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They Live


Posts : 210
Join date : 2009-10-23


excerpt from the "Industrial Society and Its Future" (also called the "Unabomber Manifesto")

114. As explained in paragraph 65-67, 70-73, modern man is strapped
down by a network of rules and regulations, and his fate depends on
the actions of persons remote from him whose decisions he cannot
influence. This is not accidental or a result of the arbitrariness of
arrogant bureaucrats. It is necessary and inevitable in any
technologically advanced society. The system HAS TO regulate human
behavior closely in order to function. At work, people have to do what
they are told to do, otherwise production would be thrown into chaos.
Bureaucracies HAVE TO be run according to rigid rules. To allow any
substantial personal discretion to lower-level bureaucrats would
disrupt the system and lead to charges of unfairness due to
differences in the way individual bureaucrats exercised their
discretion. It is true that some restrictions on our freedom could be
eliminated, but GENERALLY SPEAKING the regulation of our lives by
large organizations is necessary for the functioning of
industrial-technological society. The result is a sense of
powerlessness on the part of the average person. It may be, however,
that formal regulations will tend increasingly to be replaced by
psychological tools that make us want to do what the system requires
of us. (Propaganda [14], educational techniques, "mental health"
programs, etc.)

115. The system HAS TO force people to behave in ways that are
increasingly remote from the natural pattern of human behavior. For
example, the system needs scientists, mathematicians and engineers. It
can't function without them. So heavy pressure is put on children to
excel in these fields. It isn't natural for an adolescent human being
to spend the bulk of his time sitting at a desk absorbed in study. A
normal adolescent wants to spend his time in active contact with the
real world. Among primitive peoples the things that children are
trained to do are in natural harmony with natural human impulses.
Among the American Indians, for example, boys were trained in active
outdoor pursuits -- just the sort of things that boys like. But in our
society children are pushed into studying technical subjects, which
most do grudgingly.

116. Because of the constant pressure that the system exerts to modify
human behavior, there is a gradual increase in the number of people
who cannot or will not adjust to society's requirements: welfare
leeches, youth-gang members, cultists, anti-government rebels, radical
environmentalist saboteurs, dropouts and resisters of various kinds.

117. In any technologically advanced society the individual's fate
MUST depend on decisions that he personally cannot influence to any
great extent. A technological society cannot be broken down into
small, autonomous communities, because production depends on the
cooperation of very large numbers of people and machines. Such a
society MUST be highly organized and decisions HAVE TO be made that
affect very large numbers of people. When a decision affects, say, a
million people, then each of the affected individuals has, on the
average, only a one-millionth share in making the decision. What
usually happens in practice is that decisions are made by public
officials or corporation executives, or by technical specialists, but
even when the public votes on a decision the number of voters
ordinarily is too large for the vote of any one individual to be
significant. [17] Thus most individuals are unable to influence
measurably the major decisions that affect their lives. Their is no
conceivable way to remedy this in a technologically advanced society.
The system tries to "solve" this problem by using propaganda to make
people WANT the decisions that have been made for them, but even if
this "solution" were completely successful in making people feel
better, it would be demeaning.

118 Conservatives and some others advocate more "local autonomy."
Local communities once did have autonomy, but such autonomy becomes
less and less possible as local communities become more enmeshed with
and dependent on large-scale systems like public utilities, computer
networks, highway systems, the mass communications media, the modern
health care system. Also operating against autonomy is the fact that
technology applied in one location often affects people at other
locations far away. Thus pesticide or chemical use near a creek may
contaminate the water supply hundreds of miles downstream, and the
greenhouse effect affects the whole world.

119. 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. [18] Of course the system does satisfy many
human needs, but generally speaking it does this only to the extent
that it is to the advantage of the system to do it. It is the needs of
the system that are paramount, not those of the human being. For
example, the system provides people with food because the system
couldn't function if everyone starved; it attends to people's
psychological needs whenever it can CONVENIENTLY do so, because it
couldn't function if too many people became depressed or rebellious.
But the system, for good, solid, practical reasons, must exert
constant pressure on people to mold their behavior to the needs of the
system. Too much waste accumulating? The government, the media, the
educational system, environmentalists, everyone inundates us with a
mass of propaganda about recycling. Need more technical personnel? A
chorus of voices exhorts kids to study science. No one stops to ask
whether it is inhumane to force adolescents to spend the bulk of their
time studying subjects most of them hate. When skilled workers are put
out of a job by technical advances and have to undergo "retraining,"
no one asks whether it is humiliating for them to be pushed around in
this way. It is simply taken for granted that everyone must bow to
technical necessity and for good reason: If human needs were put
before technical necessity there would be economic problems,
unemployment, shortages or worse. The concept of "mental health" in
our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual
behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without
showing signs of stress.

120. Efforts to make room for a sense of purpose and for autonomy
within the system are no better than a joke. For example, one company,
instead of having each of its employees assemble only one section of a
catalogue, had each assemble a whole catalogue, and this was supposed
to give them a sense of purpose and achievement. Some companies have
tried to give their employees more autonomy in their work, but for
practical reasons this usually can be done only to a very limited
extent, and in any case employees are never given autonomy as to
ultimate goals -- their "autonomous" efforts can never be directed
toward goals that they select personally, but only toward their
employer's goals, such as the survival and growth of the company. Any
company would soon go out of business if it permitted its employees to
act otherwise. Similarly, in any enterprise within a socialist system,
workers must direct their efforts toward the goals of the enterprise,
otherwise the enterprise will not serve its purpose as part of the
system. Once again, for purely technical reasons it is not possible
for most individuals or small groups to have much autonomy in
industrial society. Even the small-business owner commonly has only
limited autonomy. Apart from the necessity of government regulation,
he is restricted by the fact that he must fit into the economic system
and conform to its requirements. For instance, when someone develops a
new technology, the small-business person often has to use that
technology whether he wants to or not, in order to remain competitive.
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