January 15 2002
The Pentagon has asked researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in
Philadelphia to create an "odour bomb," a non-lethal weapon that would
release a smell so awful that it would be universally offensive. The weapon
could be used for crowd control.
In developing the odour bomb, about fifty Monell researchers focused on smells
from rotting garbage, human faeces and burning hair. These kinds of
emanations cause people to experience shortness of breath, a racing heart and
nausea, not to mention the desire "to flee in disgust," in short the
bomb incapacitate people while leaving them unhurt.
Are the employees of Monell researching smells because they are against
demonstrations? No, only because they are paid money. I deplore that people only
act because of money and not because of their own thoughts for example based on
the idea they do not want to disturb human dignity. These people are not
autonomous individuals, they are more mere objects that depend on others to
exist. Money must not rule over human creativity.
But do I deplore that demonstrations will become obsolete when stench warfare is
perfected? Not really. Of course
demonstrations can be inspiring to meet people with comparable
ideas. A demonstration makes your views known to a broader public. But there
is no pressure on leaders that took disputable decisions because the
elite is only asked to behave in a more human way. Moreover the weapons of mass
organisations as trade unions are mostly restricted to mass actions as
demonstrations and strikes in which the individuality and autonomy of the
activist is subjected to the ideas of leaders. A demonstrator loses her of his
individuality in a big crowd. I prefer individual actions. This kind of actions
will become the only possibility when mass demonstrations will
impossible because of new means of crowd control.
It is more effective and more human when individual citizens put direct pressure
on individual leaders that take dubious decisions.
Practical examples as well as theoretical background of individualised actions
can be found elsewhere on my site.
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis