Review: Industrial Society And Its Future -A Manifesto By Ted Kaczynski

January 23, 2023

Well, I finally did it.
I got a copy of the short (123 page) “Manifesto” by Ted Kaczynski (The “Unibomber”) and gave it a quick read.

“Industrial Society And Its Future” “Manifesto” by Kaczynski (who I will refer to as “T.K.”), was shocking and informative – to a point that I just won’t go.

Just to set some background, let’s take a look at “T.K.’s” Wikipedia page, found here:

Quoting from the Wiki page;

“(T.K.) “is an American domestic terrorist and former mathematics professor.[3][4] Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski killed three people and injured 23 others in a nationwide mail bombing campaign against people he believed to be advancing modern technology and the destruction of the environment. He authored Industrial Society and Its Future, a 35,000-word manifesto and social critique opposing industrialization, rejecting leftism, and advocating for a nature-centered form of anarchism.[5]”

That kind of sums it up.
T.K. Has had years now to think about technology from the confines of a Supermax prison in Colorado, although it appears he may have been transferred to a Federal medical facility after a cancer diagnosis.

Interestingly, while in prison, “Kaczynski befriended Ramzi Yousef and Timothy McVeigh, the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, respectively. The trio discussed religion and politics and formed a friendship which lasted until McVeigh’s execution in 2001.[131]”
(Source, Wikipedia)

Now for the “Manifesto”.

Much of this analysis is simply shocking. The book holds a mirror up to society and reflects some truths, some rants, and some false justification for killing people.
It is clear T.K. hates “Leftists”, and seems to identify as an anarchist. He sees technological “progress” as the fall of modern mankind.

The Manifesto hearkens back to a simpler time, when the stress that people experienced was due to harsh but livable conditions. Now, the stress of modern life is way more complex, though the Manifesto attempts to reveal causes and solutions.
While conventional sources describe it as “the ravings of a madman”, one has to admit T.K.’s brilliance shows clearly.

Nearly every page has quotable passages, even if you may not agree completely with them.

Here is Kaczynski’s theory in a “nutshell”:

“The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system.”

In this respect, his remote life and Manifesto is kind of an Army Field Manual-meets-Brave New World. It touches on propaganda, eugenics, machine technology, and elements of “Luddite” philosophy.
While I can’t agree with everything, I have to admit the guy is brilliant and has really thought through his thesis.

Here is where I draw the line; from page 41 of my copy –

“Even if these writings had many readers, most of these readers would soon have forgotten what they had to read as their minds were flooded by the mass of material to which the media expose them. In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we’ve had to kill people.”

And kill he did.
His bombing campaign killed 3 people and injured 23 others.

Finally, even the Wiki page for T.K. mentions the psychological experiments he went through in college at Harvard. From the Wiki:

“Kaczynski’s lawyers later attributed his hostility towards mind control techniques to his participation in Murray’s study.[21] Some sources have suggested that Murray’s experiments were part of Project MKUltra, the Central Intelligence Agency’s research into mind control.”

While it is tempting to drift into the government mind control theme, the website below does a pretty good job of debunking this notion, and includes a picture of a hand-written letter by T.K. himself addressing this possible myth. The letter is reproduced below:

Debunking the Ted Kaczynski “MK Ultra” myth
Kaczynski letter

All-in-all, “Industrial Society And Its Future” is a valuable thought experiment by a brilliant man deemed “an American terrorist”. This writing is both shocking and has an element of truth – which is what makes it a dangerous “Manifesto”.

A short, inexpensive, and powerful read, necessary as a historical feature.

-John Titus

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