A Planetary Survival Challenge to Identify Alternative World Futures

Abstract: This article calls for applying human ingenuity to our planet’s core existential problems: nuclear war; injustice; economic inequality and ecological catastrophe. This means, as a necessary first step, the planned design of alternative world futures. There could be no more conceivably rational intellectual task than to undertake such an indispensable first step. In the 21st century, prima facie, human survival is more problematic than ever before. Poet e.e. cummings notwithstanding, there is no “hell of a good universe next door” to which we might somehow retreat. Without more self-conscious reconsiderations of world political and legal organization, we humans, irrespective of nationality, will face a dire collective future.  Needed reconsiderations therefore should be imaginative and systematic,[1] taking account of potentially synergistic interactions[2] between seemingly separate existential threats.

“We doctors know a hopeless case, if…. listen: There’s a hell of a good universe next door; let’s go.” -e.e. cummings

The avant-garde poet’s counsel drips in irony. Humankind cannot simply pull up stakes and move to a “good universe.” In the fashion of everything else that may seem promising to our imperiled species, any such universe would need to represent the product of informed imagination and calculable (science-based) design processes. Significantly, apart from a tiny handful of academic programs over the past sixty years (all of them minimized or neglected), there has been no tangible progress on “world order reform.”

What does this really mean? In essence, we humans have given up any once promising ideas of global community or “oneness,” and consistently followed shallow national leaderships to war, injustice, plutocracy and ecological catastrophe. To improve upon this lack of progress, core initiatives should be undertaken in universities. Oddly enough, these institutions of “higher learning” continue to make great strides in preparing students for the various professions,[3] but make no decipherable moves to save the planet from its billions of inattentive residents.  What we continue to witness in this “genre” are educational institutions that seek to impress their constituents with differential opportunities for personal wealth and privilege, but do little to safeguard the self-dissembling human habitat from nuclear war, overpopulation, climate catastrophe or genocide.

In such incomparably serious global matters, history deserves pride of place. In the late 1960s, a small number of American universities set out to create “World Order Studies Programs.” One especially visible and promising program began at the Yale Law School and subsequently migrated to Princeton University’s Department of Politics. Sharing some of their best scholars, Princeton and Yale encouraged capable graduate students to render designs for “alternative world futures.”[4] At that time, the animating global problems were generally summed up as war, population pressure, resource shortages and environmental decay.

It is now urgent, once again, that scholars revive and enhance this vital subject of disciplined academic inquiry. The first step in any such return should be a heightened awareness of global fragility and a corresponding sentiment to meet existential challenges with meaningful intellectual efforts. Though there has never been a more urgent moment for the design of alternative world futures, there has also never been so little conspicuous interest in university-centered initiatives.[5] To be sure, the world will never be rescued by the dreary, banal and visceral reflexes of partisan political discourse.

Still, there will be multiple problems. The universities are less than optimally prepared for world order design initiatives. At present, America’s universities are overwhelmingly focused upon a rampant (one might even say “rabid”) vocationalism. The reductio ad absurdum of this understandable but shortsighted focus is a headlong rush to assess higher education according to “payback” prospects.

 It’s a vulgar and dangerously limited standard. No amount of academic distinction will serve any student’s personal expectations if the wider world order continues to undermine global safety and national justice.

What is the foreseeable “lay of the land” in these matters? Now, America’s universities are being measured almost exclusively by the cost-effectiveness of student educational expense. As for the once-vaunted “Western Canon” of “liberal arts” – literature, art. Music, philosophy – it has all but disappeared from the “modernized” university curriculum.[6] Where it does still exist on paper, the Western Canon’s overall valuation is almost always devalued as a secondary or gratuitous benefit.

               The are many pertinent details to these matters, overlapping and daunting. For one, any coherent template for world order reform must take multiple considerations of biology into account. This means a view dictated not only by the usual issues of war, peace, justice and ecology, but also by still-latent disease pandemics that could threaten entire human civilizations and populations. Though, as a species, we have made obvious and commendable progress in science and technology, we still remain enormously fragile and existentially vulnerable to another “plague.”. Over time, especially if a more refractory virus spread should happen to “synergize”[7] with catastrophic acts of war or terror (especially nuclear and/or biological war), whole societies could be erased.

