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Such is the aim of the work I have undertaken, and its result will be to show by appeal to reason and fact that nature has set no term to the perfection of the human faculties; that the perfectibility of man is truly indefinite; and that the progress of this perfectibility, from now onwards independent of any power that might wish to halt it, has no other limit than the duration of the globe upon which nature has cast us.

Condorcet, Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1794)

Condorcet wrote his Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind in 1794 while in hiding from the Jacobin régime that presided over the end of the French Revolution. His utopian vision of the progress and the future of the human race in an important way summed up the millennial hopes of his own century. The golden eagle of Enlightenment was spreading its wings; science promised an almost infinite progress of knowledge, freedom was on the march, and the human species embarked on a course of perfectibility without limit. Underlying Condorcet's vision was an economics of happiness at the peak of its historical cycle, a eudonistic progressivism that might astonish our own more pessimistic century.

The year is now 1998, two centuries later. As we approach the end of the millennium another, darker, vision of the future of industrial/ technological society has been disseminated to the North American public. Its source is the so-called "Unabomber", who, like Condorcet, had been on the run from the law (in this case the F.B.I.), until he was captured in April of 1996. He turned out to be Theodore Kaczynski, a brilliant mathematician who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1967, and who taught briefly at Berkeley in the late sixties before retiring from academe to a cabin in Montana in 1971. From 1979 to 1995 Kaczynski either sent or planted 16 bombs (mostly by the post) to a variety of targets (initially the universities and airlines, hence his code name "Una-bomber"). These bombs killed three people (a computer store owner in 1985, an advertising executive in 1994, and the president of the California Forestry Association in 1995), while injuring another 23, including a number of unintended targets (e.g. a secretary, a graduate student, and a research assistant).

Most of his victims were somehow associated with high tech, either in terms of its research or application (e.g. a genetics researcher, computer scientists, computer stores). He meticulously planned his attacks, making his own bombs with bits and pieces of metal and wood foraged from around his Lincoln, Montana cabin, cooking his own explosive mixtures, avoiding any means of identifying his materials (including the use of generic stamps), and taking the bus to distant locales to mail his parcels.

His shining moment came in September 1995, when the Washington Post and the New York Times (under pressure from Attorney General Janet Reno and the F.B.I.) complied with his demands to publish his 35,000 word manifesto "Industrial Society and Its Future" (He promised to cease his bombing campaign if they did so). When Kascynski's brother David noticed some similarities between the manifesto and some of his brother Ted's old letters, he hired a private investigator to look into the connection, eventually informing the F.B.I. of his suspicions. When the government agents swooped down on Kaczynski's Montana cabin, they found within a diary and notes dating back to the sixties containing detailed descriptions of his crimes, the typewriter on which his letters to the newspapers and the manifesto were written, and an extensive collection of bomb-making materials, including a packaged device awaiting only an address (thus putting the lie to his promise to stop his campaign of terror). Kaczynski pleaded guilty and accepted a plea bargain in January 1998, earning a life sentence without chance of parole for his bombing spree.

In this paper we will not attempt to judge the degree to which the Unabomber's crimes are mitigated by his philosophical attack on technology. He is obviously a killer who showed little if any remorse for his victims.[1] Instead, we will consider what he has to say about the economics of happiness in the technology-drenched twentieth century, especially whether the whole project of modernity has been worthwhile for the industrial West.

It is not very surprising that the Unabomber's ideas are not well accepted. Some of the discursive strategies employed to dismiss him show how frustrated academia and the mass media feel towards his cause: guilt by association (since the Unabomber resorted to violence, his ideas must be unreasonable, if not insane); circumstantial ad hominem (the Unabomber is writing to seek revenge for his personal failures); abusive ad hominem (the Unabomber is just a deranged criminal), and so on. We will not dwell on these criticisms. We want to examine the Unabomber's critique of technology and not his personality or the (criminal, irrational) means he has chosen to act out this critique.[2] In particular, we will turn our attention to the social and philosophical implications of the Unabomber's writings.

It is almost impossible to be against "progress": to be so is to rebel against our own, and thus against humanity's, dreams of the future. Yet there is something wrong with accepting, complacently and passively, the fruits of our so-called social and technological "progress" without inquiring into its cost and its actual benefits.

