AuthorTopic: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber  (Read 3556 times)

Offline Eddie

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Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« on: August 07, 2013, 06:24:02 AM »
I sat down to dinner at Threadgill's last night with my wife and all four kids, and uncharacteristically, no other BF's or GF's. The topic of conversation was the Unabomber Manifesto (which the author called Industrial Society and it's Future).

I spent my time between patients yesterday reading Kaczynsky's rant of 18 years past, and I wanted to get feedback from my family on the major tenets of his thesis. It turned into a fairly lively discussion.

His basic premise was that industrial technology has set us on a course that is diametrically opposed to individual freedom, and that the inevitable outcome would be a loss of all personal freedom, and that only by turning our back on technology could mankind survive without eventually succumbing to becoming some kind of genetically engineered Human 2.0, more or less.

There's a lot more to it, of course. The manifesto runs to 35,000 words. It does not sound like the ranting of a mental patient to me, but rather the words of a deep thinking malcontent who has seen the handwriting on the wall and drawn his own moral and ethical line in the sand.

We had a spirited back and forth between those who wanted to defend modern life and its myriad of advantages, and those who could see and feel the loss of freedom Ted was talking about.

I'm not sure if this is an old topic here, but I'd be interested in what Diners think about Ted K. He doesn't seem to me to be that far from those who favor rewilding as the best path, going forward. I don't know if Kaczynski thought about the possibility of spontaneous collapse. Many of the topics we discuss, like Peak Oil, weren't on his radar, apparently, although he was aware that the environmental movement had been co-opted and gutted, and refers to that several times.

I won't cut and past the whole diatribe here, but here's a link in case anybody wants to read it. I find it fascinating reading, not that I favor blowing people up as a political action, because I definitely do not.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/unabomber/manifesto.text.htm
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline WHD

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 06:59:31 AM »
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7277

Here is another take on Kaczyinski. This one was a revelation for me, insofar as I was still laboring under the FBI/Federal narrative about who Kaczyinski is. Then I went and read some of Kaczyinski myself. Another case of, Americans will believe whatever the FBI/MSM tell them.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 07:56:43 AM »
That piece by Paul Kingsnorth is a gem. Thank you. That's exactly how I feel about the 'stead --- that I'm building a refuge. At least that's my goal.

And the E. F. Shumacher quote is a good one too:

Nowadays, when I’m faced with digs like this, I like to quote E. F. Schumacher, who replied to the accusation that he was a “crank” by saying, “A crank is a very elegant device. It’s small, it’s strong, it’s lightweight, energy efficient, and it makes revolutions.”

I'll remember that one.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline DoomerSupport

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2013, 08:18:36 AM »
I recorded Albert Bate's lecture on the unabomber at the AoL conference, I though it was put up online here at the diner.


Offline Eddie

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 08:28:10 AM »
I listened to the Bates stuff, I thought. I definitely missed the Unabomber part though.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Online Surly1

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2013, 10:59:21 AM »
That piece by Paul Kingsnorth is a gem. Thank you. That's exactly how I feel about the 'stead --- that I'm building a refuge. At least that's my goal.

And the E. F. Shumacher quote is a good one too:

Nowadays, when I’m faced with digs like this, I like to quote E. F. Schumacher, who replied to the accusation that he was a “crank” by saying, “A crank is a very elegant device. It’s small, it’s strong, it’s lightweight, energy efficient, and it makes revolutions.”

I'll remember that one.

This article is, IMO, the best read of the week so far. Just amazing. Thanks, WHD.

Quote
Schumacher’s riposte reminds us that Ivan Illich was far from being the only thinker to advance a critique of the dehumanizing impacts of megatechnologies on both the human soul and the human body. E. F. Schumacher, Leopold Kohr, Neil Postman, Jacques Ellul, Lewis Mumford, Kirkpatrick Sale, Jerry Mander, Edward Goldsmith—there’s a long roll call of names, thinkers and doers all, promoters of appropriate energy and convivial tools, interrogators of the paradigm. For a while, in the ’60s and ’70s, they were riding high. Then they were buried, by Thatcher and Reagan, by three decades of cheap oil and shopping. Lauded as visionaries at first, at least by some, they became mocked as throwbacks by those who remembered them. Kaczynski’s pipe bombs, plugged with whittled wood, wired up to batteries and hidden inside books, were a futile attempt to spark a revolution from the ashes of their thinking. . .