               What next? This is not merely a difficult question; it defines the single most bewildering and meaningful query for all planet earth. To begin, world leaders will finally need to plan rationally, systematically and self-consciously for nothing less consequential than global survival. But without antecedent design visions of dedicated academics, these leaders’ efforts will quickly come to naught. Plainly, there is precious little world order promise lying latent in Russia’s Vladimir Putin or his American “useful idiot” [8]Donald J. Trump.

                Ultimately, the intellectual task for global thinkers is straightforward. In essence, it must mean a willingness to realign traditionally narrow judgments of national self-interest with the wider interests of humankind in toto.[9] Although such a staggering requirement will first appear unrealistic, nothing could actually be less pragmatic for nation-states than choosing to remain on a geo-strategic collision course.[10]

               Left unchanged, or merely modified by token kinds of world order reform, global politics and economics will experience ever more frequent and irremediable breakdowns. To argue otherwise, or even more foolhardy, to call for further hardening of world “tribal conflict” or belligerent nationalism, would reject everything we have learned about civilization, science and species survival.

               Fundamentally, it all boils down to this: Unless we finally take proper steps to implement an organic and cooperative planetary civilization – one based on the irremediably central truth of human “oneness” –  there will be no civilization at all.[11] To credibly reject this conclusion would require certain plausible expectations of an already-ongoing evolution toward worldwide peace and denuclearization. Right now, on its face, any such optimistic expectations would be unfounded.

               The imperative nature of this assessment is clarified by our species’ manifest advances in creating mega-weapons and related infrastructures.[12] Augmenting these fearful examples of “progress,” certain major states could become increasingly committed to deterrent strategies of nuclear war fighting, cyber-warfare and/or “internet mercenaries.” To a considerable extent, the steady spread of internet warfare surrogates is now being undertaken on behalf of grievously barbarous and authoritarian regimes.

               To survive, human “oneness” must rise above all other core assumptions. About an organic planetary civilization based om “oneness,” we may learn from ancient Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, “You are a citizen of the universe.” A broader idea of “oneness” followed the death of Alexander in 322 BCE, and with it came a coinciding doctrine of “universality” or interconnectedness.

                By the Middle Ages, this political and social doctrine had fused with the notion of a Respublica Christiana, a worldwide Christian commonwealth, and Thomas, John of Salisbury and Dante were looking upon Europe as a single and unified Christian community. Below the level of God and his heavenly host, all the realm of humanity was to be considered as one. This is because all the world had been created for the same overriding purpose; that is, to provide necessary background for the consummate drama of human salvation. Only in its relationship to the universe itself was the world considered as a part rather than a whole. Says Dante in De Monarchia: “The whole human race is a whole with reference to certain parts, and, with reference to another whole, it is a part. For it is a whole with reference to particular kingdoms and nations, as we have shown; and it is a part with reference to the whole universe, which is evident without argument.”

               Today the idea of human “oneness” can and should be justified/explained in more secular terms of understanding. We require “One World” based on something other than presumptions of belligerent nationalism and religious superiority. At its heart, any such presumption derives from an almost always-insistent human wish to acquire “power over death.” Though unrecognized, there is never any greater form of power in national or international politics than the presumed power of personal immortality.[13]

               What next?

               We humans are still at the beginning. Until now, in such utterly primal circles, we have consistently managed to miss what is most important. Nonetheless, this central truth remains to be more openly identified and continuously underscored: Always, it is upon an expressly overriding species solidarity that an improved world order must be constructed.

               There is more. This critical dimension of  human identity can be encountered in certain vital but generally-ignored literatures,  among such philosophic giants as Sören Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, Hermann Hesse, Carl Jung,  Jose Ortega y’ Gasset, Miguel de Unamuno and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.[14] Its persistent rejection in “real life,” even in the world’s allegedly great universities,[15] reflects an elemental threat to every single nation-state’s physical survival.

               Antecedent questions should now arise. Why have we made ourselves (humans are not merely passive victims in these matters) existentially vulnerable? The correct answer must reveal a continuous worldwide willingness to seek personal identity in variegated memberships. We humans ordinarily fear solitude or “aloneness” more than anything else on earth, sometimes even more than death.[16] Amid the palpably growing chaos that is already stampeding across whole continents, we still willingly abide a corrosive loyalty to dissembling claims of  “tribe.”