Freud once remarked that people who insist on defending the progress of our civilization follow the model of indulging in "cheap pleasures". They get much enjoyment out of mentally leaping to the dreadful and backward coldness of medieval daily routine and then jumping back, reassured, to the warmer and cosier environment of our own civilization.[3] We would like to submit for your consideration, a half century after Freud, what we take to be the Unabomber's central claim: that the prolongation of life, improvements in health, the speed of modern travel and communications, and the mass availability of consumer goods, although intended to inject fresh capital into the economy of human happiness, have been in significant ways failures, as the Unabomber's manifesto points out. In this sense, Condorcet's utopian vision at the end of the Enlightenment was a delusion. What is worse, the progressivist ideology of western societies at the end of the millennium produces self-perpetuating structures which function by and large independently of any real attempts to increase human happiness.

I A Later-Day Luddite

The Unabomber's central premise is neatly stated in the first paragraph of his manifesto:

The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in "advanced" countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. (U1)
He is, in short, questioning the Industrial Revolution, a central part of the project of Modernity, hook, line, and sinker. Industrialism, and in particular technological inventiveness, is the villain of the piece. Freud, in his Civilization and its Discontents, says much the same thing about the human race's conquest of the forces of nature on this globe, although he is less gloomy about the effects of technological advance on the economics of our happiness:
But they [i.e. men] seem to have observed that this newly-won power over space and time, this subjugation of the forces of nature, which is the fulfilment of a longing that goes back thousands of years, has not increased the amount of pleasurable satisfaction which they may expect from life and has not made them feel happier. From the recognition of this fact we ought to be content to conclude that power over nature is not the only precondition of human happiness, just as it is not the only goal of cultural endeavour; we ought not to infer from it that technical progress is without value for the economics of our happiness. (34-35)
Yet all of this is hardly new. If we go back to the England of the early nineteenth century, we find the rather odd phenomenon of semi-rural workmen resisting Condorcet's tide of modernity by smashing its engines, the machines of the early industrial revolution (mostly the steam-powered looms of the early fabric mills). The Unabomber, as the media has quite clearly branded him, is a latter-day Luddite, whose central message is that industrial/technological society has a "progressive" logic of its own, much as the Hegelian dialectic drives towards the Absolute Spirit regardless of individual wills. He says that:
While technological progress AS A WHOLE continually narrows our sphere of freedom, each new technical advance CONSIDERED BY ITSELF appears to be desirable. Electricity, indoor plumbing, rapid long-distance communications . . . how could one argue against any of these things, or against any other of the innumerable technical advances that have made modern society?... Yet... all these technical advances taken together have created a world in which the average man's fate is no longer in his own hands or in the hands of his neighbors and friends, but in those of politicians, corporation executives and remote, anonymous technicians and bureaucrats whom he as an individual has no power to influence. (U128)
Even though individually, human decisions to introduce advanced communications systems, labour-saving devices, fast methods of transportation, etc. make our lives easier and better, overall, these changes have the unintended consequence of restricting our freedoms and disempowering us. Also, as Charles Taylor notes, the rituals and norms of our society take on a purely instrumental significance, leading to "the disenchantment of the world" (1991: 3).

In the dark science-fiction future that awaits us, according to the Unabomber, we will come to a time when the machines have totally taken over, and we have become their servants, instead of they being our tools:

As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decisions for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better results than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won't be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide. (U173)
His conclusion is simple: there cannot be a lasting "compromise between technology and freedom, because technology is by far the more powerful social force and continually encroaches on freedom through REPEATED compromises" (U125). His proposed cure is revolution, a rejection of the industrial system and laissez-faire technological societies.

His conclusions and proposed cures may not be entirely valid and acceptable, but they serve an important purpose: they are the best illustration of a special contemporary branch of the Luddite movement, the one we will refer to, for the lack of a better term, as the Neo-Luddite movement. It is customary to say that the original Luddites were opposed to technology because it threatened their way of life.This claim needs some clarification. The Luddites did not loath technology in general (for example, they did not find it necessary to rebel against medical or military technology); they loathed technology insofar as it interfered with what they perceived as their right to work. This aspect of the Luddite movement is by no means confined to a radical fringe: as a matter of fact, this traditional Luddite concern is still very high on the most labour unions' agenda.

The Neo-Luddite movement, in contrast, is characterised by its focus on the autonomy of modern technology. To say that modern technology is autonomous is to claim that its growth is already capable of continuing independently of human (individual or collective) decisions to control it. Moreover, the Unabomber (as a Neo- Luddite) points out that modern technology will gradually replace man-made decisions with machine-made decisions because the latter are better informed and more accurate (largely because of the growing complexity of factors relevant to decisions). Modern technology is not only autonomous; it is capable of dominating individual human lives, as well as cultures and societies. The "repeated compromises" with technology that the Unabomber talks about are made in the unconscious substructures of our society, appearing before the ordinary citizen as individually faultless faits accomplis.

