Saturday, August 10, 2013

In a world war obsessed by 1A nations, soldiers and scientists, Henry Dawson dared to defend the worthiness of 4Fs... and 4F science

During WWII (1931-1946) a whole series of countries cum bullies - among the Allies as well as among the Axis - almost totally consistently choose to only attack those nations or peoples they judged weaker than themselves.

Britain, for example, shamefully refused to attack Germany with   its potentially much larger Commonwealth army manpower and felt the war could be won by invading weaker Italy instead.

It also choose to starved the prostrate peoples of occupied Europe by blockade , rather than attack Germany directly with all that  Commonwealth army manpower, in hopes this also would win the war, along with success in Italy.

Only twice, both times in December of 1941, did bullies deliberately choose to attack someone they believed was stronger than they were : when Japan and then Germany declared war on America , a nation with by far the biggest economy in the world and also by far the hardest country to invade.

In partial explanation of all this bully behavior, it was the Age of Modernity, when the majority of powerful opinion was firmly convinced that Evolution was unidirectional and always consolidating into fewer (and ever bigger) entities.

Fewer ever bigger animals and plants, fewer ever bigger buildings, ships and dams ,fewer ever bigger corporations and cities , fewer ever bigger nations and empires.

Ever bigger and bigger, ever better and better : so that the destruction and absorption of the smaller and the weaker was simply inevitable.

So what we might now regard - in post hegemonic times - as the shameful behavior of virtually all the nations and people of the world, two billion standing around as bystanders at a holocaust or a schoolyard bullying session, they then regarded as sad but inevitable, "letting Nature take its course."

Henry Dawson didn't agree and he put his strong disagreement into actions.

Dr (Martin) Henry Dawson never said why he did what he did, why he went so far out on a limb to do what he did or why he willingly gave up his life to aid his efforts.

But concrete deeds walk, while abstract talk ... just talks.

By his deeds, we can see that Dawson clearly thought even the 4Fs of the 4Fs were worth saving at the height of Total War, particularly when his side was fighting, after all, opponents who thought they weren't worth saving.

By his deeds, we know he clearly thought tiny 4F science had its own virtues, even during a war when Science, like skyscrapers, was thought only to get better when it got bigger.

Seventy five years on, his solitary figure looks now like the sensible one, while his many  opponents - basically the vast majority of informed opinion - now look to be sadly hubris-ridden and totally lack in the imagination to see beyond the obvious.

Dawson didn't say 'small was beautiful' and 'big was bad', partly because he didn't say anything at all.

 But he definitely acted as if he had concluded that Evolution as progressing in all directions : as often decomposing into tiny viruses as it was consolidating into big dinosaurs.

This could be because any acute observer of Life on Earth, and Dawson was acutely open to everything, would be forced to conclude that reality had indeed given the planet a dynamic mix of stability niches (aiding the existence of large entities) and instability niches (aiding the existence of small entities).

So an eternal global commensality of big and little entities was inevitable.

If Dawson had lived and had been in good health he might have formally stated what he believed and the lessons we might learn from his successes.

But he didn't, so we must tease them out : from his deeds....

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