               Always, everywhere, individuals desperate “to belong” will more-or-less enthusiastically subordinate themselves to some all-consuming expectations of nation, class or faith. And more often than we might at first care to admit, such subordination carries with it an acceptance of “martyrdom.” Recalling the marooned English schoolboys in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, we may be reminded here that the veneer of human civilization is razor thin. Vastly impressive scientific and medical discoveries aside, whole swaths of humankind remain open to various forms of irrationality.[17]

               With such retrograde hopes, an entire species must remain in very grave peril. More precisely, in the end, such atavistic hopes lie at the heart of both war and terrorism.[18] The question then  arises: “Is this really the  best we can do?”

               By any reasonable definition, humans remain determinedly irrational as a species. Why? The best answer  lies in our shortsighted views  of power-politics or  political “realism.”[19] In the merciless light of history, these views appear strange or incomprehensible. Not until the twentieth century, after all, did international law[20] even bother to criminalize aggressive war.[21]

                There is more. Hope exists, we must assume, but now it must sing softly, with circumspection, inconspicuously, almost sotto voce.  Though counter-intuitive, the time for celebrating science, modernization and new information technologies per se is at least partially over.  To survive together on this imperiled planet, each of us must first sincerely seek to rediscover an individual life that is detached from any patterned obligations “to belong.” It is only after such liberating rediscovery that we could finally hope to reconstruct world order on a reasonable basis. Inter alia, this will have to be a foundation of willing global interdependence and recognizable human “oneness.”

                In his landmark work, The Decline of the West, first published during World War I, Oswald Spengler inquired: “Can a desperate faith in knowledge free us from the nightmare of the grand questions?”[22] This remains a profound and indispensable query. The necessary answer  would accept that the suffocating conflicts of life on earth can never be undone by improving global economies, building larger and larger missiles,[23] fashioning or abrogating international treaties, replacing one sordid regime with another or even by “spreading democracy.”

               Most importantly, we must eventually learn that this persistently tribal planet lacks a tolerable future not because we humans have been too slow to learn what has been taught, but because what has been taught has too often been beside the point. It won’t be enough to assure our survival if great majorities of people can somehow acquire shiny new “personal devices” or own cars that can drive themselves. These are false and lazy goals, mainly contrived objectives that inevitably miss the main point of any human future. That point is to remain alive, and to do so with dignity and obeisance to Reason.

               There is more. Traditional “remedies” will  be insufficient because the planet as a whole would still remain on its lethal trajectory of belligerent nationalism and tribal conflict.[24] To wit, reminds French Jesuit thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in The Phenomenon of Man: “The egocentric ideal of a future reserved for those who have managed to attain egoistically the extremity of `everyone for himself’ is false and against nature.”[25]

               But how to actually conceptualize alternative systems of world order that are based upon aptly cooperative visions? What are the recognizable “rules” for such conceptualizations? What kinds of thinking ought to be acknowledged and implemented?

               To answer the last question first, pertinent thinking here must be expressly dialectical.[26]This means, among other things, accepting that there can never be any conclusively final or permanent visions. World system change is continuous and dynamic; therefore, heuristic models must be temporary or transient. This is not a regrettable sign of inadequacy. It is only an acknowledgment that correct “therapies” should always follow correct “diagnoses.”

               There is more. World order change is inevitable and unstoppable, though the precise direction of such change is uncertain and potentially regressive. The scholars’ and policy makers’ task is not to seek unachievable transformations, but to enter into this persistently dynamic process with calculated deliberateness and intelligent design. In this connection, it will need to be understood there can be no objectively appropriate or optimal world order design visions, but that all such alternative visions should include enforceable international law.[27]


               A contemplated world system alternative could be deemed desirable only from the expressed standpoint of certain already-stated values. In principle, at least, one scholar’s utopia could be another’s dystopia. Even if everyone involved could initially agree on the representative values of an improved world order (e.g., peace; social justice; pandemic disease management; economic well-being; climate change control, etc.), there would still be widespread disagreement concerning the favored hierarchy or rank-ordering of these selected values.

               Generally, any such hierarchy must remain a subjective judgment. There can be no objective reasons to prefer any one specific value or configuration of values to any other. The only plausible exception to this judgment is the self-evidently primal value of physical survival.


               Once equipped with an explicit set of ranked world order values, scholars and policy-makers will need to link these values to specific factors expected to sustain or maximize them. These presumed linkages are known to science as hypotheses. In such tentative explanations, the values will serve as the “dependent variables” or subjects to be explained

               Despite points of inherent flexibility, science has well-founded rules. Hypotheses are essential to any science-based inquiry, including the design of alternative world orders. These “informed hunches” are necessary to guide the search for analytic order among so many overlapping and usually discrepant facts. Without suitable hypotheses, there could obtain no reliable ways of determining which discrete facts are relevant and which are irrelevant.


