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Slochower, H. (1982). The Bomb and Terrorism: Their Linkage. Am. Imago, 39(3):269-272.

(1982). American Imago, 39(3):269-272

The Bomb and Terrorism: Their Linkage

Harry Slochower

A century ago, Karl Marx declared that a spectre was haunting Europe's capitalist order: Communism. Today, a spectre is haunting the entire World. It emanates from an impersonal demon: The Nuclear Bomb.

In some circles, there is talk about a “First Strike” and “limited nuclear war.”. Underlying such pre-psychotic strategy, there operates an abysmal anxiety, approximating what Karen Homey called “Urangst,” fed by a boundless insecurity. Paradoxically, this insecurity is a by-product of the very “security” assured us by progress of our technology which has produced The Bomb poised to destroy all of mankind.

Another paradox: Man has acquired the mechanical knowledge of how to make the Bomb. This knowledge is irreversible. Even if all existing nuclear bombs and stockpiles were to be destroyed, knowledge of manufacturing the Bomb would remain. Given this knowledge, all it takes is for one man, one bitter individual who has become “mad at the world,” to act out the agony of his frustrations by throwing the bomb—in the market-place or temple, from land, sea or air and “the final solution” of the human and animal world will be reached. The genie produced by our knowledge can never be exorcized or expelled, can never be forced back into the bottle.

Freud anticipated this development. In Civilization and its Discontents. (1919-1920, p.

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