Dr. Wolman is a board-certified, Harvard educated psychiatrist practicing in Northern California. She has been studying collective consciousness about nuclear weapons for 35 years.
"To be or not to be, that is the question". (Shakespeare, Hamlet)
The question was posed to humanity in August 1945, when the A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With those bombs, our species gained the ability to destroy our civilizations, and perhaps all life on earth, by means of a nuclear holocaust.
I was 4 years old at the time. I sensed that a dark shadow had been cast over the world, and nothing would ever be the same.
Humanity was given a warning: evolve into a peaceful, cooperative species, or continue to make war, and extinguish life. It's time for world peace. The planet is small, better start loving your neighbors.
For a brief time, it seemed that the message was being heeded.
Three months after the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the UN was established "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" (UN Charter preamble)
Across the street from United Nations headquarters in New York City, inscribed on a concrete wall, is a Bible prophecy:
Isaiah 2:4: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
When I was 9, the Korean War broke out, and development started on the hydrogen bomb. We had air raid drills in school, and were told to hide under our wooden desks with our hands clasped behind our necks. My childish mind realized there was no protection against nuclear weapons. How could we go out for recess and play as if everything was fine?
I decided to spend my life working for world peace, so that my work would have a chance to bear fruit, and my descendants would have a future.
During the Cuban missile crisis. we all held our breath for a couple of days, unsure of whether there would be a tomorrow. The Cold War was heating up. I was 21 and doubted I'd see 30.
To be or not to be, that is the question.
As a physician, I'm dedicated to preserving life, (which is why I'm writing this paper). In my thirties, I realized we had not blown ourselves to kingdom come, so I decided to use my newly acquired psychiatric skills to address the universal deep-seated fear of nuclear holocaust. People have to get past despair in order to mobilize for peace.
The nuclear arms race of the Cold War, still raging in the 70's, put us (and still puts us), on a suicidal course. With three other therapists, I studied consciousness about nuclear weapons, by running 20 small groups. These groups varied in makeup, from school children, to cocktail partiers, to engineers, to peace activists. We asked them to discuss the role of nuclear weapons in their lives.