The problems of power

Aldous Huxley.jpg

Aldous Huxley: War shatters precarious crust of civilization, precipitates vast numbers of human beings into abyss of misery and frenzied diabolism

At the San Francisco Conference the only problems discussed were problems of power. The basic problem of mankind – the problem of getting enough to eat – was relegated to an obscure international committee on agriculture. And yet it is surely obvious that if genuine international agreement is ever to be reached and preserved, it must be an agreement with regard to problems which, first, are of vital interests to the masses of humanity and which, second, are capable of solution without resort to war or the threat of war.

The problems of power are primarily the concern of the ruling few, and the nature of power is essentially expansive, so that there is not the least prospect of power problems being solved when one expanding system collides with another expanding system, except by means of organized, scientific violence or war. But war on the modern scale shatters the thin, precarious crust of civilization and precipitates vast numbers of human beings into an abyss of misery and slow death, of moral apathy or positive and frenzied diabolism. If politicians were sincere in their loudly expressed desire for peace, they would do all they could to by-pass the absolutely insoluble problems of power by concentrating all their attention, during international conferences and diplomatic discussion, on the one great problem which every member of the human race is concerned to solve — the one great problem which not only does not require military violence for its solution, but which, for the world at large, is wholly insoluble so long as the old games of militarism and power politics continue to be played. The first item on the agenda of every meeting between the representatives of the various nations should be: How are all men women and children to get enough to eat?

Aldous Huxley
From Science, Liberty and Peace (1946)


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