The greatest act of cooperation

The world can learn a lesson from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Much has been made in recent days of the sheer technical achievement of the thing – a 17-mile circumference ring buried over 500 feet below ground, cooled to a temperature colder than space and which will be injected with over one and a half trillion volts of electricity in order to collide two particle beams at speeds equaling 99.999999 percent of the speed of light.

It is the largest and most powerful thing ever built and, though the scientists are not entirely sure what will happen inside of the LHC, many expect to see the creation of things like miniature black holes and evidence of very funny sounding particles like the “Higgs Boson” a.k.a. the “god particle” – theorized to produce the force that we know in our every day lives as “gravity.”

Oh, and it’s knick-named “The Big-Bang Machine” because the conditions inside are expected to mirror those immediately after the creation of the entire universe.

In a figurative and literal sense, the device itself is very cool.

But I think that something can be said, not just about the existence of such an exciting thing or about the boundaries of human-understanding that it will no-doubt shatter, but of the incredible cooperation that made it possible.

In a world that seems to be consistently under assault by division and dispute between countries, here is a shining pearl of achievement; a moment of realization that, when nations work together for interests greater than their own, they can achieve the incredible.

There are no ulterior motives in the LHC. It will not be used to create a better bomb. It will not produce windfall profits in some nations or advantage one over another. It is not a project like the U.N. or the EU where countries work together, but with conflicting self-interest.

It is working for something greater and something that slices through culture, religion and nationalism – education and knowledge, the pursuit of the unknown.

And while we don’t know exactly what benefits will emerge from the cloud of smashed atoms, we can at least pride ourselves in knowing that we were alive to witness the greatest act of cooperation ever achieved.

And in doing so, we have reached a scale and complexity of creation that could come about in no other way.

The world can learn a lesson from the LHC.