Industrial Society and Its Future


I recently read through the Unabomber Manifesto by Ted Kaczynski as research for a paper. I took notes summarizing Kaczynski's arguments to help understand everything that was being said. I disagree with Kaczynski's conclusions and by no means condone his actions. Posting these notes so I can come back to them later or maybe someone will find them insightful.

Originally published by the Washington Post in 1995


  1. The Industrial Revolution and development of technology has led to a higher life expectancy among humans at the cost of psychological and physical damage; as well as severe damage to the environment.
  1. Any way of reforming the system to prevent humans from becoming cogs in the system is rejected. The “growing pains” will stop, but we will lose autonomy.

  2. A breakdown or abandonment of the system will be ever more painful as we progress

  3. A call for revolution against the “industrial system”. No timeline. Not political.

  4. Only topics that have been perceived as underrepresented are written about in the Manifesto. Environmental concerns are real, but often discussed, so they aren't really brought up here.

The Psychology of Modern Leftism

  1. People will agree the world has issues, one system of thought on world issues is leftism
  1. Early leftism was closely related to Socialism, and is now fragmented into smaller movements with different motives, (feminists, activists, socialists, etc). Not everyone in these groups is a leftist, but this type of movement describes modern leftism as a whole

  2. Attempting to discuss the two psychological tendencies of modern leftism

  3. “Feelings of inferiority” -- leftism as a whole

“Oversocialization” -- certain sections of the left, but high influence

Feelings of Inferiority

  1. Overall feelings of low-self esteem, guilt, defeatism, etc. Are important for defining the general direction of leftism

  2. People who view everything as derogatory have feelings of inferiority or low self-esteem. Activists for minorities take words without negative meaning and turn them into forbidden words. Scientists paranoid of saying anything that could imply inferiority

  3. The “politically correct” typically are not those from minorities, though they care the most.

  4. Leftists identify with marginalized groups because they see these groups as inferior, while refusing to express it.

  5. Feminists strive to prove women are as strong as men, fearing that women are not as strong.

  6. Leftists hate those that are “strong good successful”, America, Western Civ., white men. They point to war, imperialism, sexism, etc. though those problems exist in all cultures (socialist, primitive).

  7. The left relies on the system to solve problems of the individual. Fearing competition, the leftist feels like a loser.

  8. Art appreciated by the left lacks morals and rationality. Tending towards defeat and despair.

  9. Leftist philosophy rejects reason and objectivity, putting focus on “cultural relativity” socially constructed. Inferiority plays an emotional role in rejecting truth or reality (based on science). A rejection of IQ tests in favour of blaming society for one’s lacking performance.

  10. As opposed to the bully, who feels inferior but believes he can be strong, the leftist only believes in the strength of the collective, whatever mass movement they are a part of.

  11. Masochistic tactics in protest, putting oneself in danger for a cause is preferred. Self-hatred is a leftist trait

  12. Activism can be motivated by morals, but a need for power is often a driving force. Helping minorities is not the actual goal, it is more about express of emotion, a need for power. Why else demonstrate in a violent, hostile manner. Not helping the minority, hostility tends to intensify hatred.
  1. Without problems in society, the left would have to invent problems

  2. This is general tendency of the left, not a description of every leftist


  1. Socialization refers to being raised to function within society. While leftists are typically described as rebels, it can be argued that they are actually “over socialized” (not rebels at all)

  2. Our moral system is so complex it’s impossible to be completely moral at all times. Those who are burdened by the moral system where they feel the need to justify every action, even for things that have non-moral origin, are oversocialized

  3. Being made to feel ashamed for one’s actions or speech as a child can lead to oversocialization. While most people do some minor things they are not supposed to, the oversocialized cannot without feeling guilt. They are powerless, put on a leash by society.

  4. University (excluding STEM) intellectuals, upper middle class, tend to be oversocialized in some way, and have a large effect on the direction of modern leftism.

  5. To rebel, leftists take morally accepted principles and accuse the mainstream of violating those principles. Issues of inequality are typically undisputed yet the left use them for justification of hostility. The main reason inequality is the most important issue in our society is because by discriminating we are effectively wasting resources useful to the “industrial system”

  6. The desire for affirmative action, is to make the black man into a copy of the upper-middle class white man in all aspects that support the industrial system. Be better fathers, educated, climb the corporate ladder, less violence. Preservation of culture: music, clothing, religion. is all superficial

  7. Sometimes breaking fundamental values through violence, always justified for “fighting against racism” or something equally accepted

  8. This is not the whole picture.

  9. Oversocialization is not a problem restricted to the left, more so we are being told how to do things in our lives

The Power Process

  1. Humans have a need for “power process” not quite a “need for power”. 4 elements: goal, effort, attainment & autonomy

  2. Consider the man who has everything. This man has power, but will become demoralized, hedonistic and bored without anything left to achieve. Leisured aristocracies become decadent.

