Steps to Nuclear Non-Proliferation:
We have been obsessed for a while with the mysteries of the “en-” prefix, and have come to accept its use as if it were a general principle or remedy for our thought: e.g. enfold, enframe, ensure, embody, engage, envolve, engender, entension, enrich, and so on and so on.
We may jokingly suggest it it takes at least two of Zizek’s humorous “and so on’s” to bring us to the appropriate level of a 2-categorical abstraction. More seriously, upon reaching this powerful idea of “enrichment”, it proves time to speak to our obsession with this prefix itself. We can no longer restrict our attention simply to its positive usage in higher category theory and perhaps even in molecular biology and leave out one glaring exception where the term “enrichment” sticks out like a mushroom cloud: Nuclear Physics.
For all this talk of becoming-plasma, all this talk of dealing with experimental physics generally, there has been no single mention of the kinds of atrocities that have been brought forth as a result. Specifically, we have had a historical tendency to weaponize the concept of “enrichment” to horrific ends. That this term evokes memories of collective trauma and great violences in the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the tragedies of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, and most recently in the earthquake-tsunami in Fukushima speaks also to its deeply peaceful importance when used properly.
Particularly when it comes to nuclear arms, bombs, missiles, and other weapons, we cannot overlook this nuclear side of the category of enrichment in our thorough-going thinking through of non-violence as such. When we meet the concept of “enrichment”, we are almost immediately given to think and to resist the violences which have emerged from it. How is it that a concept which has done much to benefit us thus far, in higher category theory and in developing the mathematics behind the internal conceptual logic of satyagraha, can result also in such a disaster?
What were we thinking? Where did we misstep along our path?
We turn back, back to category theory again. Like conceptual engineers, we look to see where the anomaly could possibly have occurred in our usage. As a general rule of thumb, we know it is most likely to be where we started in our thinking, in our first step. Was there not sufficient quality of thought to begin with? Yes, that is probably it, maybe we made a mistake. We must bring ourselves think-together again and again, forming perhaps a global “nuclear family” in addition to our local one. Aha! Here, it appears the problem arises from the essential definition of “category” itself. Because we are speaking in terms of categorical logic, we effectively enforced a certain ordering between the “source” and the “target” objects in order to proceed any further.
You must begin somewhere, they say. Why not begin with a step along a path, like a step from f:A -> B ?
Yes, that is exactly what we did: We assigned one category as the “source” and created a functor all the way on through to the “target” object.