Sunday, November 03, 2013

dark ecology


orion | I’VE RECENTLY BEEN reading the collected writings of Theodore Kaczynski. I’m worried that it may change my life. Some books do that, from time to time, and this is beginning to shape up as one of them. 

It’s not that Kaczynski, who is a fierce, uncompromising critic of the techno-industrial system, is saying anything I haven’t heard before. I’ve heard it all before, many times. By his own admission, his arguments are not new. But the clarity with which he makes them, and his refusal to obfuscate, are refreshing. I seem to be at a point in my life where I am open to hearing this again. I don’t know quite why. 

Here are the four premises with which he begins the book:
1. Technological progress is carrying us to inevitable disaster.
2. Only the collapse of modern technological civilization can avert disaster.
3. The political left is technological society’s first line of defense against revolution.
4. What is needed is a new revolutionary movement, dedicated to the elimination of technological society.
Kaczynski’s prose is sparse, and his arguments logical and unsentimental, as you might expect from a former mathematics professor with a degree from Harvard. I have a tendency toward sentimentality around these issues, so I appreciate his discipline. I’m about a third of the way through the book at the moment, and the way that the four arguments are being filled out is worryingly convincing. 

Maybe it’s what scientists call “confirmation bias,” but I’m finding it hard to muster good counterarguments to any of them, even the last. I say “worryingly” because I do not want to end up agreeing with Kaczynski. There are two reasons for this. 

Firstly, if I do end up agreeing with him—and with other such critics I have been exploring recently, such as Jacques Ellul and D. H. Lawrence and C. S. Lewis and Ivan Illich—I am going to have to change my life in quite profound ways. Not just in the ways I’ve already changed it (getting rid of my telly, not owning a credit card, avoiding smartphones and e-readers and sat-navs, growing at least some of my own food, learning practical skills, fleeing the city, etc.), but properly, deeply. I am still embedded, at least partly because I can’t work out where to jump, or what to land on, or whether you can ever get away by jumping, or simply because I’m frightened to close my eyes and walk over the edge. Fist tap Nakajima Kikka.

13 comments:

BigDonOne said...

Quite a statement from dude who obviously has a computer and internet connection....
The *REAL* problem is overpopulation and human parasites....

John Kurman said...

My problem with Kaczynski is his fundamental hypocrisy in not practicing what he preached. He regularly resupplied himself with the products of civilization. He had 25 years to separate himself, and live using wood, fur, bone, and stone, but he chose shopping at Walmart instead. Nearly all of his food came from supermarkets. Irony!

makheru bradley said...

This might work if they can figure out how to survive Michigan winters, and if the city does not tax them to death.

http://www.youtube.com/user/BankruptingAmerica

Melissa Gates said...

Good history for a TV serie or movie

CNu said...

Stranger than fiction to be sure...,

CNu said...

Michigan winters will be less severe because of global warming. A 20-40 year timeline and investment horizon, deep subject matter expertise and knowhow, and the resolve to terminate incorrigible 2-legged parasites is all that's required for the post-collapse "pioneers" to thrive in the geography of the former city of Detroit.

CNu said...

I'm guessing he would've been pretty hard-pressed to fabricate bomb-making supplies from wood, fur, bone, and stone - so maybe he was just killing two birds with one stone since he had to go into WallyWorld anyway....,

John Kurman said...

Man's gotta have a hobby.

John Kurman said...

Michigan will be one of the refugia once things go pear-shaped. Denizens will be lauded for their foresight.

Uglyblackjohn said...

The land seems cheap enough, the water plentiful, lots of low-skilled minions in waiting ready for someone to tell them what to do...? If I was from that area, I would snap up as much land (with the requisite water and mineral rights) as I could and begin to lay the groundwork for my little kingdom.

CNu said...

Bears repeating;

minions in waiting ready for someone to tell them what to do

Yup. It's go-time for a pragmatic populism...,

BigDonOne said...

Detroit (Dearborn) is Ground Zero for the Fuzzlamization of America. Be sure to include a mosque or two in your complex, and a sword-sharpening facility....

La Guzman said...

WHORE

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