Published in Hong Kong Magazine in January, 2009
--For publication of Saving Mankind (Select) and On Extinction of Mankind in Hong Kong
This is the 30th year of my research on human problems, and it happens to be the year that Saving Mankind (Select) is published in Hong Kong. On Extinction of Mankind was published in Hong Kong not long ago, so I want to confide the hardships and bitterness of research in these years through this opportunity.
I accidentally became involved in the research of human problems in 1979. Soon after that, I decided that the research would be my lifetime's mission, because with the continuation of my research, I soon found that the problem was not only very important, but also very stern and urgent. The research showed that mankind was facing a grave crisis between life and death, but the entire society was completely unaware of it under the false peace and prosperity. Human society's development is heading on the wrong track. It is not a minor developmental mistake, but a mistake that will lead mankind to the abyss of extinction.
But traditional concepts formed for a long period of time has been dominating people's mind and behavior, which will be difficult to change. The ones that want to change become extraordinary and insensible to others. I'm quite used to being attacked and snubbed.
I. Accidental Choice
When I entered college in 1979 with only 1 point less than the full score on my physics examination, I always regretted why I did not go in to the physics department. This made me subconsciously crazy about physics knowledge whenever I had a chance to learn it in other ways. When I was referred to General Physics as a freshman, I suddenly found a rough introduction about the theory of relativity. Today, even a small child would know the theory of relativity and Einstein, but as a student from a remote village with past experiences limited to the dark and close "Cultural Revolution" era, I had never heard of the theory and Einstein at that time.
The theory of relativity is amazing. The natural rules it reflects are unimaginable but all true. For example, according to the formula that time lies in speed, when speed is high enough, time will slow down. Many science fiction movies are shot according to this formula; according to the mass energy equation, one gram of material contains energy equivalent to 20000 tons TNT, and nuclear weapons are worked out according to this equation.
Seeing these unbelievable scientific theories, I suddenly felt that there was a question which must be rationally thought out on the way of scientific development: science and technology could increase mankind's ability by millions, tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of times, but it is a double-edged sword which can benefit but also destroy mankind. A nuclear bomb could destroy a million-people metropolis in a blink today, compared to the cold steel period, when a sword or arrow could hurt only one person. Human's self-destruction ability has been increased millions of times by science and technology. What is worse, such destruction ability still has potential. As long as science and technology keeps developing, the destruction ability will tend to increase. Then when will this destruction ability stops its development? This aroused my thinking on whether further development of science and technology would extinguish mankind someday in future.
I soon realized that it was a great issue worth researching, because no other problem was more important than the problem that concerned the extinction of mankind. Is this simple conclusion tenable? If yes, it means that science and technology will able to extinguish mankind. Then will extinction power break out, and when will it break out? Can this crisis could be avoided?
A series of problems made me think that if science and technology would soon extinguish mankind, even if we started prevention measures, it would still be a little late. Then all the problems we are engaged in today, such as environment, resource, population and poverty problems, are totally unimportant when compared with this ultimate issue.
Not quite long after I started research of this problem, I judged vaguely that further development of science and technology would soon extinguish mankind. Because of my deep worry about the fate of mankind, I made the lifetime choice as stated above. I have been telling and encouraging myself in these thirty years that I must make the problem clear, and try my best to spread the research results.
II. A Hard Way
As I was involved in this research accidentally and didn't notice other conditions when I started, I learned later that this was a field on which nobody had ever set foot, and only a few were engaged in the research of safety of science and technology. Their work was to evaluate the safety of specific scientific results or some specific scientific products, then raise suggestions accordingly. So in fact, I stepped into a "land of nobody".
As an unsophisticated young student with little knowledge, I was out of my wits when I suddenly stepped into an area unprecedented in history and unsurpassable for posterity. How do I put my comprehension of simple logical thought into research practice? I tried to refer to various materials on one hand, while on the other hand, I sorted my research thoughts again and again.
To judge whether science and technology would extinguish mankind, I had to learn about the scientific technologies at the forefront. It was the work in early stages, and it involved at least a dozen branches, each of which is very difficult to learn. To make the problem clear on whether extinction power would break out involved not only natural sciences, but also many social science problems, which required me to read many books that I had never known before. It was at this time that I realized that I had chosen a hard road, and this was just the start of my experience of hardship.
At first, I didn't think about how to solve the problem of science and technology exterminating mankind. After I confirmed that the problem did exist, I started preparing to solve the problem, and found that many subjects strange to me were involved. So, continuous reading has become an indispensable part of my life.