  3. Everyone has basic goals like food and water, but the aristocrat have these without effort and are therefore bored

  4. Failure to achieve important goals = death, failure to achieve non-important goals = demoralization, repeated: depression, low self-esteem

  5. To avoid psychological problems, we need to achieve goals on a regular basis

Surrogate Activities

  1. Some leisured aristocrats turn to artificial goals, such as displaying wealth, science (Hirohito), or hunting

  2. Surrogate activities are goals made up for the sake of fulfillment. “Given a person who spends a lot of time on X, if they had to spend time on interesting tasks related to biological needs, would they still feel the need to do X?” Some goals like finding a relationship are not surrogate, because all people would generally feel deprived without love

  3. In modern (mainstream) society, only minimal effort is required for basic needs. You need moderate intelligence, some training, and obedience. Sciences, artistic creation, athletics, are examples of pursuits people take on for the “fulfillment”. Besides other reasons like self-expression, prestige, and wealth.

  4. People tend to gravitate towards these activities because it allows them to express their autonomy. Satisfying biological needs is mostly handled by the system. These surrogate activities are not as satisfying as other options. The one who chases money will never have enough, the runner will keep pushing to run faster. Never satisfied, never at rest.


  1. For some people direct autonomy isn’t necessary. They can be satisfied with being part of a small group where they feel their voice is heard, working towards a goal together

  2. Some people have little need for autonomy, usually because of identification with a powerful leader or organization. Some have appreciation of raw power, and are willing to exert it under someone else’s command

  3. For most people, not going through the power process, having a goal and making autonomous effort to attain the goal, leads to psychological problems (depression, guit, insatiable hedonism, sleep disorder) -- symptoms similar to caged animals

Sources of Social Problems

  1. It appears that the kinds of problems listed previously were less common in primitive societies compared today. Of course they had their own problems (abuse of women, slavery...)

  2. Modern society puts us in positions that humans have never been in before, and we didn’t evolve to lack involvement in this “power process”

  3. Abnormal conditions in modern society include: lack of small-scale community, higher population density, rapid social change. -- social media bad

  4. Crowding causes stress and aggression. Pre-industrial society has always been rural in nature. technology supports bigger cities and higher density. Having noise making machines, regulation will make people mad, deregulation will make people mad. Without invention, there will be nothing to miss.

  5. Before, nature moving very slowly provided a sense of stability. Today, technology reigns over nature, moving rapidly, not stable.

  6. Conservative want to preserve traditional values but encourage rapid technological growth (economy), not realizing that you can’t have one without the other.

  7. Loss of traditional values is partly due to loss of loyalty to small scale communities. For industrial society to function, the people must be loyal to the system first. They are encouraged to move for opportunity

  8. Having loyalty to your own community is known as nepotism or discrimination in industrial society. Looked down upon, usually inefficient.

  9. Crowding and rapid change cause problems, but don’t account for everything

  10. There were crowded places before and they had less issues. There are rural places now that have some issues

  11. On the American frontier 19th century, they chose isolation; no communities. But didn’t seem to have the same issues we face

  12. The people of the frontier experienced very rapid social changes, yet still were optimistic and self-confident.

  13. The pioneer experiences change by his own choosing and contribution. Modern man feels a sense of change being imposed upon him by the system. Whether creation through change leads to improvement is debatable, but it is at least satisfying

  14. Concludes by saying the deprivation of the power process has likely lead to the problems we face and the manifestation of modern leftism

Disruption of the Power Process in Modern Society

  1. Divide humanity into 3 groups: those satisfied with minimal effort; those satisfied with adequate effort; those never satisfied. Power process fulfills the 2nd group. 3rd group becomes frustrated, defeated, etc.

