Friday, June 22, 2012

The Unabomber Manifesto

Recently I stumbled upon a brilliant essay from Ted Kaczynski, better known as the 'Unabomber' - A name that doesn't do justice to what he stood for. If it were up to me, I would call him the Waldo  of our times although that parallel stops where the bombings begin.

From Wikipedia -

"Kaczynski was born in Chicago, Illinois, where, as an intellectual child prodigy, he excelled academically from an early age. Kaczynski was accepted into Harvard University at the age of 16, where he earned an undergraduate degree, and later earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley at age 25, but resigned two years later.

In 1971, he moved to a remote cabin without electricity or running water, in Lincoln, Montana, where he lived as a recluse while learning survival skills in an attempt to become self-sufficient. He decided to start a bombing campaign after watching the wilderness around his home being destroyed by development.From 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs to targets including universities and airlines, killing 3 people and injuring 23. Kaczynski sent a letter to The New York Times on April 24, 1995 and promised "to desist from terrorism" if the Times or The Washington Post published his manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future (also called the "Unabomber Manifesto"), in which he argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization."

His manifesto can be found here . It is a pretty long read for a manifesto but thoroughly enjoyable for most parts. His world view is completely objective analysis of the consequences of being part of a industrialist society. I do not agree though with his view that we need a revolution and complete dismantling of the system.

The most interesting part for me was his psychoanalysis of the Leftist mind. Examining the case of Indian Naxal movement- It is my opinion that people who are oppressed and part of any Leftist movement are actually yearning for Freedom and their plight is hijacked by the leftist activist coming from middle class backgrounds. The oppressed want to revolt because their freedom are being compromised but if they were aware of the fact that any leftist movement turns into a totalitarian regime which actually causes more suffering and oppression, they would hardly opt for the path they have chosen. The poor and the illiterate whose sufferings are showcased by the activist types, are in it because of the political ignorance. Part of the blame lies in lack of pro Freedom Humanitarian organizations in India as well.

And the Activists are mostly people of a certain kind. 'The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call "feelings of inferiority" and "oversocialization." Feelings of inferiority are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism; but this segment is highly influential.'

I found that what Ted wrote in 90s perfectly describes what personalities like Arundhati Roy have been doing since then. My understanding of the Leftist brain is considerably enriched after reading the manifesto.

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