Bisons and Bears


Prof. Dietrich Fischer – TRANSCEND Media Service

Nuclear weapons have changed the nature of war. The main victims are innocent civilians, and there are now enough nuclear weapons in the world to end human life itself. We must not cling to past ways of thinking and acting, or we risk human extinction. The following example illustrates this:

The bisons that roamed the prairies of North America became nearly extinct, because they did not adjust their behavior to changed conditions. In the past, when the main danger they faced were predators such as bears, the best protection they had against danger was for them to form a circle, with the strong bulls on the outside and the females and young protected inside. But when hunters with guns arrived, forming a circle was the worst thing they could do. Instead of dispersing and running away, they presented a fixed, easy target and were massacred in large numbers.

Similarly, in the past, seeking military superiority may have made us safe, but today it could lead to mutual destruction. We must realize that with nuclear weapons we cannot continue to fight wars as in the past, because some day the loser will have nuclear weapons and not hesitate to use them. If we wish to survive, we must abolish war, and abolish nuclear weapons, with strict and universal international verification.


Dietrich Fischer (1941-2015) from Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. 1986-88 he was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University. He has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities and been a consultant to the United Nations. He was co-founder, with Johan Galtung, of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment in 1993.

Excerpted from Dietrich Fischer’s Stories to Inspire You – TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Feb 2018.

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