  2. Modern society pushes people into 1st and 3rd groups. 2nd group consists of surrogate activity “artificial drive”

  3. Primitive society: physical needs are 2nd group; Modern society: physical needs are 1st group, to work a low/middle-end job what’s need is obedience. Little autonomy in work

  4. Social needs (love, relationship, sex) remain in the 2nd group. Except for those with strong drive and seek in excess.
  1. To make up for lack of fulfillment, advertising and marketing come up with artificial drives that require money and therefore effort to achieve. To be satisfied we pursue these made up things and other surrogate activities. The advertising industry is proof that we are sold things we don’t really want

  2. Social critics point to a purposeless feeling in modern society, suggesting the artificial power process isn’t really enough for some (or most) people. We search for meaning. Existentialism as a response to purposelessness of modern life. Lack of security may overshadow purposelessness in recent times, but the problem remains once the left succeeds in establishing security / stability for all. Progress for the sake of progress is not fully satisfying

  3. In regards to the workforce, most people can not achieve their goals autonomously. They either work under someone in a corporation or are bound by government regulation as a small-business or entrepreneur.

  4. People rely on what the system can do for them instead of what they can do for themselves. Expert advice must be followed or chance of success will be low

  5. The human need for security falls into group 3, something that cannot be satisfied. We rely on doctors, company executives, military officials, to make decisions that greatly impact our lives. Leads to a feeling of powerlessness.

  6. Primitive man has a shorter life expectancy, so it appears he has less security than the modern man. The issue is a matter of choice, and the feeling of being able to affect one’s own outcome. You can move at the threat of hunger or fight back against wild animals. There is no individual security against nuclear attacks (or accidents), pollution, and increased taxes.

  1. The primitive man is powerless to disease or other things not of his creation, but they are not man-made. Modern man lives at the whim of other man’s decisions, those he is unable to influence. Feeling humiliated and angry.
  1. Primitive man has security in his own hands. Modern man has his security put into 1st and 3rd group, food/shelter easily obtainable, broad security unattainable despite effort due to the large organization that cannot be influenced by the individual

  2. Many of our impulses are regulated by necessity of the system, causing frustration. You cannot go fast or slow, you must go at the pace of everyone else.

  3. We are generally allowed to do what we like as long as the matters are unimportant to the system. You can fuck anyone you like, you can practice any religion, as long as it doesn’t affect the system. All important matters are heavily regulated.

  1. Regulation is not always done explicitly or through the government. Advertising can be propaganda. There are no rules that you must work for someone else, but the system cannot support everyone as an entrepreneur.

  2. Modern man’s obsession with longevity is a result of having unfulfilled the power process.

  3. In primitive society, the people accept life as it comes in stages. Each stage allows for adequate achievement in the power process. Becoming a hunter, providing for family, etc. The people feel fulfilled with their contribution and accept aging. Modern man feels remorse for not using the body in a serious way, tries to preserve it.

  4. Some might come to the conclusion that society must give the people these opportunities. Being given an opportunity by the system is to be on a leash.

How Some People Adjust

  1. Some people are content with less control and are happy in current society

  2. ^

  3. Some people with exceptional drive find themselves caught up in games that never leave them bored in life (climbing social ladders)

  4. High susceptibility to advertising -- will never be happy with money

  5. Low susceptibility -- happy without much at all

  6. Medium -- can afford enough to satisfy vanity with considerable effort to make money. Still not fully satisfied due to lack of autonomy

  7. Some people live vicariously through organizations and movements, experiencing the power process through them despite the little impact they may have. “Exploited” by fascists, nazis, communists. You will be popular if you make people feel powerful

  8. Some people satisfy themselves through surrogate activity -- getting satisfaction based on what other people deem as important. People’s work towards progression could be seen as something they do to be satisfied, despite the negative consequences

  9. Some people are satisfied in the system, everyone suffers from lack of autonomy

  10. Even if everyone is satisfied in society, it would be better to pursue “real goals”

The Motives of Scientists

  1. Scientists claim that they pursue things based on “curiosity” or “desire to better humanity”. The mathematician is not curious about the chemists work, it is too specialized. If they returned to fundamentals and were to achieve physical needs in an interesting way they would not give a damn about their specialized pursuits. Curiosity does not hold up to the intense effort required for post-graduate specialization.
  1. “Benefiting humanity” is called into question, as lots of scientists focus on areas without direct impact to humanity, and are not otherwise humanitarians.

