By Michael Perlman
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Additional resources for Imaginal memory and the place of Hiroshima
Nuclear defense, together with other varieties of high technology (including space) weapons, becomes a way of defending against the imagery of annihilation first given concrete form at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In an appendix, Lifton stresses that There is . . the deification of not just nuclear weapons but of science and scientific technology in general. It is this broader technicism and Page 14 scientism that provides the matrix for nuclearism. Within this scientific abberation, "knowing"the essence of both science and the artsbecomes only solving puzzles or manipulating the environment.
Here we seek to remember nuclear reality as we remember ways in which we may be "seized" by myth. The exhortation to "remember Hiroshima" is clearly prudential in character; memory and prudence are traditionally imagined in close association. Prudence in this book is understood in its common, pragmatically cautionary and moral sense. But there is, as our citing of myth suggests, another significance of prudence. It is also a religious activityreligion in the sense of relegere, meaning to pay heed to the divine or most powerful factors of existence.
The world, in its beauty, violence, pain and passion, must be taken literally and metaphorically. The nuclear dilemma is real on both levels. The experience of the psychological involves a movement between, and a simultaneous presence of, the literal and metaphoric. For example, I apply the "rules" of the art of memory quitebut not onlyliterally with regard to nuclear images. The literal placing of such images in memory is at the same time a metaphor for our acknowledgement of the place these images claim in our psychic lives.