June 15, 2019

Remarkabilities: the Unabomber Manifesto

AKA Industrial Society and Its Future (Theodore Kaczynski, 1995)

Disclaimer: I try to use Kaczynski's own terminology and definitions, instead of replacing them with something I'd consider more accurate. Unless otherwise stated I will also be aiming to quote accurately, only including my perspective in specified sections.

(number) is a reference to paragraph number in the original paper.

Power process

  • (33-37) Nietzschean idea that people need to strive autonomously to feel fulfilled and / or happy.
  • (38-41.) Real vs. "fake" power processes (real goals vs. surrogate goals).
  • (41.) The fact that modern people fulfill their power process via surrogate activities is less satisfying than fulfilling natural goals.
  • (69.) It is easier for people to accept disease as "the nature of things" instead of systematic causes.

Leftists

  • try to fulfill their power process via progressive politics.
  • (9.) claimedly suffer from feeling of inferiority.
  • (210.) The leftist is never satisfied.

Socialization

  • In the techno-industrial society inviduals (in the short term) and the system benefit from inviduals getting more socialized meaning that they succumb easier to the demands of the system and resist less.

The system

  • (114.) Bureaucracies HAVE TO run according to rigid rules to not disrupt the system and be fair.
  • (124. and many before it) Kaczynski implies that the modern industrial-technological system will also be the last system.

Principles of History

  1. (100.) Small changes to historical trends will almost always revert in time.
  2. (102.) If a change is made large enough to have permanent effects, it will usually spread on its own and it can't be restricted to parts of a system.
  3. (103.) If a change is made large enough to have permanent effects, it's consequences as a whole cannot be predicted in advance.
  4. (104.) A new kind of society cannot be designed on paper. You cannot plan a comprehensive systematic reform and expect it to function as it was designed to.
  5. (106.) People do not consciously or rationally choose the form of their society. Societies develop through processes of social evolution that are not under rational human control.

Technology is a more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom

  • (127.) Case example of motorized transport taking over society.
  • (128.) Each invidiual technological advancement appears to be beneficial, but as a whole they rip control from inviduals into the hands of The System.
  • (133.) No social construct can permanently stop the advancement of technology.

Revolution is easier than reform

  • (141 - 142.) A revolutionary movement has significant benefits over a reformist one, since it activates people's desperation much more effectively. It allows people to accept much larger temporary sacrifices for (believed) good changes.

Human Suffering

  • (169.) The system has already caused, and is continuing to cause, immense suffering all over the world.
  • (170.) Industrial Revolution was supposed to eliminate poverty, make everybody happy etc. The actual result has been quite different.
  • (170.) In fact, ever since the Industrial Revolution, technology has been creating new problems for society far more rapidly than it has been solving old ones.

FINAL NOTE

  • (231.) We don't claim this article expresses more than a crude approximation to the truth.
  • (232.) All the same, we are reasonably confident that the general outlines of the picture we have painted here are roughly correct.

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