Update: This new video from TheHatedOne pretty much covers everything I say here
Who is Theodore Kaczynski?
Ted Kaczynski is a US domestic terroristic currently serving eight life sentences at the Colorado supermax prison, ADX Florence. He’s the infamous “Unabomber” whose 17 year long bombing spree garnered enough media attention to have his manifesto Industrial Society and Its Future published by the Washington Post.
What did his manifesto say?
Ted’s great insight was that industrial society acts as a self-perpetuating System that will only become stable when enough people are under its dominion and it lies at the top of society.
The System’s ultimate flaw is that it is very fragile; for example, a relatively “simple” and commonplace piece of technology, a refrigerator, needs refined metals, plastics, chemical coolant, and so on to be put together, each of which needs sophisticated industry and a transportation system to be made and assembled. On top of that it needs a giant, centralized electric grid to plug in to, which requires burning fossil fuels which requires getting fossil fuels which requires extracting fossil fuels from the ground which requires complicated machinery which requires …
In order for this sort of underlying infrastructure to exist, vast numbers of people need to be trained in specialized roles such as research, construction, assembly, banking, driving, mining, and all kinds of engineering. Practically every modern “job” out there exists in service to technological innovation.
What nightmare did he predict?
Ultimately, the end effect of the System is the domestication of people in service to the System. This is terrible because it’s at odds with man’s (current) nature; we are still very wild at heart. Most people still crave freedom, independence, self determination, and even violence. Everyone knows that man was not made to sit in a cubicle, stare at a screen, and type for eight hours a day.
Man is not made for the modern world. We are hunters, fighters, cultivators of the land around us; kings and lords; lovers, fathers and mothers.
The end stage of industrial society is the destruction of religion, the family, private property, and cultural identity.
Is there any hope?
Kaczynski’s solution to all of this was to rally support and destroy the System altogether, reverting humanity back to a pre-industrial way of life. However, I’m not sure that’s the only solution.
The real root of the problem is that the System requires large-scale technology, like the refrigerator in my example, that requires a vast network of specialized people to create. This is in contrast to small-scale technology like an axe or a well; something that an individual or small group of people could make.
The reason I think there’s hope outside of destroying the world is because it may be possible to turn large-scale technology into small-scale technology. How? Through technologies like 3D printing.
3D printers and related tech are interesting because they’re, in some sense, self sustaining. In principle, a printer only needs to be built once; this would be large scale because of all the materials, labor, and infrastructure required to create it. But after the first printer is made, you don’t need nearly the same sized infrastructure or labor to make another; the printer can just print another printer if you wanted it to.
Granted, you still need the raw materials, and most things you’d want to print will need a computer that needs to be plugged in to the electrical grid. But what if instead of plugging into your country’s grid you hooked it up to some solar panels? What if you could print your own solar panels?
Hopefully you see what I’m getting at.
A Better World
Imagine your neighborhood being able to make its own computer chips and car engines. What if all your modern luxuries required only your family and friends to create and sell them?
Technology would be less centralized, patents and copyright would be a thing of the past, and most importantly, the world would be less fragile.