But things change. Today, as three decades of cheap fuel, free money, and economic enclosure come to a shuddering, collapsing halt, suddenly it’s Thatcher and Reagan and the shrieking, depleting faithful in the Friedmanite think tanks who are starting to look like the throwbacks. Another orthodoxy is in its death throes. What happens next is what interests me, and worries me too.

Sounds like the prevailing zeitgeist here.

Also, the notion of a "progress trap" and the deveoipment of agriculture:

Quote
IN HIS BOOK A Short History of Progress, Ronald Wright coins the term “progress trap.” A progress trap, says Wright, is a short-term social or technological improvement that turns out in the longer term to be a backward step. By the time this is realized—if it ever is—it is too late to change course.

The earliest example he gives is the improvement in hunting techniques in the Upper Paleolithic era, around fifteen thousand years ago. Wright tracks the disappearance of wildlife on a vast scale whenever prehistoric humans arrived on a new continent. As Wright explains: “Some of their slaughter sites were almost industrial in size: 1,000 mammoths at one; more than 100,000 horses at another.” But there was a catch:

    The perfection of hunting spelled the end of hunting as a way of life. Easy meat meant more babies. More babies meant more hunters. More hunters, sooner or later, meant less game. Most of the great human migrations across the world at this time must have been driven by want, as we bankrupted the land with our moveable feasts.

This is the progress trap. Each improvement in our knowledge or in our technology will create new problems, which require new improvements. Each of these improvements tends to make society bigger, more complex, less human-scale, more destructive of nonhuman life, and more likely to collapse under its own weight.

I am glad to know about this site. Great article.

Only problemj is that I have no added another six "must-read" books.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Online RE

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 01:55:32 PM »
I recorded Albert Bate's lecture on the unabomber at the AoL conference, I though it was put up online here at the diner.

No, you never sent me that one.

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Offline DoomerSupport

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 10:42:33 PM »
I recorded Albert Bate's lecture on the unabomber at the AoL conference, I though it was put up online here at the diner.

No, you never sent me that one.

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Damn, let me get it to you.  It was one of the first, so size may have been an issue...   :evil4:


Offline Randy C

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 08:07:33 AM »
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7277

Here is another take on Kaczyinski. This one was a revelation for me, insofar as I was still laboring under the FBI/Federal narrative about who Kaczyinski is. Then I went and read some of Kaczyinski myself. Another case of, Americans will believe whatever the FBI/MSM tell them.

Thank you WDH for posting this piece.  We mow with Austrian scythes and just love them.  I got rid of the string trimmer years ago, hated the noise and smell, and the author is right, gasoline burning yard machines are a religion.  I do have a Gravely two wheeled tractor which is good for bush hogging weeds and pasture as well as garden plowing but I still love mowing with the scythe and yes it takes a long time to learn how to sharpen one.  I'm still learning....

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 08:47:45 AM »
Thank you WDH for posting this piece.  We mow with Austrian scythes and just love them.  I got rid of the string trimmer years ago, hated the noise and smell, and the author is right, gasoline burning yard machines are a religion.
I love my string trimmer... of course, it is a rechargeable electric one, so the only smell is fresh cut grass and the only sound is the whirring of the string.  Scythes are absolutely wonderful for cutting large swathes of tall grass, but I prefer my string trimmer for close work, like around my Square Foot Gardens.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline Randy C

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 12:34:16 PM »
Thank you WDH for posting this piece.  We mow with Austrian scythes and just love them.  I got rid of the string trimmer years ago, hated the noise and smell, and the author is right, gasoline burning yard machines are a religion.
I love my string trimmer... of course, it is a rechargeable electric one, so the only smell is fresh cut grass and the only sound is the whirring of the string.  Scythes are absolutely wonderful for cutting large swathes of tall grass, but I prefer my string trimmer for close work, like around my Square Foot Gardens.

"To ask that question in those terms is to misunderstand what is going on. Brushcutters are not used instead of scythes because they are better; they are used because their use is conditioned by our attitudes toward technology. Performance is not really the point, and neither is efficiency. Religion is the point: the religion of complexity. The myth of progress manifested in tool form. Plastic is better than wood. Moving parts are better than fixed parts. Noisy things are better than quiet things. Complicated things are better than simple things. New things are better than old things. We all believe this, whether we like it or not. It’s how we were brought up."

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Re: Ted Talk: The Wisdom of the Unabomber
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 12:43:31 PM »
New things are better than old things. We all believe this, whether we like it or not. It’s how we were brought up."

Speak for yourself.  I don't believe that, and I never have.

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