Truth be told, I never made it all the way through the Unabomber’s manifest0, Industrial society and its Future. The writings are so filled with hate and rage that many of the arguments are barely coherent. That being said, many of the underlying arguments make a frightening amount of sense, and from his shorter writings, I know he’s fiercely intelligent. So now, after many years of prison, he’s releasing a book, aiming to be a bestseller, about his philosophy.

Kaczynski gets a lot of attention in green anarchist and primitivist crowds, which is something I’ve never been entirely into. His bombing campaign killed mainly civillians (and not always who he intended) and were targeted with clear terroristic intent. And while he’s a firebrand, the way he talks about many other political movements is almost as hateful. Whatever drove him to isolate himself also took his writing off on tangents, away from nearly all of his peers at the time – even the most radical like John Zerzan.

It will be interesting to see if Kaczyinski can write out his ideas in a way that appeals to people, rather than bombing his mad rantings into the New York Times, as he did with his Manifesto. Many of his ideas are compelling – like the idea of “surrogate activities”, which take the place of basic fulfilling work (such as hunting or growing food), but become mass-produced commodities, and as poor shadows of their former selves – like cooking shows or big game reserves – where one’s life is still rooted in “Technological slavery” (the title of his new book).

It will also be interesting to see what kind of affect it has on the discourse surrounding technology. While I’m definitely not against all technology, I support hearing out all critiques of it, because it opens up a lot of important space for discussion. I don’t necessarily think we should “go back” to small neolithic-style villages and hunting/foraging tribes, but if those who argue we should can make a compelling argument, there is something deeply wrong with our way of life. Did you know that most hunter-gatherers “work” around 2 hours a day? Or that nearly half of the Medieval European work-year was holidays and festivals? The amount of work and natural resources going into our economic, technological and political systems has risen steadily over this “march of progress”, not dropped. Technology, in its current form, clearly does not make life easier. Whether it could is another question.

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