               Models of alternative world order must follow explicitly-statedhypotheses. These models are determined by these antecedent hypotheses. Indeed, analyst-constructed visions are offered for the sole purpose of examining pertinent hypotheses. Without them, there could be no satisfactory way of knowing if a particular hypothesis or set of hypotheses has any genuine analytic promise.

               Suitable hypotheses represent a core example of why the adequacy of any particular world order design process is necessarily contingent upon prior methodological or philosophy of science decisions.

               In the world order design process, models derive from hypotheses. They provide the analytic context within which any reasonable investigation must proceed. Exactly which heuristic models are actually under consideration should depend upon the already-selected hypothesis or hypotheses. This, in turn, could be more or less complex, depending upon the investigator’s own informed sense of what is most important.


               Once relevant models have been stipulated and investigated, scholars and policy makers will need to decide whether or not to recommend them. Always, this final critical decision must be informed by the twin criteria of desirability and feasibility. Before any alternative system of world order could ever be judged acceptable, it would first have to appear suitably attractive in terms of the selected values (“suitability” being a necessarily subjective judgment) and reasonably capable of actual implementation (“reasonably” being a similarly subjective determination).

               There is more. Feasibility issues are tied closely to desirability matters. They are interdependent or intersecting criteria of acceptability. Depending upon the extent of agreement on what might actually constitute a desirable world order alternative, the feasibility of a considered alternative could vary from one assessment to another. This is not to suggest, however, that widespread agreement would ipso facto signify feasibility. Any remaining differences concerning strategies of implementation could still render a particular transformational recommendation unattainable.

               The challenges of world order design are oddly inconspicuous; nonetheless, they are critically important.[28] Prima facie, this importance is so utterly overriding because if the challenges remain unmet, no other values could conceivably be satisfied. In essence, world order design is about enhancing theoretical understanding, not just formal compilations of disjointed facts and figures. For “designers,” theory is a “net.” Only those who dare to cast, can catch.[29]

               “Everyone knows,” says philosopher Karl Jaspers in Man in the Modern Age (1951), “that the world situation in which we live is not a final one.” But the nature and quality of the world situation’s next iteration will ultimately depend upon humankind’s conscious choices among alternative planetary futures. By definition, these more-or-less viable options will not be ones of virtual or augmented reality, but of a foreseeably grim global context.

To survive as a species, intellect must become our most fundamental “weapon.” At the outset, we should understand that there is no “good universe next door.” Whether we like it or not, our increasingly uncertain human future can be lived only on planet earth.[30] Hereis where we must make our final existential stand. We must make it now, without further delay and upon thoughtful intellectual foundations. The task cannot be completed by continuously propping up a long-failed system of power politics, an effort that would be analogous to resuscitating a corpse.  We can progress beyond Realpolitik, but only by fusion of imaginative vision with disciplined world order design.

“God loves from Whole to Part,” proclaims Alexander Pope, “but human soul must rise from Individual to the Whole.” In the end, any viable system of world order should acknowledge determinative connections between Individual and Whole. In candor, only by first grasping this critical nexus can scholars and policy-makers craft a durable path to species survival. More than anything else, such connections point unambiguously toward human “oneness” as the ultimate guarantor of human survival.

[1] Exactly fifty years ago, this author was already recommending such a focus in a 1973 article in Policy Sciences.  See Louis René Beres:  https://www.jstor.org/stable/4531547

[2] By definition, the “whole” of any such interactions would be greater than the sum of its “parts.”

[3] See   by this writer on Ortega y’ Gasset’s “barbarism of specialization,” Louis René Beres: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/09/13/american-democracy-and-the-barbarism-of-specialisation/

[4] Early books in this genre by this author were: Louis René Beres and Harry R. Targ, Reordering the Planet: Constructing Alternative World Futures (1974) and Louis René Beres and Harry R. Targ, Planning Alternative World Futures: Values, Methods and Models (1975). See also, by Professor Beres, Transforming World Politics: The National Roots of World Peace (1975) and Louis René Beres, Nuclear Strategy and World Order: The United States Imperative (New York, 1982, World Order Models Project), 52 pp.

