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Stop coloring in the lines: don’t miss Oppenheimer’s messages

Stop coloring in the lines: don’t miss Oppenheimer’s messages

BlackEconomics.org®

One of our most vivid memories of early elementary school is being pleasantly exuberant about coloring in pencil a map of the African continent, only to be told that the effort was poor because there was “coloring outside the lines.” Later, there was a seemingly applauding comment regarding a teacher’s assessment of academic performance on a six-week report card, which stated that “he was coloring within the limits.” Was there any real learning?

Should a student be castigated (even if gently) or applauded for coloring outside or inside the lines, respectively? The wiser will remind us that the purpose of “education” is to acquire “problem-solving skills.” By their very nature, the problems to be solved are out of the norm, otherwise they would not be problems. Solutions to problems require the application of existing knowledge and methods in new/different ways, or the identification or “invention” of new knowledge and methods. Science and the scientific method fundamentally involve the exploration of new and unexplored territories. If the chartered territory is circumscribed by “lines”, then a new or unchartered territory means a space outside the lines, which means that one must go outside the existing lines to explore. Have we always “done education wrong”?

Which brings us to Oppenheimer, the blockbuster movie of 2023.(1) We’re only writing about the movie now because we strive to: “Treat spending as personal protest or economic warfare action.” » (2) Therefore, we expected that the cost of watching the film the film cost only a few cents. Regardless, it can be an extremely insightful cinematic production for black Americans, and especially for black economists.

For Black Americans, this conveys the magnitude of the challenges that lie ahead if we are to once again act as persistent, important, and influential contributors to world events and outcomes. The film features a physicist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and his colleagues solving the most complex problem of his time. He innovates and orchestrates the evolution of the solution effortlessly while outmaneuvering a conventional US military. He is spending an unprecedented two billion dollars on a scientific research project. He travels the country at will for business and pleasure. He enjoys the pleasures of life, including intellectual stimulation, wonderfully delicious food, fatherhood and family, and a torrid love affair. After all, Oppenheimer is boldly proclaimed the most important person in the world.

Let us leave aside for the moment the question of whether a peace during World War II could have been amicably negotiated without opening Pandora’s Box of Mutual Assured Destruction and forever inflaming the global atmosphere. Nor should we wonder whether the cost of such a peace would have been much less than two billion dollars. Finally, let’s not know if the scientists involved in solving the problem had mixed emotions, were torn, or twisted about the hell they had created for the world.

Let’s focus on the following messages from Oppenheimer and not miss them:(3)

  1. There was only one primary and small group that gave birth to this hell.
  2. While Oppenheimer is presented as the leader of this small group who solved the problem, his antecedent, to whom he relied alone and who identified a path to the gate of this hell, was also a member of this small group . He was a world-renowned scientist and, no less, a Nobel Prize winner.
  3. This small group almost single-handedly embodied the knowledge and skills needed to solve the problem.
  4. The small group Could have And can I have protected and protected this knowledge and skills from others throughout the process of finding solutions for reasons beyond just “safety”.
  5. The small group clearly understood the short- and long-term seriousness of their research. Yet they moved forward without vehemently demanding that parallel research efforts be pursued to explore the potential alternative paths to peace discussed above.

It didn’t hurt that the small group had as part of their cultural capital the idea that they were a “chosen people” of the universal creator. Such a self-concept is empowering to the point of infinite possibilities.

Few if any of the preceding observations are stated explicitly in the film. Yet they are all there, in plain sight, to penetrate our conscious or subconscious mind. They were apparently designed to put us in awe of this small group. Especially, after seeing and hearing Oppenheimerany logical mind, in its conscious or unconscious state, will conclude: given this knowledge and skills, and understanding human nature, it was and still is logical that the small group Could have have kept certain aspects of the solution as a secret to themselves alone. Then, given our broader knowledge of important aspects of global society and industry, we can quietly think: This small group has similar supreme knowledge and skills in other critical fields and industries all over the world .(4) Is this paranoia conspiratorial? , or pure and simple truths? Then the bell rings and the thought arises: This supreme knowledge and skill means that this small group likely holds many of the keys to harmonious functioning and survival on a global scale. And then we ask the climactic questions: “Does this small group’s possession of this supreme knowledge allow it to keep the entire world under control, including the United States?” Is it because of this supreme knowledge that the small group can give its own voice on the world stage, while constantly claiming to be grossly undersized on all seemingly important fronts (e.g. population, economy, military, etc.) ?

Now that we have clarified the important messages of Oppenheimer, at least from our perspective, we look to black America, and in particular to black economists. We claim our heritage as Afrodescendants and our lineage of the greatest civilizations on Earth.(5) This affirmation brings about the following realizations: (i) Our mind is as powerful as any other; (ii) our minds will not develop optimally and enable the realization of our potential unless it is harnessed; (iii) remaining dependent and subservient to others is not the best environment to expand and develop our minds. Therefore, if we are serious about reclaiming our rightful place in the world as a people, then we must make every effort to seize our freedom (physical and mental) and act to create an independent and self-reliant environment in which our spirit will be able to grow optimally and begin to display their inherent and superb qualities again.

Black economists should consider stopping using valuable intellectual, time, material, and financial resources to repeatedly confirm the existence of “racial discrimination” in all aspects of global society – something that is evident even with the naked eye? Why not use these valuable resources to further identify, develop and reserve for ourselves new ideas, concepts, principles and even economic activities and industries that will have great global socio-economic value and significance for the future? Such a result would be comparable to the conditions prevailing for Oppenheimer and his small group of scientists who shook the world.

And even if we decide to be different and open to the new knowledge that we identify or produce to ensure optimal well-being for all humans on the planet, Black economists should start thinking outside the box now.

B Robinson
©053124


1 From July 2023 to May 2024, Oppenheimer raked in nearly $1.0 billion in sales revenue.
2Brooks Robinson (2024). Reflections from Mérida. BlackEconomics.org. Honolulu. p. 40. https://www.blacknomics.org/BEAP/memu041924.pdf (Ret. 052524).
3 A readily available source regarding the makeup of the Manhattan Project leadership is Abigail Beus (2023), “Jewish Contribution to the Manhattan Project,” Intermountain Histories.org. https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/753#:~:text=Jewish%20involvement%20in%20the%20Manhattan,Although%20Jews%20only%20constituted%20around%20 (Ret. 053024).
4 Given the historical diaspora of this small group, vestiges still exist today all over the world.
5 We say “greatest” because ancient African peoples and civilizations invented all the fundamental elements that enabled our current state. Today’s destructive power highlighted in Oppenheimer and even more recent technological “advances” could not have occurred without the fundamental contributions of ancient African civilizations and their scientists. When considering this topic, a question is worth asking: “Is orderly and focused discovery and discovery creation much more important for life than the discovery of raw power to destroy?”