My scores were mediocre in college, because I spent most of my energy on the research. In my classmates' opinion, I was a student with a broad knowledge, but with mediocre scores.
After I graduated, I was assigned to the National Building Materials Bureau, where I continued my research. Once I tried to write my research in a book in 1988 and 1989. For this purpose, I gave up family visits in these two years, and used the holidays to write in dormitories of my former classmates in the People's University and the 2nd Academy of the Ministry of Space Industry and friends' houses. But shortly after I started, I found I couldn't finish because too many subjects and knowledge were involved. Some problems might not be difficult to elaborate simply, but it was very different to write precise academic articles. My knowledge was actually far from enough. Because of my eagerness to express my research, a method for an instant effect came to my mind. That was to use the style of novel, which did not need to be very precise.
However, after writing nearly 200,000 words, I found the novel rather absurd. How can a serious academic issue be explained adequately in the form of a novel? So I was determined to write the problem into a rigorous academic work when the time was right.
I encountered many difficulties in the research. The first one was time. Although working as a governmental agent was not very busy, I could not arrange my free time fully because I would go on business trips anytime. Even if I was not on a trip, I needed to do some routine works, and rarely had several hours or a half day free. Even if there was such free time, I was often disturbed by others.
Governmental agency has a feature—my colleagues would like to chat and play cards when they had time. Because I was always indulged in reading or writing alone and rarely took part in chatting or card playing, I was nicknamed as "Hujiaqi Comprehensiveness" with a derogatory sense stronger than a commendatory sense.
The Beijing Library was not very far from the agency, and I would go there to read the moment I had time. When I visited the agency over ten years later, my colleagues still teased me, "Hu Jiaqi, do you still often go to Beijing Library to do research on Mao Zedong?" Because Mao Zedong came from Hunan, they always teased me like that when I read books. I often asked back, "Are people not allowed to go to Beijing Library unless they research Mao Zedong?"
Economic conditions were a big problem also. My salary was low and my family was rather worse off. I had no money to buy the materials I needed. So the idea of working in enterprise came to me. The salary of an enterprise directly owned by a central committee was a little higher than a governmental agent.
Under my request, I was transferred to the China National Nonmetallic Minerals Corporation, which is a corporation separately listed in state plan. As a unit at vise department level, the corporation was actually a managerial company with certain governmental functions.
Although my salary here was a little higher, it was very difficult to solve the problems, so I decided to become a merchant. I thought that when my economic problem was solved, my time problem would be solved accordingly.
Before I became a merchant, general manager Li Baoyin of China National Nonmetallic Minerals Corporation talked with me twice, and wanted to appoint me as the general manager of Jianbei Stone Material Company of the Corporation. The office was taken by the deputy general manager of the Corporation at that time. But I was determined to leave. I was a manager at the division chief level of a company affiliated with Jianbei Company then.
Before I became a merchant, I told myself in a diary that as soon as I earned 500,000 RMB, I would give up everything to read and write, so that I would not to forget my mission. However, I did not follow the initial plan exactly. I am not a born businessman, but I experienced unexpected success in my business. It did not take me long to fulfill the goal that I set up at the beginning. However, problems also showed up accordingly. Many people helped me and struggled with me. If I gave up, these colleagues of mine would lose their jobs. Besides, many projects were still going on and it would take a long time before I could clear up the debts and creditor's rights. It was difficult to be free from all these.
In order to tackle this problem, I gradually transferred some work to the management and offered part of the stock shares of the company to the chief managers. The process lasted from 1997 to 2000, nearly 3 years.
Towards the end of 2000, I gave up the daily administration of the company and focused on the last preparations for this book. I visited the company only once or twice a month most of the time. Even if I called a meeting, it was held at my home.
On the night of July 5, 2003, I sat in front of my desk, upset by the quick decline of performance of the company without my management. The conclusion of my research went against the traditional concept of mainstream society. After the long painstaking process, my benevolence may very well not be understood but sadly attacked. My depression and sadness grew spontaneously, and I wrote down a paragraph of my emotions,
"In the recorded history of thousands of years of human civilization, the truth is often seen as a fallacy, but a fallacy often seen as the truth and held as gods so fearsome and inviolable. The birth of a revolutionary truth always faces relentless and bloody fights, and there have been no exceptions since the beginning of time".
