The Door to Death

originalJust how much social responsibility is enough? Maybe train ourselves to close the tap while brushing the teeth?  Or maybe a hybrid car will do? Or maybe even eco-terrorism can be justified from a certain point of view? How far into the future do we think when we talk about environment?

I watched a documentary on the nuclear waste disposal about an year ago and could not just put it out of my mind since then. It’s called “Into Eternity. A Film for the Future”, by Michael Madsen.  Apparently a spent nuclear fuel repository is being constructed in a place called Onkalo, in Finland. Once finished in 2020 all the nuclear waste from all over the world for another 100 years (up to 2120) will be deposited there and sealed for 100 000 years. This is how long the waist remains toxic.

The questions pressed in the film remained mainly unanswered.  And here’s why: Mankind is 50 000 years old, Egyptian Pyramids are 5 thousand years old. Jesus was born 2000 years ago. Just to show how long is 100 000 years – very long. If life on earth comes to an end tomorrow, in 100 000 years there might be new life forms on this planet. If we are still around by then, we will be definitely   different from today. And which path a mankind is going to choose, path of development or path of self destruction is a another question.OH3pCyQ

The author pushes the scientists to prove to him that the whole idea of tucking away the deadly waste is going to be safe for all 100 000 years. How will people know not to open the door of death to the repository, let’s say in 50 000 years from now? The scientists shrug their shoulders and seem to be giving an answer because they are expected to say something – “We will POSIVA 26052011 Olkiluoto Onkalo, ajotiehave signs in all UN languages” (about 30 of them). Besides there will be certain authorities that will make it their duty to pass the responsibility from generation to generation. What, for 100 000 years? I don’t think so. So many civilizations have died throughout the history that is known to us. Only 5000 years later we do not understand the language of the builders of pyramids and still in the process of decoding it. Scientists and linguists can’t agree of exact meaning of the words in the language of Jesus. So who can insist that by the time the waste is not toxic anymore we will be speaking any of the UN languages?

What if our civilization dies and a new springs up in its place, new and powerful, developed and advanced. Can anyone insist that scientific advancement is impossible without using nuclear power? What if this new civilization achieved much higher levels of development without knowing what nuclear power is? And then, being same curious creatures as we are, they will need to know what is so precious buried in the solid rocks  of Onkalo, that is so elaborately hidden?movie poster

Too far into the future to think or worry about it? Probably, but I can’t get rid of this “What If?”.

What bothered me personally is that one company which is supervising the construction will operate it…. until forever. That should be some company if they are making plans 100 000 years in advance.

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Inspiring Explorers- Alexandra David Neel

13The desire of knowing the unknown, exploring the hidden and far away and investigating the magic of the life is the main driving force of the mankind.

It did drive the most amazing woman of the 20th century, Alexandra David Neel to explore the unknown and forbidden since she was very young.

Reading her biography, at least the wiki page, is definitely worth of your time and I will not go into details here.

What amazed me most is that this courageous woman has defied time and pursued her curiosity driven path until she died at the age of 101.

Born and raised in Paris, she runs away from home at the age of 17, travels alone from Brussels to Switzerland, hikes alone through Alps, and reaches Lago Maggiore, where she is fetched by her probably annoyed  mother to bring her back home.

In her early twenties she becomes a political radical  and comes up with the anarchist treaties so menacing that the publishers refuse to touch it, but it nevertheless  gets translated and distributed in 5 languages.  david_neel_04

As soon as she gets hold of inherited money from her godmother she takes off for India and Ceylon at the age of 23 and stays there until she runs out of money.

In between travelling, and her passion for political radicalism and theosophical spiritualism she manages to study in Brussels Royal Conservatory and then later performs on stage as an opera singer.

She travels to India for the second time at the age of 43 and starts studying Sanskrit and receives the honorary title of the Doctor of Philosophy, something unimaginable for an European woman at that time. Year later she starts learning Tibetan, honoring the request of the 13th Dalai Lama.

Alexandra-David-Néel-Her dream of visiting Tibet, the forbidden country, came true twice between the years of 1912 and 1916, for which she was exiled from Sikkim.

WWI was raging in Europe so returning home was out of question, and Alexandra David Neel decides to travel to Japan, determined to return to Tibet.

She does so in 1921 (age 53) disguised as a beggar in the company of her friend and adopted son Aphur Yongden. The journey took 3 years which is described in her book “My Journey to Lhasa”.

House in Digne France

House of Alexandra David Neel in Digne, France

At the age of 57 David Neel returns to France but in 1937, she travels to China, and from there to India in 1946.

Back in France she continues writing and lecturing around Europe.

She died in 1969 at the age of 101 in Digne, France .

Some of my favorite Alexandra David Neel Books:

The secret oral teachings  6993833-M  Buddism its doctrines and methods  IOmmortality and Reincarnation Magic and Mistics of Tibet

Useful links:

The Amazing Tibetan Adventures of Alexandra David-Neel

Alexandra David Neel Books

Alexandra David Neel Official Site