Comment: "The Unabomber was Right"

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"The Unabomber was Right"

That's the title of an interesting essay over at KK.org: http://kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/02/the_unabomber_w.php

The author contends that Kaczynski, everything else aside, understood that technological society as a system ("the Technium") operates and advances largely in a manner independent of values like freedom and self-actualization, although advances are driven by aggregate values like time-saving convenience. Our nature has had to play catch-up as technological society has demanded increasing specialization and alienation from the natural world, as our environments have been transformed, and our labor has transitioned from one of general skills, to one of skilled mastery in a certain craft, to the Industrial Revolution, which reduced the dignity of work and transformed production from one that required specialized knowledge to a set of mechanical actions.

For a study of the costs of the Industrial Revolution in the North of England, compared with those living nearby in relatively traditional agrarian circumstances, refer to Friedrich Engel's classic monograph:

The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845)
http://www.amazon.com/Condition-Working-Class-England-Prefac...

Now, we have transitioned from the industrial economy into the "information economy," or the "service economy," depending on where you fall. Although technology has made feeding, clothing, and meeting basic needs much easier, saving time and energy, in our lives, this has not really meant freedom. We will always invent new tasks and new chains; the surpluses of the contemporary age mean we can afford to have fewer farmers, but we invent for the need for more layers of management, more administrators, more bureaucrats. The decadence of our era can be measured in the number of PowerPoint slides we blankly stare through, as much as rates of suicide and fatherless homes.

In many ways, I am less of a man than my father, and he was less of a man than his father, who built his an extension to his home with his own two hands as well as a hunting cabin in the woods. And he was less of a man than his father, a master bricklayer. I have more latitude in choices, but I doubt I am genuinely freer.