I suddenly felt that this paragraph was somewhat reasonable. It could not only reflect my attitude, by also could be combined with my research. Start, then! So I started the writing of my first work of systematic research, Saving Mankind.
My research and writing were painstaking processes. After I graduated, I became a governmental official, and then later a merchant. I might wallow in luxury because of the work, but I rarely had social intercourses. I always brought a book with me and would read even if there was a short time. As my researches and work were intertwined with each other, I had gradually cultivated the capacity that I would immediately be absorbed in reading as soon as I picked up a book after finishing my business chores. This capacity has helped me a lot throughout the many years of researching, reading, and writing.
The hardest period in around 30 years of research is the four years time after I started formal writing of Saving Mankind. I had a habit of sleeping during the wee hours and afternoon, and wrote before noon and for the whole night. I often kept writing for fifteen or sixteen hours a day, at many times even over 20 hours. To save time, I was often unkempt and got only a bite to eat.
Even in the seven years that I was away from my company, I could not be entirely free from my business. Sometimes I still had to go on business trips. To use the time during business trips, I formed a habit of reading and writing on the train. Maybe the stewardesses of the railway lines that I often went on business trips would still remember the middle-aged man in pajamas who kept reading and writing in the soft berth until midnight, as if there were no one else present.
Thinking back, the research that I thought was very important was actually a hard and thankless job. I did not study my specialty earnestly during college, did not be an official earnestly after graduation, and did not earn money earnestly after becoming a merchant. As a matter of fact, I could live a comfortable life with superiority, but I have chosen a hard road instead. My friends ask me why? My colleagues asked me why? My families asked me why? I am still as stubborn as granite; I have never and will never regret my choice.
III. Exceptional View
In these years of research, I formed my views in four aspects, two of which are about the present, while the other two about the future. I firmly believe in the correctness and scientific validity of my views, but others view them as exceptional because they go against traditional concepts. I often have to face the difficulty of being refused, repelled and attacked.
Take the two views about the present as an example. For the first view, I think the further development of science and technology will soon extinguish mankind, because science and technology is able to extinguish mankind. As long as science and technology keeps developing, the extinction means will be produced, and use of such extinction means once or a few times will turn out to be measure to exterminate mankind.
As a matter of fact, many people agree to my above point at first, even many scientists have a common understanding with me in this aspect. But people believe that mankind is able to control science and technology, which is neutral and innocent itself, so science and technology has been developing irrationally.
In fact, mankind cannot control science and technology completely, because extinction means and the developmental technology will spread after the means appears. It will reach people who dare to use them sooner or later. Human beings are a kind of species that have not evolved to perfection. Social systems and law systems can only restrain the general society, but cannot make sure that nobody will do extremely bad things, no matter how sound the systems are. What's more, the human race is very huge and mankind has a long future. Even if the people that will do extremely bad things are few, the absolute number will still be large.
As a matter of fact, even if no one uses the extinction means, extinction power will break out. Science and technology has a most obvious feature, and that is uncertainty. What we think is the best scientific fruit will turn out to actually be the worst. So after science and technology has developed to a higher level, careless use of scientific results or careless scientific experiments may both possibly start extinction power accidentally. It is just like careless use of Freon, which caused damage to the ozonosphere and how many scientific experiments led to disasters. As long as science and technology keeps developing, the extinction of mankind will be inevitable.
The real start of the development of science and technology was the Industrial Revolution in the middle period of the 18th century. In only over 200 years, science and technology has developed into such a high level. While the development of science and technology is speeding up, the extinction of mankind is not far ahead.
This point, which is very difficult for people to accept, is doubtlessly a complete subversion of traditional values and thinking. I talked with a proprieter of a renown publishing house in mainland China twice, for a total of over seven hours, and he accepted the first view at last. But when we turned to the second point, he refused to accept it.
My second point is that to avoid extinction of mankind by science and technology, humans must realize great unification, and the conditions for great unification are ready.
My reasons are as follows: we believe that the target of scientific research of most scientists, except for a few particular psychopaths, is not to exterminate mankind. The appearance of extinction means and breaking out of extinction power are often the natural result when science and technology has developed into a quite high level. To avoid the extinction of mankind by science and technology, we will have to stop the further development of science and technology, and spread current safe and mature scientific results worldwide. This could be absolutely enough to guarantee ample living of all human beings.
