle of Creation. Slowing down the pace of life can be helpful on many levels. Ideally, what is essential should be distinguished from what is non-essential. Simpy Being instead of Having.

Instead of thinking: in the grand scheme things, it is but a drop in the ocean, keep in mind that constant dripping wears away stone! We cannot change the world if we do not change ourselves.

Your Ruediger Dahlke

Literature: Die Schicksalsgesetze (The Laws of Fate) Das Schattenprinzip (The Shadow Principle) Woran krankt die Welt (What is Making our World Sick) (all published by Goldmann)

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