[5] Whenever the new Muses present themselves,” warned 20th century Spanish existentialist philosopher, José Ortega y’ Gasset, “the masses bristle.” See Ortega y’ Gasset, The Dehumanization of Art (1925) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1948, 1968), p.7.

[6] See by this writer, Louis René Beres, at The Daily Princetonian: https://www.dailyprincetonian.com/article/2018/06/a-core-challenge-of-higher-education

[7] Certain synergies could shed light upon an entire world system’s state of disorder (a view that would reflect what the physicists call “entropic” conditions), and could be dependent upon each pertinent decision-maker’s own subjective metaphysics of time. For an early article by this author dealing with linkages obtaining between such a metaphysics and national decision-making, see: Louis René Beres, “Time, Consciousness and Decision-Making in Theories of International Relations,” The Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. VIII, No.3., Fall 1974, pp. 175-186.

[8] Though widely attributed to Vladimir Lenin, this phrase likely has much earlier propagandist origins.

[9] These interests must include the accelerating destruction of biodiversity on Planet Earth, a continuous natural climate catastrophe, one that naturalist David Attenborough suggests will likely end in another mass extinction. This means, inter alia, more-or-less predictable synergies between catastrophes of the natural world and catastrophes of specifically human misunderstanding. In synergistic interactions, by definition, cumulative harms (the “whole”) is necessarily greater than the sum of component harms (the “parts”).

[10] The reader may be usefully reminded here of Irish playwright Samuel Beckett’s illuminating observation in Endgame: “What is the good of passing from one untenable position to another, of seeking justification always on the same plane?”

[11] Earlier visions of world order reform were based more expressly on global structure; that is, replacing the balance of power or Westphalian anarchy with some form of world government.  In this connection, notes Sigmund Freud: “Wars will only be prevented with certainty if mankind unites in setting up a central authority to which the right of giving judgment upon all shall be handed over. There are clearly two separate requirements involved in this: the creation of a supreme agency and its endowment with the necessary power. One without the other would be useless.” (See: Sigmund Freud, Collected Papers, cited in Louis René Beres, The Management of World Power: A Theoretical Analysis, University of Denver, Monograph Series in World Affairs, Vol. 10 (1973-73), p, 27.) Albert Einstein held similar views. See, for example: Otto Nathan et al. eds., Einstein on Peace (New York: 1960).

[12]The Devil in George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman observes: “Man’s heart is in his weapons….in the arts of death he outdoes Nature herself.”

[13] See by this author, Louis René Beres, at Horasis (Zürich):  https://horasis.org/looking-beyond-shadows-death-time-and-immortality/

[14] The next generation of world order visionaries must also learn to build upon foundational insights of Francis Bacon, Galileo and Isaac Newton, and especially on the more recent summarizing observation of Lewis Mumford: “Civilization is the never ending process of creating one world and one humanity.”

[15] In part, at least, this is because the “business” of universities has become vocational or professional training, not traditional education in history, science, literature and the arts. Accordingly, by this author, see Louis René Beres (Princeton): https://www.dailyprincetonian.com/article/2018/06/a-core-challenge-of-higher-education

[16] See, by this author, at Horasis: Louis René Beres, https://horasis.org/an-ironic-juxtaposition-global-security-and-human-mortality/

[17] In studies of world politics, rationality and irrationality have now taken on very specific meanings. More precisely, an actor (state or sub-state) is presumed determinedly rational to the extent that its leadership always values national survival more highly than any other conceivable preference or combination of conceivable preferences. Conversely, an irrational actor might not always display such a determinable preference ordering.

[18] Under international law, terrorist movements are always Hostes humani generis, or “Common enemies of mankind.” See: Research in International Law: Draft Convention on Jurisdiction with Respect to Crime, 29 AM J. INT’L L. (Supp 1935) 435, 566 (quoting King V. Marsh (1615), 3 Bulstr. 27, 81 Eng. Rep 23 (1615) (“a pirate est Hostes humani generis”)).

[19]For the political philosophy origins of realism, see especially comment of Thrasymachus in Bk. 1, Sec. 338 of Plato, The Republic: “Right is the interest of the stronger.”

[20] Under international law, the idea of a universal obligation to global solidarity is contained, inter alia, within the core principle of jus cogens or peremptory norms. In the language of pertinent Article 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969: “A peremptory norm of general international law….is a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of States as a whole, as a norm from which no derogation is permitted, and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character.”