II The Cultural Dominance of Surrogate Activities

The Unabomber defines a "surrogate activity" as an activity that is "directed towards an artificial goal that people set up for themselves merely in order to have some goal to work toward, or let us say, merely for the sake of the 'fulfilment' that they get from pursuing the goal" (U39). Since only minimal effort is necessary to satisfy one's physical needs, modern industrial society has witnessed a huge expansion of surrogate activities. The best illustration of this is the increasing market presence of entertainment, leisure, sport, and travel as the major commodities of the Western world. Aside from a sense of fulfilment, surrogate activities enable people to attain some sense of self-direction and personal perfection. Both are largely impossible to attain at one's work-place.

Of course, there are interesting cases of overlap and mutual interaction between one's surrogate activities and one's work activities. For example, research in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities consists largely of surrogate activities. Researchers involved in these kinds of projects often see through their own illusion of usefulness, only to face the blank wall of the larger, societal, illusion of usefulness that made these projects possible. Thus, for example, a referee who is sitting on an adjudication board of a large government or corporate research foundation trying to determine the "usefulness" of individual research projects is herself engaged in a (much wider) surrogate activity, despite her self-delusion of fulfilling a socially useful task.

In late capitalist societies, even work can have a strongly surrogate quality to it. In the modern contemporary job market, it is sufficient to, as the Unabomber points out, "go through a training program to acquire some petty technical skill, then come to work on time and exert very modest effort needed to hold a job. The only requirements are a moderate amount of intelligence and, most of all, OBEDIENCE" (U39). A typical employee of a large corporation or a huge company recognizes very quickly that his/her efforts do not contain, or even allow for, any autonomy in satisfying one's biological needs. The effects of this person's efforts are very often abstract by their nature; they are altered, modified and even annihilated by the work of others around him or her. One is increasingly frustrated by a lack of ability to define, control, or even to recognize the fruits of one's labours.

That is why surrogate activities are so appealing: they offer very palpable results, despite their illusory and non-essential nature. One feels empowered; one feels in control of things and events. Yet this feeling of satisfaction hardly helps build a sense of real achievement for those living in industrial civilizations.

III The Entertainment Industry as Cultural Soma

As social critics of consumer capitalism have long pointed out, the entertainment industry (within which we might include at least the fringes of the mass media) acts like soma in Huxley's Brave New World, drugging the beleaguered consuming masses into blank submission to the imperatives of techno-industrialism. As the Unabomber puts it in his manifesto:

The entertainment industry serves as an important psychological tool of the system, possibly even when it is dishing out large amounts of sex and violence. Entertainment provides modern man with an essential means of escape. While absorbed in television, videos, etc., he can forget stress, anxiety, frustration, dissatisfaction. Many primitive peoples, when they don't have work to do, are quite content to sit for hours at a time doing nothing at all, because they are at peace with themselves and their world. But most modern people must be constantly occupied or entertained, otherwise they get "bored," i.e., they get fidgety, uneasy, irritable. (U147)
Most modern people need the constant buzz of entertainment, at least in their off-work hours, to distract them from a sense of their fundamental unhappiness, boredom, and uselessness. This is true all over the world: witness the scene in the Italian movie L'America where a group of Albanian peasants sit glued to a TV set featuring an Italian version of Jeopardy, their dilapidated cantina surrounded by empty concrete pillboxes and brutal poverty, lasting monuments to Enver Hoxha's paranoia. Yet this is both a way of relieving stress and a basic requirement of the consumer economy. As Lasch puts it, the modern manufacturer "has to 'educate' the masses in the culture of consumption", with advertising producing a product of its own: "the consumer, perpetually unsatisfied, restless, anxious, bored." (1979: 136-7) Thus the cultural soma of mass entertainment is big business, not just a pleasant pastime. And if Lyotard, Bell, and other prophets of the post-industrial "information economy" are right, mass entertainment will become increasingly more accessible, and also more important for the consuming masses who will, presumably, have more spare time to indulge in it. Of course, we do not "have" to succumb to this cultural soma:
Our use of mass entertainment is "optional": No law requires us to watch television, listen to the radio, read magazines. Yet mass entertainment is a means of escape and stress-reduction on which most of us have become dependent. Everyone complains about the trashiness of television, but almost everyone watches it. A few have kicked the TV habit, but it would be a rare person who could get along today without using ANY form of mass entertainment. (Yet until quite recently in human history most people got along very nicely with no other entertainment than that which each local community created for itself.) (U156)
Like technology in general, although each new addition to the menu of mass entertainment is seen as an addition to our general economics of happiness, the net effect is to deprive us of face-to-face, communal forms of entertainment, to cocoon us up with our home entertainment centers, our Internet accesses, and our ever-expanding cable TV networks. [4]

