Industrial Society and Its Future, by Ted Kaczynki

Review by Steven J. DiFiore II (authors note, "I took this journey into the mind of a madman so you don't have to")

ubman"The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race"

The opening sentence of an essay by mathematician turned murderer, Ted Kaczynski, is a bold one and sets the tone for what is certainly one of the most interesting essays I've read in quite a while. Generally one would recoil at the mention of the "Unabomber," yet despite this, Industrial Society and Its Future, at 35,000 words, is a surprisingly easy read due to its plain language and a disarming idiosyncratic flair. Kaczynski outlines the fundamentals of a social-political ideology unlike anything in the current zeitgeist. His homily to Neo-Luddism is observant, well researched, and even prescient in some regards. His even-keel delivery is made all the more shocking as it belies the heinous crimes for which he is now imprisoned. The essay is a reflection of a man who personifies the blurry line between genius and madness.

Kaczynski's contention with modernity centers around something he terms "The Power Process" and the ways in which the industrial-technological system and modern society disrupts this process. While his concept of the power process seems a bit contrived, it is nonetheless an interesting perspective. Kaczynki's theory is certainly NOT libertarian. However, neither is it liberal, nor conservative, nor leftist, nor even right-wing. It's altogether different and singular in its focus. With a wide menu of topics, observations, and conclusions, there is certainly a lot to digest with this essay, particularly in the wider context of the times in which it was written. However, don't mistake fascination with advocacy. In his philosophy the author advocates for violence and in his life, he committed wicked acts of violence in a twisted effort to further said philosophy. With that clarification in place, I would certainly recommend reading it, especially if discussions of political philosophies, controversial ideas, and sad ironies are something that appeal to you.

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  • Rob Yates
    published this page in Book Review 2023-04-10 23:25:53 -0400
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