Communion Of Dreams

What it was like.

My wife and I decided to revisit the Cosmos series recently. It holds up surprisingly well for a pop-science program from 30 years ago.

Tonight’s episode was the finale. And I was struck by what it was like back then, to contemplate the possibility of nuclear war. I think a lot of people today who weren’t aware during that time have difficulty in understanding just how palpable that threat was. Here’s a good bit from the episode that explains it better than I could:

Is it any wonder that a post-apocalyptic world was the setting for so much science fiction generated during that time? Any wonder at all?

We may or may not have threaded the needle and survived the time of peak technological vulnerability. Not only are there other threats out there to our long term survival, but even the threat of nuclear war is not passed – not hardly. I still fully expect that there will be another war in which nuclear weapons will be a factor, and such use could easily spin out of control and engulf the entire planet.

But the hair trigger we lived with for some 30 years is no more. Things certainly are not perfect now, but they *are* better. We did indeed decide to survive, at least through that time. And that was an important step.

Jim Downey

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