[21] For the crime of aggression under international law, see: Resolution on the Definition of Aggression, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Dec. 14, 1974. U.N.G.A. Res. 3314 (XXIX), 29 UN GAOR, Supp. (No. 31), 142, UN Doc A/9631 (1975) reprinted in 13 I.L.M., 710 (1974).

[22] Continues Spengler: “`I believe,'” is the great word against metaphysical fear, and at the same time it is an avowal of love.'” See: The Decline of the West, his Chapter on “Pythagoras, Mohammed, Cromwell.”

[23] For early accounts by this author of expected nuclear war effects, see: Louis René Beres, Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Louis René Beres, Mimicking Sisyphus: America’s Countervailing Nuclear Strategy (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1983); Louis René Beres, Reason and Realpolitik: U.S. Foreign Policy and World Order (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1984); and Louis René Beres, Security or Armageddon: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1986). Most recently, by Professor Beres, see: Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (New York, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016; 2nd ed. 2018). https://paw.princeton.edu/new-books/surviving-amid-chaos-israel%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy

[24] Regarding this trajectory, Niccolo Machiavelli combined Aristotle’s plan for a more scientific study of politics with various core assumptions about Realpolitik. His best known conclusion focuses on the eternally stark dilemma of practicing goodness in a world that is too often evil. “A man who wishes to make a profession of goodness in everything, must necessarily come to grief among so many who are not good.”  See: The Prince, Chapter XV. Although this argument is intuitively compelling, there must also be a corresponding willingness to disavow “naive realism,” and recognize that, in the longer term, the only outcome of “eye for an eye” conceptions in world politics will be universal “blindness.”

[25] In a similar vein, see Emmerich de Vattel, The Law of Nations (1758), “The first general law, which is to be found in the very end of the society of Nations, is that each Nation should contribute as far as it can to the happiness and advancement of other Nations.”

[26] Dialectical thinking originated in Fifth Century BCE Athens, as Zeno, author of the Paradoxes, had been acknowledged by Aristotle as its inventor. In the middle dialogues of Plato, dialectic emerges as the supreme form of philosophic/analytic method. The dialectician, says Plato, is the special one who knows how to ask and then answer vital questions. From the standpoint of a necessary refinement in world order conceptualizations, this knowledge should never be taken for granted.

[27] International law is ultimately deducible from Natural Law. According to Blackstone, each state and nation is always expected “to aid and enforce the law of nations, as part of the common law, by inflicting an adequate punishment upon offenses against that universal law….” See: 2 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 4, “Of Public Wrongs.” Lest anyone ask about the significance of Blackstone, one need only point out that Commentaries represent the original and core foundation of the laws of the United States.

[28] Such importance stems from the absence of any “magic bullet” or otherwise contrived remedies. In ancient Greece, the playwright Euripides sometimes concluded his plays with a deus ex machina, a “god out of the machine.” Appearing, literally, above the action, in a sort of theatrical crane, the relevant god was seemingly able to solve all sorts of dreadful complications arising from the action and thereby supply a more-or-less satisfactory ending.

[29] This convenient metaphor is generally attributed to Novalis, the late 18th-century German poet and scholar. See, for example, introductory citation by Karl R. Popper, in his The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959). Ironically, perhaps, Novalis’ fellow German poet, Goethe, had declared, in his early Faust fragment (Urfaust): “All theory, dear friend, is grey. But the golden tree of life is green.” (Grau, theurer Freund, ist alle Theorie, Und grűn des Lebens goldner Baum.)

[30]In principle, of course, future options for space travel and colonization could suggest otherwise, but surely not “in time.” Even if we were able to take seriously the idea of a “good universe next door,” it would likely not be long before colonizers from earth would extend historic human defilements to their new habitat.

Prof. Louis René Beres
Prof. Louis René Beres
LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue. His twelfth and most recent book is Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel's Nuclear Strategy (2016) (2nd ed., 2018) https://paw.princeton.edu/new-books/surviving-amid-chaos-israel%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy Some of his principal strategic writings have appeared in Harvard National Security Journal (Harvard Law School); International Security (Harvard University); Yale Global Online (Yale University); Oxford University Press (Oxford University); Oxford Yearbook of International Law (Oxford University Press); Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College (Pentagon); Special Warfare (Pentagon); Modern War Institute (Pentagon); The War Room (Pentagon); World Politics (Princeton); INSS (The Institute for National Security Studies)(Tel Aviv); Israel Defense (Tel Aviv); BESA Perspectives (Israel); International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; The Atlantic; The New York Times and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.