But present national society is unable to restrict the development of science and technology while using scientific results rationally at the same time. Because many countries co-exist in national society, they will compete and combat with each other. No power can restrain competition between countries, and as a result, the competition cannot be changed and often finds no other way except war as the final solution. Since the failure in a war always leads to a country's destruction and slaughters its people, not a single country dares take the risk lightly. Among all kinds of competition are primarily the competition of science and technology, because science and technology is the first productive force. So it is impossible to let countries give up development of science and technology, especially large countries.
Only global uniform action will be able to achieve the above target. No power can restrain unilateral action of nations, not even the United Nations. To act uniformly, humans must realize great unification and use world regime to govern the whole world.
When I mentioned the great unification of mankind, my friend, the proprieter, shook his head and said, "Great unification? Is it possible?!"
I have many such experiences. When I talked about this problem with another proprieter of a publishing house in Hong Kong, he smiled, "Great unification? That will be tens of millions years later?!"
Then what is the fact? If it were a hundred years ago, the great unification of mankind would be certainly impossible. Even a notice of a meeting would need a year to reach inland China from inland of America if a meeting were to be held, so the great unification was impossible of course. But modern transportation and communication measures have connected the whole world into a global village, which means that the hardware conditions for the great unification of mankind are ready. What is uncertain are only software conditions, or human factors. Then what about the software conditions?
If monarchy is prevailing in present national society, then resistance would be strong. A leader of a monarchy is lifetime tenured and his political power is hereditary. Once the position of a state leader is lost, not only the leader himself, but also his descendants will lose everything, so it is natural that the leader will attach great importance to his position. But democratic nations are prevailing at present. Most large countries are democratic countries with state leaders who will be in office for two or three terms at the longest, or one or a half a term at the shortest, so they are not that reluctant to leave office. They could actually give up their positions if the reason is sufficient enough. Leaders of large countries will play important roles in the great unification of mankind, and the great unification process is just a good opportunity for them to leave a good name in history.
As for the common people, it is more impossible for them to set up a barrier to the great unification of mankind. Just think. Would we feel very upset if mankind had realized great unification?
Therefore, conditions for the great unification of mankind are all ready, only we have not spread the stern truth. In other words, we need to let people learn the necessity of the great unification of mankind. For an intelligent species, when it becomes clear that it is faced with a choice of life or death, everything will become possible.
IV. Repeated Setbacks
At the end of 2006, I contacted a publishing house after I finished the 5th draft of Saving Mankind. My previous target was the publishing house of the book A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is one of few best sellers that contains much knowledge of natural sciences. What is more, the book is a translated work. My Saving Mankind involves much knowledge of natural sciences, and I plan to translate it into English and other languages in hopes that it will become a best seller also. So the above target was natural.
By telephone number on the copyright page, I got in touch with Chen Yong, the responsible editor and also translator of A Short History of Nearly Everything. I stated my purpose and gave him a draft before the last modification. He was very interested after reading the draft and not only agreed with my view, but also commended the book highly. He said he would make the book a best seller.
The discussion was so successful that my previous preparation for refusal left completely, and I felt as though I was swept off my feet. But the result turned to be very bad half a month later. Chen Yong brought my draft to the reading and evaluation meeting of the publishing house to be evaluated and discussed, but the draft was turned down because leads of the publishing house were afraid that the book might have political risks.
Chen Yong was an intellectual. He felt very sorry for the result after his heartfelt promise, and gave me great comfort.
With the help of a friend, I shortly found a deputy proprieter of China Workers Publishing House. After reading the draft carefully, she thought there wasn't problem for publishing, but as for whether it could become a best seller, she could not guarantee anything. I thought publication was a success already, and as for whether it could become a best seller could be dealt with later. Plus, the promise of a deputy proprieter should be very reliable. But half a month later, the result failed me again. The reading and evaluation meeting also thought the book had political risk.
What political risk can a book about all mankind and transcending nations and ideologies contain? Beijing seemed to be too conservative. I had to go to south China, where it might be more open. In the previous two times, both the people that had read the book carefully supported and appreciated the book, but when the syllabus was reported to leads of the publishing houses, it was turned down. So I thought, "I must find the chief leader in a publishing house this time".
So I turned my target to south China and found a publishing house in Guangzhou, but I was refused before I finished the introduction of the book. With the help of friends, I found a middle-level manager of a publishing house in Shenzhen, but after my introduction, I was also refused to be introduced to the leaders because of political risks.
I felt disappointed that South China was even more conservative than Beijing! But here, I heard the news that the China Book Fair was being held in Chongqing. So I went to Chongqing directly and without any hesitation.
