- Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell was a prolific writer. He is one of the greatest masters of English Prose. His uniqueness of thought and clarity of expression are evident in the present selection. In this lesson, "Man's Peril", he warns nations and the general public to set aside their conflicting ideologies and save the beautiful earth from total destruction.
Bertrand Russell appeals to all concerned as a human being, a member of the species man, whose continued existence is in doubt. A war with the hydrogen bombs put an end to the human race.
In his view, it seems that the 'general public' have not realised the real impact of a war with atomic bombs. A hydrogen bomb is 25,000 times as powerful as that which destroyed Hiroshima. So the stark, dreadful and inescapable problem before us is whether we shall put an end to the human race or if we shall give up wars. He explains in great detail the role of ordinary people in the peace process and requests the ‘general public’ to be more aware and assertive so that the fate of the nations need not be decided by despotic leaders alone.
On both sides of the Iron Curtain there are political obstacles to emphasize the bad effects of war. Each side of the Iron Curtain resembles duelists. Though they are afraid of their lives, it is cowardice on their part drawing out any compromise formulae. Here, neutrals play an important role to prevent the outbreak of a world war.
According to geological time, man has so far existed only for a very short period. But he has been doing well for the last 6,000 years. If we remember humanity and forget everything else, the way lies to us to a new paradise. Otherwise, we have to face universal death. Hence, Russell asserts that the role of the ordinary people in the peace process and the only 'wisdom of the ordinary citizen' can ensure progress and prosperity and pave the way for 'Universal Peace'. So we can save our planet from “Universal Death.”
· Prolific : producing a great number or amount of something
· Evident : easily seen or understood; obvious
· Ideology: a theory, or set of beliefs or principles
· Assertive: describes someone who behaves confidently
· despot : a person, especially a ruler, who has unlimited power over other people, and often uses it unfairly and cruelly
· assert : to say that something is certainly true
· pave the way : it makes the other thing possible