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Slochower, H. (1984). 3. Hope—Beyond Hopelessness. Am. Imago, 41(3):237-243.

(1984). American Imago, 41(3):237-243

3. Hope—Beyond Hopelessness

Harry Slochower, Ph.D.

On his 90th birthday, Karl Mennninger wrote in his Bulletin (July, 1983) about “The Suicidal Intention of Nuclear Armament.” And he asked:

Should we let a few people destroy all of us and the whole world? They can. They intend to ‘if necessary’. Is world suicide necessary? (p. 325).

Dr. Menninger invokes the imagery of the lemmings compulsively drawn to drown in the ocean. We also have the phenomenon of whales beaching themselves on the ocean shores where they expire. Menninger then raises the question:

Can we psychiatrists, who have carefully studied suicide in the individual, do anything about world suicide that seems so imminent? (p.351).

In his richly-documented paper, Dr. Martin Wangh raises the same question. And both seem doubtful whether psychoanalysis can meet the unprecedented threat. Now, many of us share the feeling that life on this planet—as Karl Me-ninger puts it—is “a mysterious essence, too beautiful to be consumed …” (p.351). And, I want to suggest two avenues of possible Hope amidst our looming Hopelessness: One is an Attitude—a Comic Stance—; the other, more pressing, is Action.—But, first a word about the unique nature of the new “adversary.”

The Nuclear Bomb approximates an archaic Moloch.

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