The fair gathered all major publishing houses of China. I talked with twenty to thirty publishing houses in two days, and six of them showed interest immediately. Because of previous lessons, I knew I should not be optimistic too early this time, and I must choose a very reliable publishing house. I locked my target on Beijing Tongxin Publishing House because among receptionists of these six publishing houses that showed interest, only Mr. Liu Tingzhao, the proprieter and chief editor of Tongxin Publishing House, could have the final decision. But Mr. Liu did not make it final. He said that the holiday of May Day was coming up, and he would reply to me after the holiday.
On the first day after the May Day holiday, I received a definite reply from Mr. Liu Tingzhao. He said he read the book from start to end at a stretch. Tongxin Publishing House would publish hundreds of books a year, but this was a rare one he barged up during his work in the publishing house. He was not only certain that the book could be published, but also commended the book highly. He thought the book was the most significant book in his five years of work in the publishing house, and it might change human history. I felt that the prudent proprieter was a little excited from his call. He said he would use all the publishing house's ability to promote the book. He said he was very thoughtful after reading the book, so he wrote an article for the book. He read a paragraph of the article on the other side of the phone.
I could feel that it was obviously a talented article after he had read a paragraph that was not long. I suggested making it my preliminary remarks, and he happily agreed.
The publication process was very smooth. The bookseller ordering meeting was held at Jingfeng Hotel on July 6. Tongxin Publishing House not only made a lot of advertisements for the book, but also rented a luxurious conference room and invited around one to two hundred booksellers for the meeting. This was unprecedented in the history of Tongxin Publishing House.
During the meeting, proprieter Liu intruduced to booksellers in high profiles that Saving Mankind might be an epochmaking work surpassing Capital of Marx and On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres of Copernicus. I reminded him later that the comment was too high. He said, "I just said what I thought!"
The book was officially issued on July 24. On the afternoon of July 25, Tongxin Publishing House invited 23 renowned domestic media companies to the news release. The book was commented highly by relevant staffs, even higher than at the bookseller meeting on July 6. It was beyond my imagination. I had a premonition that there would be problems.
My premonition came true. The news release lasted from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. One hour after the meeting, a notice from a relevant department said that the Beijing Municipal Publicity Department would censor this book, all books given out must be called back immediately, books sold out should be called back by all means, books presented to medias need to be drawn back also and all news report about this book must be paused until censor of the book was completed. But the book had been sent to various places already.
Then it was a long wait that lasted for two to three months. The result was that the book could not be issued, and some comments were given.
I made a great reduction of Saving Mankind by these comments, deleted a half of the total amount (over 800,000 words), and formed another book titled The Serious Problem, which was published in Northeastern University Publishing House of my Alma Mater.
I firmly believe that my research is very important and urgent for the whole human race, so not only did I write to 26 world leaders that include President of PRC, President of USA and Secretary General of UN, but also published two relevant books in Hong Kong. What is more, these books are being translated into other languages. I hope these books can be spread worldwide, so I am able to let people know the results of my research.
Since publication of Saving Mankind, I have been trying to publicize the major points through media. Though I had tried every possible means, it was still very difficult. Firstly, it was very difficult to persuade responsible staffs of the media. A view that thinks science and technology will soon extinguish mankind will be easily considered as a shocking statement seeking popularity or a superstitious prediction. Only serious readers of my book can recognize the scientific validity of the conclusion of my research, but in this impetuous world, how many of us are patient enough to finish the book?
So I have to explain my views to people that are important in my opinion, like lecturing, but few could listen patiently even so. I often have to talk with others for four to five hours, or even seven to eight hours to explain a point. To let others listen patiently, I have tried everything. My friends often ask me why?! What do I attempt to have by leaving the happy life aside?!
With such great efforts, leaders of some media have accepted my views, but another problem has come up. They themselves agree with me, but dare not make the report because of political risks.
I really do not know how there can be political risks. China has been developing satisfactorily in these over 30 years since the opening-up; I am a beneficiary of the development also. I not only recognize Chinese government's lead in the country, but also heartily support and appreciate the government. I have no thought to go against the Party or country. My research concerns only human problems rather than politics. In the long run, it will not only be harmless to our country and government, but will bring great opportunities.
It seems that I have to spread these views abroad for the next step, but I am poor in English, not to mention other languages. What is more, it requires far more time than one or two years to master a new language, and I do not have that much time either, so it is certain that I have to rely on translators.