by Audrey Borowski
As the commander of the weather plane that supported the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, Claude Eatherly did not feel any particular animosity towards the Japanese, involved as he was in committing arguably one of the most barbaric acts of the Second World War with complete indifference. Eatherly carried out his mission, oblivious to its ultimate finality. How had it come to that? How was it possible that, as the philosopher Günther Anders later wrote, ‘the amount of wickedness required to accomplish the ultimate crime, a disproportionate crime, was equal to zero’?
The work of Anders (1902-92), a German philosopher and essayist of Jewish descent, bears testimony to some of the 20th century’s major disasters and their effect on the intellectual landscape of the time. Anders set out to theorise those disasters and the impact of technology on modernity and the human condition, in particular technology’s gradual domination over all aspects of human activity – the commodification, dehumanisation and even derealisation of the world that had resulted from that domination. … (continue at Aeon)