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Doomsday Clock: The Final Frontier

January 28th, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, is the biggest doomsday threat the draining reservoir of hope for the disenfranchised?

As if we needed one more thing to worry about, the Doomsday Clock has now been set at 90 seconds to midnight – the closest it has ever been to the theoretical end of days in its 76 year history.

A bit of background in case you have not heard of this concept and your heart is racing at the implication. The Doomsday Clock is a scientific concept which attempts to gauge how close humanity is to destroying the world.

It was developed by The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – a group of atomic scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project which was the code name for the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. The clock is reset annually by experts on the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board and its Board of Sponsors.

The Doomsday Clock was originally conceived to measure nuclear threats. Along the way, the decision was made to factor climate change and other existential threats into the equation. The farthest away it has been from theoretical midnight was 17 minutes back in 1991. So we have in principle been teetering on the edge for a generation.

The decision to move the clock forward 10 seconds this year was largely motivated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation. But the continuing threats of the climate crisis, and the breakdown of norms and institutions implemented in response to perceived threats liked COVID-19, were also factors.

Hence, the Doomsday Clock is a metaphor intended to spark conversation about critical scientific and associated issues. In that regard, it is a very important tool to draw our attention to the state of affairs in society and how close we are to the no turning back threshold.

Aside from the threat of catastrophic events like nuclear war and the cumulative effects of things like climate change, I believe the Doomsday Clock has also become a measure of the state of discontent and loss of hope in our society.

The ranks of the disenfranchised – those who feel there is no way forward for them and that lashing out violently is their only means of expression – is growing rapidly and incrementally. The evening newscasts report instances of these acts virtually every day.

In the final analysis, I believe it is this vulnerable and increasingly lost segment of society that is the final frontier. Turning the Doomsday Clock back hinges on addressing their urgent needs and restoring hope to their lives. For their acts of desperation may be what ultimately pushes the minute hand to metaphorical midnight.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com .

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