The Open World

I’m inspired by Niels Bohr’s thoughts on openness this morning:

“An open world where each nation can assert itself solely by the extent to which it can contribute to the common culture and is able to help others with experience and resources must be the goal to put above everything else.”

Niels Bohr, “For an Open World,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 6,7 (July, 1950): 217.

Bohr was thinking about openness in the years just after the Second World War, when the advent of devastating nuclear weapons made it seem like a far worse war was looming just over the horizon. We don’t live in quite such grave times–even if it feels like it sometimes–but Bohr’s solution to the problem is just as prescient today as it was in 1950. Unlike 1950, we have the tools to make information accessible to everyone, everywhere, at any time. Do we have the will? Do we have the courage to give up our secrets and work together?

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