Gertrude Stein





Reflections on the Atomic Bomb

They asked me what I thought of the atomic bomb. I said I had not been able to
take any interest in it.

I like to read detective and mystery stories. I never get enough of them but
whenever one of them is or was about death rays and atomic bombs I never could 
read them. What is the use, if they are really as destructive as all that there is 
nothing left and if there is nothing there nobody to be interested and nothing to be 
interested about. If they are not as destructive as all that then they are just a little 
more or less destructive than other things and that means that in spite of all 
destruction there are always lots left on this earth to be interested or to be willing 
and the thing that destroys is just one of the things that concerns the people 
inventing it or the people starting it off, but really nobody else can do anything 
about it so you have to just live along like always, so you see the atomic [bomb] is 
not at all interesting, not any more interesting than any other machine, and 
machines are only interesting in being invented or in what they do, so why be 
interested. I never could take any interest in the atomic bomb, I just couldn't any 
more than in everybody's secret weapon. That it has to be secret makes it dull and 
meaningless. Sure it will destroy a lot and kill a lot, but it's the living that are 
interesting not the way of killing them, because if there were not a lot left living 
how could there be any interest in destruction. Alright, that is the way I feel about 
it. And really way down, that is the way everybody feels about it. They think they are 
interested about the atomic bomb but they really are not not any more than I am. 
Really not. They may be a little scared, I am not so scared, there is so much to be 
scared of so what is the use of bothering to be scared, and if you are not scared 
the atomic bomb is not interesting.

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common 
sense. They listen so much that they forget to be natural. This is a nice story.