A man is mortal while mankind is not. I trust that believers and nonbelievers alike recognize this. Like a human embryo that evolves through all stages of evolution, the human spirit repeats the cosmic history of mankind in its microcosmic development, thus binding the past and the future. This deep bind, this intertwining of cosmic and microcosmic development within each human being, shapes the meaning of life and its values. In fact, life’s meaning and life’s values are more precious than life itself.

Mankind’s technological evolution, primarily the development of nuclear weapons, has now deprived mankind of immortality. As the cancer cells of nuclear arms have already yielded powerful metastases in certain countries and across national boundaries, our generation faces perhaps its greatest task: eliminating those seeds of destruction and restoring mankind to immortality. The experience gained through that joint mission wil help us to realize life’s meaning and the ways of handling other threats to life on this planet, brought forth through the aggregated activities of man.

YEVGENI VELIKOV, physicist and key adviser on arms control and science issues to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, is the vice president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and chairman of the International Foundation for the Survival and Development of Humanity.

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