A Lake without Fish


Dietrich Fischer – TRANSCEND Media Service

Someone flew in a seaplane over a lake and saw two people fishing down there.

But from above they also saw that there were no fish in the lake. They touched down on the water, moved closer to the boat and shouted over to them,

“Hey, there are no fish in this lake!”

The two in the boat were not pleased. They had nothing else to do that Sunday afternoon and continued fishing, only with more frustration and less enjoyment.

If instead the pilot on the plane had told them, “Hey, there are no fish here, but I just flew over a lake a mile downstream that is full of fish,” the fishermen perhaps would have welcomed the information.

Similarly, if we simply tell people, “nuclear weapons are dangerous,” without offering them alternative explanations or security policies, they will not give them up. Criticism alone is not enough.

We must offer better alternatives and examples of how conflicts have been transformed successfully without the violence of nuclear or any other kind of weapons.

— William Sloane Coffin


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. Fischer was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University 1986-88, 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 23 Sep 2019.

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