  2. Scientists work mainly for the fulfillment of doing the work itself.

  3. Scientists can have other motives like money or fame, so it cannot be a completely surrogate activity

  4. Science is a movement, taking part in research we celebrate everyone’s breakthroughs

  5. Science progresses for the sake of the scientists, not society

The Nature of Freedom

  1. The industrial technological revolution can not be reformed to prevent impacting human freedom

  2. Freedom refers to being able to take part in the power process with real goals as an individual, without being made to do anything by organizations. Power to control one’s own circumstances (completely). Having permission to do something is not freedom

  3. Those who lived under “stricter” rule in past societies were comparably more free because it was easy to get around restrictions without technology. Technology governs how free we actually are, not the laws.

  1. Freedom of the press has little impact on the individual, since most media is run by major corporations. Self-publishing seems not possible without violence since a single voice will be drowned out by the mass entertainment
  1. Modern freedoms are implemented for the benefit of the system -- in exchange for responsibilities to that system

  2. Just because someone is free does not mean they are actually free (you can not see outside the box)

Some Principles of History

  1. History is two parts: the unpredictable; long-term “historical” trends

  2. Small changes in long-term trends typically revert after a period of time

  3. If long-term trends were affected by small changes, they couldn’t be long-term trends

  4. A large change to historical trends with alter society as a whole

  5. Changes to trends have unpredictable effects on society; the same change on two different societies will have different effects -- because of the interrelatedness of everything?

  6. Impossible to plan out how society will function

  7. Humans and the network of cause and effect is too complex for prediction -- butterfly effect

  8. Development of society is not determined by rational human choices

  9. 106 follows from the previous paragraphs

  10. Revolution is required over reform for change. The outcomes of revolution can not but planned, but it is known the society as a whole will change due to revolution

  11. Some reference to the American Revolution, not quite an actual revolution and things would have ended up similarly anyway as american politics natural moved towards representative democracy

  12. These are all soft rules with exceptions. The main point is that industrial-technological society cannot be reformed -- requiring revolution

  13. Because reform will have no lasting impact, only the revolutionaries we accept radical and dangerous ideas can make a change to promote freedom

  14. Naive people propose solutions involving technology and freedom. But the outcomes of their solutions will be much different than expected

  15. Highly unlikely that society survives with both technology and freedom

Restriction of Freedom is Unavoidable in Industrial Society

Industrial society requires people to follow regulation and do things (STEM) that they normally wouldn’t do. Some people can’t adjust (rebels, cultists, dropouts). In technologically advanced society decisions must be made for large groups of people (millions) because cooperation is required for things to work (centralized). Technology makes it easier to be affected from other people’s actions.

The system does not exist to help humans, though some of the side-effects of the system do help. We adapt to the needs of the system (more recycling, more STEM, etc.) Humans before technology = economic issues

A sense of autonomy within the system isn’t really authentic, since ultimately the goals for an organization or company are to make money or continue to exist, despite the autonomy given to employees

The Bad Parts of Technology Cannot be Separated From the Good

All disciplines are interconnected, we cannot have medicine w/o computers, chemistry, etc.

Medicine eventually results in eugenics ; morally bad , non-human -- genetics will have to be regulated. The only way to not disrespect every individual's preference is to have no genetic mutation at all -- but society will definitely not allow that. Temptation for power is too high, we can’t not open pandora’s box
### Technology is a More Powerful Social Force Than The Aspiration For Freedom

There is no last compromise between tech and freedom, because tech is forever encroaching on freedom. Technology advancement brings with it regulation and society adapts, taking away freedom to accommodate the new tech. Widespread adoption leads to a lack of choice; technology doesn’t remain optional over time.

Any one major tech advancement is great in isolation, but the system itself still has the described problems as a result.

Technology seems irreversible, taking away computers would be catastrophic in today’s society; unimaginable. The rapid development of tech leads to so many attacks on freedom it’s not possible to keep up -- laws are slow.

Fighting against development is harder, and tech will continue to progress despite minor victories for reform.

Codes of Ethics are always changing or broken, but it is impossible to go back from advancement.

Kaczynski hopes that in the following decades, there will be enough stress on the system (economic & environmental) for freedom to have a stronger force than tech, leading to revolution. Compromise is a fools game, take everything while you can.


Environmental issues still are not being resolved, though the goals and outcomes are pretty clear comparably. The material advantages technology gives makes it hard to argue against in favor of something abstract like freedom. If the environment is saved, it will be for the interest of the system, not humans. Technology will always be in interest of the system.


Revolution is the magic bullet, it promises to solve all problems at once. Revolution is more inspiring to work towards, and thus full commitment will be higher (a revolution requires full commitment).


