I’m not here to save humanity despite what many will come to believe. I work in research. My research may end the War but it’s not going to save anyone. If people could see half of what I know they wouldn’t want my proposal. Of course humanity has never been known for the long-term rational choice, only short-term mediocre solutions. I’m sure you’re asking why I continue with my work if such catastrophe could result – will result. As a scientist it’s not my position to determine what’s ethical only what’s possible; but more so, I am driven to develop the weapon before our enemy. If they were to gain this power – it would be used in unthinkable ways. So I will not falter. I will write my letters and guide the project from afar. I do all this despite knowing that this weapon will surely kill hundreds of thousands of civilians; men, women and children will suffer, but it will effectively end the War.  The end of the War… it’s what we all want. Indeed, that’s what we told ourselves.

Now who’s to say how the idea came to me. If I ponder long enough the mathematical equation presents itself like the cadence of a poem. In fact, I have always believed that ‘pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas’. The numbers guide me to my answers and offer me glimpses of a world that is beyond beautiful – it is intricate and miraculous. My theories, although vested in the quest to understand God’s greatest creations (energy, mass and speed of light) was the first paved stone on the path to hell. I learned what the enemy intended to do with my own damned work and I was livid. Although I pride myself on being a pacifist, their actions were so repellant that I could not allow them to come to the weapon before us. I did not consider that we would then be just as guilty of atrocity, and please believe me – despite what you may think – my intentions were good or at the very least not evil.

The phone call came on a beautiful summer day in August. I will never forget that call. The information that I provided to our allies ultimately became a weapon of mass destruction and resulted in the first of two devastating attacks upon our enemy. My scientific endeavour was considered a success and although my allies assumed I would rejoice, I mourned. This was not the reason I had come to love science and mathematics. I had never intended on being the principal reason why suffering should occur in this world.

I knew my weapon was death personified but I could not predict its results. People were vaporized or left horribly disfigured, others suffered for years with a deterioration of their internal organs. Some suffered with loss of hair, anemia, and the destruction of their white blood cells. There was bleeding and diarrhea, sterility and multiple types of cancer. I had helped to create a weapon so brutally fantastic that nearly every horrific way to die was encompassed within its awards. The government assured me that never again would the weapon be used. This did not assuage the guilt I carried, if anything, it made me fear the future like never before.

Only a year after my weapon was unleashed on the world the allies formed a committee that would oversee my creation as way to create energy for the industrialized nations. I was relieved to learn that the thing that had destroyed so many lives was to make amends and enrich the lives of millions more; but I have concerns and I wish to caution the world as to the detrimental effects of this creation should there be an accident…

This is not a power we should wield easily, nor should we come to believe in our own infallibility. This is a science that has not been thoroughly tested and we cannot possibly know the devastation it may reap.  I speak up now because I know from experience that ‘the world is a dangerous place. Not because of those who do terrible things. But because of those who let them do it’.

I let them do this. I let them corrupt my research and I encouraged us to walk the path of the unknown so as to prevent this technology from falling into the wrong hands. Of course the wrong hands would turn out to be ours. ‘The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking…the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker’.

For all that I have done, I am sorry.

Sincerely,

Albert Einstein.

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