Industrial Society and Its Future: A Reexamination
A Critical Review of the Unabomber Manifesto
There is a dream which keeps coming back to me at almost regular intervals; it is dark, and I am being murdered in some kind of thicket or brushwood; there is a busy road at no more than ten yards distance; I scream for help but nobody hears me, the crowd walks past laughing and chatting…
… you are the crowd who walk past laughing on the road; and there are a few of us, escaped victims or eyewitnesses of the things which happen in the thicket and who, haunted by our memories, go on screaming on the wireless, yelling at you in newspapers and in public meetings, theatres and cinemas. Now and then we succeed in reaching your ear for a minute. I know it each time it happens by a certain dumb wonder on your faces, a faint glassy stare entering your eye; and I tell myself: Now you have got them, now hold them, bold them, so that they will remain awake; but it only lasts a minute. You shake yourself like puppies who have got their fur wet; then the transparent screen descends again and you walk on, protected by the dream-barrier which stifles all sound.
… There have been screamers at all times—prophets, preachers, teachers and cranks—cursing the obtuseness of their contemporaries, and the situation-pattern remained very much the same. There are always the screamers screaming from the thicket and the people who pass by on the road.
… as long as there are people on the road and victims in the thicket, divided by dream barriers, this will remain a phoney civilisation.
On May 25, 1978, a homemade explosive enclosed in a package detonated at the University of Illinois, injuring a security guard. In 1979, another explosive claimed the life of a graduate student at Northwestern University, and a third injured a dozen people and forced the emergency landing of the aircraft that was carrying it.
Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, over a dozen more explosives were delivered to various targets throughout the United States, claiming the lives of university professors, graduate students, scientists, and an advertising executive. FBI investigators tasked with solving this string of mysterious bombings were at a loss as to who could be the perpetrator of these crimes. The targets appeared to be completely random, and the bombs were made mostly of scrap parts which made them impossible to trace. It became an expensive and high-profile case.
Then, in 1995, a lengthy manifesto - thirty-five thousand words long - was mailed to The New York Times and The Washington Post, which purported to be authored by the person sending the bombs. They promised to desist from further attacks if the writing was published: eventually, on advice of the FBI, The Washington Post acquiesced.
The manifesto discussed the failures of modern society, the dangers of industrial technology, and the psychology of the modern political left. It offered dire predictions of what was to come if technological progress was left unchecked, and issued a call to revolution against industrial society itself. Most dismissed it as the writings of a madman at the time.
Following the publication of the manifesto, a tip from a youth counsellor named David Kaczynski, combined with some novel profiling techniques, led to a search warrant being executed at a remote cottage in Montana. There, Ted Kaczynski, now popularly known as the “Unabomber”, was arrested. During his trial, a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation found Kaczynski to be a paranoid schizophrenic. This was a characterization he flatly rejected, and he went so far as to try to fire his lawyers for proposing the insanity defense . Kaczynski was eventually sentenced to four lifetimes in prison, where he has become a prolific writer: his original manifesto, along with several other books authored by him, are available on Amazon and enjoy rave reviews from a cult following.
Over a quarter-century has passed since Kaczynski’s original manifesto was published by The Washington Post, and in light of recent technological and social developments, it seems like it is due time to reexamine his claims, predictions, and methods in greater detail. What did the Unabomber get right? What was he mistaken about? Should we heed his words today, or dismiss him as a lunatic like the court psychologist did decades ago?
As any intellectually honest person will see, Kaczynski’s characterizations of industrial society and of political leftism are eerily accurate, as are some of his predictions for his future - our present. However, whereas he seems to have resorted to violence out of desperation and a lack of faith in humanity, this document will reframe his call for revolution, propose new ways of relating to technology, and offer some field-tested strategies for dismantling the current system without having to build a single bomb.
Table of Contents
- Modern Misery
- Human Needs
- Erosion of the Individual
- Illusory Freedoms
- The Dream of High Modernism
- Control of Human Behaviour
- The Colonized Mind
- Leftism as Delusion
- Christianity as Confusion
- The Great Reset
- The Great Upgrade
- Human Race at a Crossroads
- Correcting Our Desires
- Collective Emancipation