Saturday, 24 November 2007
The thing that puzzles our souls about radiation poisoning is the way the very word contradicts its message. We are deeply habituated to think of poison as a product of darkness, of dirt and putrescence, of secrecy and shadows. But radiation is a form of light, and it is very hard for us to think of light as poison. (Light can blind, of course; and it can of course burn; we know that; we comprehend that; it correlates to our sense of its essence. But poison us?) What is more alarming than the thought that poison can radiate?