IV The Futility of Politics in Late Industrial Societies

"Democracy" has become one of the most powerful tools of deception today. As Saul puts it in his The Doubter's Companion (1994: 94), democracy is an "existential system in which words are more important than actions". Consider, for example, the latest US presidential election: what kind of a social change can an individual voter really effect? There are two forces particularly active in the decay of this once noble and meaningful political notion: technology and capitalism. On the one hand, advanced technology has created a new set of governors to replace the old-fashioned demagogues and petty bosses. As Lasch reports (1979: 30), a new ruling class of administrators, bureaucrats, technicians, and experts has appeared. These experts work hard on creating mass images extolling the virtues of consumption, which are then fed to the media, which then feeds them to the general public, making them feel empowered. "An individual lacking goals or power joins a movement or an organization, adopts its goals as his own, then works towards these goals" (U83). A good illustration of the resulting attitude, which is akin to the mentality of sports fans rooting fervently for the highly paid athletic mercenaries who happen to be in the employ of the local team that year, is the way that CNN shapes American global policies. The American public's emotional, knee-jerk reactions are manipulated by selectively chosen scenes of blood and pain, and then exploited as so-called "public support" for U.S. "populist" colonial policies. In simple words, Americans feel happy to shape the power of the U.S. military machine when it leaves home to punish the "unspeakable" crimes of an everchanging international cartel of bad guys like Manuel Norriega, Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Mohammed Adid (just as the cowboys in Hollywood epics of an earlier day punished the Indians for their unspeakably uncivilized behaviour).

Capitalism, somewhat paradoxically if we listen to the pronouncements of libertarians and contractarians, thrives in sophisticated and highly evolved authoritarian social systems. Hitler's idea of state capitalism is a wonderful illustration of this social phenomenon. Engaging in a colonial war, or simply selling arms for that matter, is the best recipe for rapid economic growth. Policies, debates, elections, legislatures, and private research are employed to gloss over a powerful but often disguised desire for economic power and and for the status quo by the ruling classes. The C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto and the Fraser Institute of Vancouver are the best examples of "non-partisan" institutions engaged in this kind of "glossing over" of power relations in our country (Canada, that is).

In a democracy of this sort, everyone is free to do whatever they please. There is one restriction, however: "We can do anything we like as long as it is unimportant" (U72). In capitalist and other technologically advanced societies control is therefore exercised through extremely subtle and indirect coercion and other systems of manipulation both by the state and by non-governmental institutions (such as the mass media, corporations, etc.). Quite often this indirect coercion is effected by means of white noise, i.e. information overload that drowns out most, if not all, radical voices.

V Manufacturing Consent

Another theme of social dissent that the Unabomber points out is that the media is by and large not responsive to the needs of the average citizen of the Industrial West. As Chomsky suggests, the job of the Western media is to manufacture consent. Reading reports of the Unabomber's manifesto makes this clear: the Toronto Globe and Mail (September 20, 1995) quotes Kirkpatrick Sale to the effect that the manifesto is the work of a "limited and tunnel-visioned man, with a careful and dogged but somewhat incoherent mind, filled with a catalogue of long-standing prejudices and hatreds, academically trained, occasionally inventive, purposeful, and humourless". Needless to say, Mr. Sale is attempting to manufacture a bit of consent himself, consent to the notion that the manifesto is not worth considering as a serious attempt at social critique given its source. This is a wonderful example of the guilt by association fallacy.

The Unabomber discusses the uselessness of the freedom of the press in one long paragraph. He starts off by noting that this freedom is useful for limiting the concentration of political power. But, he says, it is ...