Pressure on humans by society is normal. Too much pressure and the system breaks down, and will be replaced by something more efficient. There is a limit on how far humans can be pushed, but technology is also changing humans.

  1. Instead of fixing problems that cause depression, we offer drugs to cope.

Human behaviour is changing due to tech. More surveillance means stricter regulation -> modified behaviour. More entertainment serves as distraction (escape) -- something primitive people didn’t need. Child raising techniques and education are being developed to help adjust to the system, individuals suffer from not being able to conform.

Threats (crime, abuse, unsafe sex, corruption, terrorism) to the system will be met with more control over human behaviour

If technological society succeeds, humans will be modified to fit society, not the other way around.

We won’t introduce technological control in a malicious way. Each step will be made in order to help the person in some way. The end result will be inhuman -- lacking authenticity. “Education” on race issues, sex, etc. has positive effects, but puts the decision making in the hands of the state , away from the individual

  1. Mass entertainment is optional, but nearly everyone is dependent on it today (today) despite everyone knowing TV is pretty bad. This is new tech, before it was all local community

Human behaviour will eventually be controlled somehow made possible by technological advances. Most of how we act today is biological. Resistance to control would occur if it was all at once, but tech moves one step at time and we don’t notice the slow changes. We can look to the Industrial Revolution for example of how life can change based on technology.


Currently the system isn’t so good at controlling people. Growing numbers of rebels (environmentalists, nazis, etc). In the success of fully regulating humans, the technology advances into complete control of either singular(ity) or multiple co-existing entities. Science will keep going because progress is fulfilling.

  1. If society breaks down for a period of time, it will be unknown what will happen. Power hungry individuals will want to get the factories back up ASAP.

  2. People who agree should work to disrupt the system. Once disrupted, damage it beyond repair. Human suffering

The revolution will only succeed if there are already existing problems in the system. Waiting to blow the whole thing up will only result in more suffering -- might as well do it now?

Better to fight (and die) for freedom than living a long purposeless life. The current system already creates much suffering among people. Technology causes a lot of problems faster than fixing the ones it solves, the effects of solutions are unpredictable. Solve famine -> overpopulation? It will take a long time to work out the bugs.


If the system is perfected, we could have robots doing everything. Either the robots make their own decisions or we still have the last call. Eventually robots will be too complex for humans, so we lose control; we depend too much to turn them off.

Humans making the decisions either leads to extinction apart from the elite, or such a coddled life that we basically become domestic animals.

If artificial intelligence doesn’t happen, then automation still exists. Higher standards for humans over time, endless competition. Not everyone can be self-actualized in a large system.

In 40 years, the people we are integrated into the system will be more socialized, more engineered to be less authentically human, potentially unrecognizable. Natural selection occurs much slower than technology adaptation.

  1. It would be better to dump the whole stinking system and take the consequences.


The upside to tearing everything down is Nature, which acts opposite to technology and has some aspect of religion to it. A reduction to nature, should allow it to heal and should increase autonomy for individuals due to lack of technology (large networks).

  1. You can’t eat your cake and have it too. Sacrifice what we have

Condones “intellectual” propaganda. For the cause. But to convince smart people using logical arguments. As a matter of strategy, you should avoid blaming the public, despite equal blame. Avoid conflict that isn’t technology vs. nature, as most other conflicts are settled through usage of technology; arms race. Not politics. Not race. The system is the enemy.

You want to portray yourself as a saviour, not a villain.

It might be easier to make a global attack by encouraging globalization.

Destroying industrial society must be the only goal, because goals today always include usage of technology.

  1. The human race with technology is just like an alcoholic with a barrel of wine

The only thing that matters is eliminating modern technology. Everything else may be discarded if shown to be not true.


Small scale technology -- fire, wire etc. stuff that can be used and exists by the individual

Large scale -- electricity, social media, internet, depends on large networks, organizations etc. Can regress and takes a long time to build back up

There’s nothing to say that humans won’t build up to our current state if they started over again. - Math is constant.

Technological improvement only happens under “special conditions”.

  1. If we develop industrial-tech society again, we have no way to predict in 500-1000 years, so we leave those problems to the people of that time


Need to avoid the leftists because they make any movement into their own. Leftist goals are collective, so tech is their friend. Left related to religion in the sense that their beliefs are morally Right and can’t be persuaded using logic.