PLANET OF THE APES
LESSONS OF LIFE
Decision making under acute stress
The ‘Planet of the Apes’ series is a wonderful example of man’s creative impulses. There is iconic imagery in it. I trembled when astronaut Taylor (Charlton Heston) comes back to Planet Earth to discover a destroyed New York with the Statue of Liberty broken and lying in the sea water. But even more iconic was the imagery when faced with imminent threats, the new astronaut Brent (the sequel to that movie ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’} pushes a button, and destroys Planet Earth itself . It seems that within the mountains was a secret nuclear area made long ago then for an eventuality of Planet Earth being taken over. With the apes rushing towards Brent, and with no hope, he pushes the button, and Planet Earth is no longer in the Universe. The message is simple, when Man is pushed into a corner, even a rat becomes a lion. When there is no way out, it is total destruction.
Perhaps this was in front of the decision makers when they bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and changed the course of the war. And the Japanese not only did acquiesce to them, they are still in that position even today. A proud nation humbled beyond recognition.
General Mirza Aslam Baig (then Chief of Army Staff) recounts an interesting tale like that. He says that when threat to Pakistan was imminent, a perception was here to either save Pakistan or take the rest with us. And that is exactly what the Pakistan Army did, by loading a nuke on a jet, ready to take off, if a certain protocol was breached. Was it a bluff! He said, no, not at all. Better die with dignity, rather than lose everything. Beneath the Planet of the Apes is just a movie, here we have decision making in the real world.
Everyone would agree that LIFE is better than lifelessness. But honourable death is a death of a martyr, and the next world awaiting the result of test of mankind. Self respect and dignity is better than anything else, and no effort ever goes waste. To take even one other life is murder of the social system, but to remove injustice, death is a small price to pay. Coward nations should always check the morale of brave nations before going into any needless adventure.