The Rocket and the Missile look alike. But Rocket is for Scientific Construction and the Missile is for destruction

— Subhendu Sarkar

A Missile is a misguided Rocket and a Rocket is a well-guided Missile.
The first ever documented record of Gunpowder- the first stepping stone of rocket technology- has been found in an 11th century Chinese text Wujing Zongyao. In that ancient document, it had been mentioned in the same breath as fire arrow. So apparently the very seed of Rocket Technology is sown in Missilic soil. The sapling that sprouted from that dark fecund soil of necessity has grown into a tree with many branches. But the similarity between these branches is stark and uncanny. We can’t tell one from the other. So at times, we choose one branch thinking it to be ‘rocket’ but may later realize it was its twin ‘missile’ all along. Even worse, a few of us don’t even ever have that epiphany.

This point can be illustrated with an example. Adolph Eichmann, the perpetrator of the infamous holocaust- was found to be completely mentally sound during his trial post World War 2. Ergo it was concluded that he executed millions of Jews because he was just following orders from Hitler- which he believed was his purpose. He believed all along that what he was doing was fair and just in the long scheme of things, as made to believe by his master’s perverse and extreme ideologies. So while he thought (or was made to think) he’s launching a rocket, he actually shot a missile.

Taking a leaf from the above analogy, let’s try to understand the subtle nuances of the process of making this choice- consciously or unconsciously.

We can safely infer that at sub-atomic level, both Rocket and Missile are akin. They have the same parts, same technology and same programming. So basically, if we point a missile vertically, provide it enough thrust to attain escape velocity, it’ll instantly be rechristened as a Rocket and will go on to explore the profound depths of the mysterious creation for us. And if we point a Rocket to some populated area, load it with explosives and launch it- BOOM! It becomes a ghastly Missile, annihilating everything- friendly and hostile- that comes in its ambitious and power-hungry way.

It’s not the device then that could be inherently called Rocket or Missile. It just quietly sits crouched on its launch pad- attentive and a little jaded- with profound and incomprehensible potential, ready to be guided towards either construction or destruction. What is it that imparts this un-identical twin its eventual name- Rocket or Missile- and radically separates it from the other one it shared the womb with? Hold onto this question while we delve deeper into the conscious of this unconscious device.

The device, before launch, could be equated to power. Raw and bare power, ready to be treated fairly or exploited. If treated fairly, from a place of love and compassion for all it becomes Rocket, exploring and healing the depths of unconscious, while also making palpable transformations in the world. On the other hand, if exploited, form a place of fear, hatred or vengeance. It becomes the missile which obliterates everything regardless of its caste, creed and religion.

Now coming back to the question left unanswered, it’s the person launching the device that eventually makes it Rocket or Missile. It’s the intention of the person launching the device that imparts the name. It’s the deepest emotion behind the intention of the person launching the device. To illustrate, suppose someone’s intention is to protect his ideology but he’s acting from a place of fear and hatred. Most likely, he’ll try to eliminate anyone who doesn’t conform to his ideology. On the other hand, someone at peace with self and acting from a place of love and compassion, will attempt to reason and tune into deeper frequencies even with people who don’t resonate with his opinions and beliefs, before moving away smiling and unoffended.

Nuclear Energy, the very same energy that keeps Sun and all other Stars perpetually burning to keep the cosmic labyrinths lit all the time, is also an apt example to corroborate the point. When Enrico Fermi deciphered the clandestine secrets stored at the very heart of an atom, it sure, as hell, would have been fascinating and mind-boggling. He had not just the earth, but entire cosmos, at his disposal. Yet he CHOSE to leash the uncontrollable beast and harness it for producing constructive power controllably. The same technology was later exploited in the guise of necessity and two entire cities were wiped off the map. After the first Nuclear Test, which was the most powerful synthetic explosion on earth till that time, Robert Oppenheimer, Director of the Nuclear Bomb program, famously quoted from Bhagvad Gita “I can become death, the shatterer of worlds.” So the stellar and unparalleled power hidden in the heart of atom manifested in the form of boon as well as bane. It’s powering millions of households across the world. It is also potently and mockingly waiting in the arsenal of many countries- waiting for some Idiot to launch it masqueraded under the shroud of his narcissistic and fragile Ego.

With great power, comes great responsibility.
And that great responsibility is of making the fair and right choice. Every passing moment, we have the option of either launching a Rocket or launching a Missile. We also have the inert and barren option of inaction- aborting the launch altogether. Aborting the launch is still better than launching a Missile. But there’s nothing like launching a Rocket every passing moment of your life. When we help someone unknown, we’re launching one. When we stop to let that grandpa cross the road, we’re launching it. When we smile at a stranger- we’re at it again. So let’s launch the Rocket and abort the Missile for good.

Countdown before take-off begins!
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