...of very little use to the average citizen as an individual. The mass media are mostly under the control of large organizations that are integrated into the system. Anyone who has a little money can have something printed, or can distribute it on the Internet or in some such way, but what he has to say will be swamped by the vast volume of material put out by the media, hence it will have no practical effect. To make an impression on society with words is therefore almost impossible for most individuals and small groups.... (U96)
The old eighteenth-century dream of a republic of enlightened citizens engaging in public debate on the public good has been replaced by the reality, in democratic states, of consumer-citizens free to strive for happiness defined in terms of their purchasing power, but with little if any say in political management of their affairs. It is a well known fact that the press must at least be highly selective in its presentation of what it considers to be the "news", whether or not it can be accused of presenting the point of view of the interests which own it (as opposed to any sense of the common good). But in addition, the media is largely immune to the description and depiction of the everyday and the commonplace: it feeds (as Oliver Stone showed with so much colour and noise in his film Natural Born Killers) on the bizarre, the sexy, and the violent. The Unabomber is well aware of this, saying so in the second half of his paragraph on the media:
...Take us (FC) for example. If we had never done anything violent and had submitted the present writings to a publisher, they probably would not have been accepted. If they had been accepted and published, they probably would not have attracted many readers, because it's more fun to watch the entertainment put out by the media than to read a sober essay. Even if these writings had had many readers, most of these readers would soon have forgotten what they had 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. (U96)
What is the result? The mass media, with its cult of celebrity and its celebration of glamour and excitement, have made us into nations of fans. "The media give substance to and thus intensify narcissistic dreams of fame and glory, encourage the common man to identify himself with the stars and to hate the "herd", and make it more and more difficult to accept the banality of everyday existence" (Lasch 1979: 55-56). Like Mickey and Mallory in Stone's film, the Unabomber felt that he had to commit acts of violence to get on the 11 o'clock news. Of course, this act is glowingly inconsistent with the Unabomber's basic principles: he ends up using the media strategies most despised by his own theories.

VI Culture and Happiness

The Unabomber is asking much the same questions, although in a less eloquent fashion, that Freud asked in his Civilization and its Discontents. Freud suggests there that in becoming civilized humankind is forced to massively repress or sublimate its basic sexual and aggressive drives, these repressions coming out in neuroses and psychoses on the one end, and in art, science, and labour on the other. His conclusion is particularly striking, and parallels the Unabomber's own diagnosis of the state of health of industrial civilization:

If the development of civilization has such a far-reaching similarity to the development of the individual and if it employs the same methods, may we not be justified in reaching the diagnosis that, under the influence of cultural urges, some civilizations, or some epochs of civilizations - possibly the whole of mankind - have become 'neurotic'?" (1949: 91)
In his An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1949: 42) he repeats this point in a slightly different light, tying it in to the basic question that interests both us and the Unabomber, the economics of happiness in what an Enlightenment Scot like Adam Ferguson or John Millar would have called "polished" or "civilized" societies: "We must therefore not forget to include the influence of civilization among the determinants of neurosis. It is easy, as we can see, for a barbarian to be healthy; for a civilized man it is hard."

The Unabomber seems to be suggesting that we return to an unpolished, uncivilized, more self-reliant state in order to inject fresh capital into the economics of human happiness. Political ideologies will not aid us in escaping from the dark wood of error that is the technological-industrial system: the socialist experiments in the former Eastern bloc have proven this quite well. The alienation, the never-ending restlessness, the feeling that we are never "at home" under late capitalist consumer economies, despite the obvious (in an historically comparative sense, at least) affluence all around us, has systemic or structural causes. As the Unabomber says:

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. This has nothing to do with the political or social ideology that may pretend to guide the technological system. It is the fault of technology, because the system is guided not by ideology but by technical necessity. (U119)
We should not expect to find any controlling techno-wizards behind the curtain of modern media, industry, and educational institutions. These are just the pure simulacra of conspiracy theorists. The Unabomber's manifesto instead suggests that it is a category mistake of millennial proportions to confuse scientific and technological progress with the increase of human happiness. He believed that he had to kill people to make his point. We certainly do not endorse his actions here. However, it does not follow that his ideas are not worth considering.

The Unabomber's Manifesto asks the type of big questions that great minds of the past have asked, before philosophy made its twentieth-century retreat into university-bred neo-scholasticism.[5] These include questions such as the value of never- ending technological progress for our economics of happiness, whether modern democratic politics and the mass media are in any way authentic expressions of the popular will, and whether contemporary techno-industrial societies have lost any real ability to shape their collective destinies. The Unabomber's Manifesto stands out as the most radical version of the Neo-Luddite movement. The latter is driven by a growing concern that modern technology has assumed a life of its own, a life that is not only impossible to control but that threatens to engulf humanity and eventually lead it down the path of certain destruction. Only with this concern in mind can the big philosophical questions, mentioned earlier in this paragraph, be answered. These are, in our mind, the lessons worth learning from the Unabomber's Manifesto.

We close with a passage from Condorcet, where he describes the state of affairs as he sees it at the end of the Age of Reason. It might equally apply to the state of affairs at the end of the millennium in the industrial West:

We observe that the labours of recent ages have done much for the perfection of the human race; that they have done much for the honor of man, something for his liberty, but so far almost nothing for his happiness. At a few points our eyes are dazzled with a brilliant light; but thick darkness still covers an immense stretch of the horizon. There are a few circumstances from which the philosopher can take consolation; but he is still afflicted by the spectacle of the stupidity, slavery, barbarism and extravagance of mankind; and the friend of humanity can find unmixed pleasure only in tasting the sweet delights of hope for the future. (Condorcet, Sketch, "The Tenth Epoch")


[1] The U.S. government's sentencing memorandum attempts to downplay Kaczynski's political motives for his attacks. It quotes selectively from his journals to make the case that his homicidal impulses preceded by several years his concerns with technology. Perhaps the key quotation is this April 1971 journal entry:

"My motive for doing what I am going to do is simply personal revenge. I do not expect to accomplish anything by it... [the public attention] may help to stimulate public interest in the technology question and thereby improve the changes of stopping technology before it is too late... I have no way of knowing whether my action will do more good than harm. I certainly don't claim to be an altruist or to be acting for the "good" (whatever that is) of the human race. I act merely from a desire for revenge."
This bespeaks a certain disengaged nihilism reminiscent of Dostoevky's Raskolnikov. One suspects, however, that there might be a broader context to situate this quotation in: the memorandum mentions that Kaczynski's cabin contained "thousands of pages" of handwritten and typed documents.

[2] In a 1996 article ("For the Greater Good"), People magazine attempts to buttress the bourgeois order in America in answering the question, how could Ted Kaczynski have turned out so bad, given his early brilliance and social advantages, when David Kaczynski turned out so well (so well, in fact, that he felt it is social duty to turn in his own brother)? In answering this query, we discover that young Ted was a loner, playing in his high school band even though "there was a missing quality to his music", loving mathematics more than girls; in contrast, the young David was outgoing, played baseball and basketball, and married his high school sweetheart. The coup de grace came when Ted couldn't be bothered to attend his estranged father's funeral (he committed suicide in 1990), just as Camus's outsider couldn't find the emotion to cry at his mother's funeral. There is a certain defensive hypocrisy in such popular journalism.

[3] In Civilization and its Discontents (p.35) he talks of "the voice of pessimistic criticism" that makes itself heard, warning us that most of our satisfactions "follow the model of the 'cheap enjoyment' extolled in the anecdote - the enjoyment obtained by putting a bare leg from under the bedclothes on a cold winter night and drawing it in again." Of course, we can hear this voice again in our own day in survivalists, bungee-jumpers, and university-employed Marxists.

[4] In the 500-channel universe, will we ever have the incentive to leave home, except for those poor droogs who still have to go to work?

[5] We mean by "neo-scholasticism" the tendency for academics to use obscure and arcane terminology within each of their disciplines, thereby excluding the general mass of educated and concerned citizens from their debates. These languages thus act as gatekeepers barring entry, for most people, to academic debates, as the Canadian thinker John Ralston Saul has so effectively outlined.


Condorcet, Marquis de (1955). Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind. Trans. June Barraclough. New York: Noonday Press.

Freud, Sigmund (1949). An Outline of Psychoanalysis. Trans. James Strachey. New York: Norton.

Freud, Sigmund (1961). Civilization and its Discontents. Trans. James Strachey. New York: Norton.

Lasch, Christopher (1979). The Culture of Narcissism. New York: Warner.

Sale, Kirkpatrick (1995). "Unabomber's Secret Treatise: Is There Method in his Madness?" The Nation, September 25.

Saul, John Ralston (1994). The Doubter's Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Taylor, Charles (1991). The Malaise of Modernity. Toronto: Anasi.

The Unabomber (aka "FC") Industrial Society and its Future. Retrieved off the Internet, October 1995. Published in the Washington Post. Quoted in our text by paragraph number.

"For the Greater Good". People, April 22, 1996.

U.S. vs. Kaczynski. Government's Sentencing Memorandum. April 28, 1998. Court TV Online Legal Documents.

Nebosja Kujundzic is Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada and Doug Mann is Teaching Assistant at the University of Waterloo, Canada

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