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 HUMAN RACE AT A CROSSROADS

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PostSubject: HUMAN RACE AT A CROSSROADS   Thu 12 Nov 2009, 1:33 am

excerpt from the "Industrial Society and Its Future" (also called the "Unabomber Manifesto")
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Industrial_Society_and_Its_Future


HUMAN RACE AT A CROSSROADS

161. But we have gotten ahead of our story. It is one thing to develop
in the laboratory a series of psychological or biological techniques
for manipulating human behavior and quite another to integrate these
techniques into a functioning social system. The latter problem is the
more difficult of the two. For example, while the techniques of
educational psychology doubtless work quite well in the "lab schools"
where they are developed, it is not necessarily easy to apply them
effectively throughout our educational system. We all know what many
of our schools are like. The teachers are too busy taking knives and
guns away from the kids to subject them to the latest techniques for
making them into computer nerds. Thus, in spite of all its technical
advances relating to human behavior the system to date has not been
impressively successful in controlling human beings. The people whose
behavior is fairly well under the control of the system are those of
the type that might be called "bourgeois." But there are growing
numbers of people who in one way or another are rebels against the
system: welfare leaches, youth gangs cultists, satanists, nazis,
radical environmentalists, militiamen, etc..

162. The system is currently engaged in a desperate struggle to
overcome certain problems that threaten its survival, among which the
problems of human behavior are the most important. If the system
succeeds in acquiring sufficient control over human behavior quickly
enough, it will probably survive. Otherwise it will break down. We
think the issue will most likely be resolved within the next several
decades, say 40 to 100 years.

163. Suppose the system survives the crisis of the next several
decades. By that time it will have to have solved, or at least brought
under control, the principal problems that confront it, in particular
that of "socializing" human beings; that is, making people
sufficiently docile so that their behavior no longer threatens the
system. That being accomplished, it does not appear that there would
be any further obstacle to the development of technology, and it would
presumably advance toward its logical conclusion, which is complete
control over everything on Earth, including human beings and all other
important organisms. The system may become a unitary, monolithic
organization, or it may be more or less fragmented and consist of a
number of organizations coexisting in a relationship that includes
elements of both cooperation and competition, just as today the
government, the corporations and other large organizations both
cooperate and compete with one another. Human freedom mostly will have
vanished, because individuals and small groups will be impotent
vis-a-vis large organizations armed with supertechnology and an
arsenal of advanced psychological and biological tools for
manipulating human beings, besides instruments of surveillance and
physical coercion. Only a small number of people will have any real
power, and even these probably will have only very limited freedom,
because their behavior too will be regulated; just as today our
politicians and corporation executives can retain their positions of
power only as long as their behavior remains within certain fairly
narrow limits.

164. Don't imagine that the systems will stop developing further
techniques for controlling human beings and nature once the crisis of
the next few decades is over and increasing control is no longer
necessary for the system's survival. On the contrary, once the hard
times are over the system will increase its control over people and
nature more rapidly, because it will no longer be hampered by
difficulties of the kind that it is currently experiencing. Survival
is not the principal motive for extending control. As we explained in
paragraphs 87-90, technicians and scientists carry on their work
largely as a surrogate activity; that is, they satisfy their need for
power by solving technical problems. They will continue to do this
with unabated enthusiasm, and among the most interesting and
challenging problems for them to solve will be those of understanding
the human body and mind and intervening in their development. For the
"good of humanity," of course.

165. But suppose on the other hand that the stresses of the coming
decades prove to be too much for the system. If the system breaks down
there may be a period of chaos, a "time of troubles" such as those
that history has recorded: at various epochs in the past. It is
impossible to predict what would emerge from such a time of troubles,
but at any rate the human race would be given a new chance. The
greatest danger is that industrial society may begin to reconstitute
itself within the first few years after the breakdown. Certainly there
will be many people (power-hungry types especially) who will be
anxious to get the factories running again.

166. Therefore two tasks confront those who hate the servitude to
which the industrial system is reducing the human race. First, we must
work to heighten the social stresses within the system so as to
increase the likelihood that it will break down or be weakened
sufficiently so that a revolution against it becomes possible. Second,
it is necessary to develop and propagate an ideology that opposes
technology and the industrial society if and when the system becomes
sufficiently weakened. And such an ideology will help to assure that,
if and when industrial society breaks down, its remnants will be
smashed beyond repair, so that the system cannot be reconstituted. The
factories should be destroyed, technical books burned, etc.

HUMAN SUFFERING




167. The industrial system will not break down purely as a result of
revolutionary action. It will not be vulnerable to revolutionary
attack unless its own internal problems of development lead it into
very serious difficulties. So if the system breaks down it will do so
either spontaneously, or through a process that is in part spontaneous
but helped along by revolutionaries. If the breakdown is sudden, many
people will die, since the world's population has become so overblown
that it cannot even feed itself any longer without advanced
technology. Even if the breakdown is gradual enough so that reduction
of the population can occur more through lowering of the birth rate
than through elevation of the death rate, the process of
de-industrialization probably will be very chaotic and involve much
suffering. It is naive to think it likely that technology can be
phased out in a smoothly managed orderly way, especially since the
technophiles will fight stubbornly at every step. Is it therefore
cruel to work for the breakdown of the system? Maybe, but maybe not.
In the first place, revolutionaries will not be able to break the
system down unless it is already in deep trouble so that there would
be a good chance of its eventually breaking down by itself anyway; and
the bigger the system grows, the more disastrous the consequences of
its breakdown will be; so it may be that revolutionaries, by hastening
the onset of the breakdown will be reducing the extent of the
disaster.

168. In the second place, one has to balance the struggle and death
against the loss of freedom and dignity. To many of us, freedom and
dignity are more important than a long life or avoidance of physical
pain. Besides, we all have to die some time, and it may be better to
die fighting for survival, or for a cause, than to live a long but
empty and purposeless life.

169. In the third place, it is not all certain that the survival of
the system will lead to less suffering than the breakdown of the
system would. The system has already caused, and is continuing to
cause , immense suffering all over the world. Ancient cultures, that
for hundreds of years gave people a satisfactory relationship with
each other and their environment, have been shattered by contact with
industrial society, and the result has been a whole catalogue of
economic, environmental, social and psychological problems. One of the
effects of the intrusion of industrial society has been that over much
of the world traditional controls on population have been thrown out
of balance. Hence the population explosion, with all that it implies.
Then there is the psychological suffering that is widespread
throughout the supposedly fortunate countries of the West (see
paragraphs 44, 45). No one knows what will happen as a result of ozone
depletion, the greenhouse effect and other environmental problems that
cannot yet be foreseen. And, as nuclear proliferation has shown, new
technology cannot be kept out of the hands of dictators and
irresponsible Third World nations. Would you like to speculate abut
what Iraq or North Korea will do with genetic engineering?

170. "Oh!" say the technophiles, "Science is going to fix all that! We
will conquer famine, eliminate psychological suffering, make everybody
healthy and happy!" Yeah, sure. That's what they said 200 years ago.
The Industrial Revolution was supposed to eliminate poverty, make
everybody happy, etc. The actual result has been quite different. The
technophiles are hopelessly naive (or self-deceiving) in their
understanding of social problems. They are unaware of (or choose to
ignore) the fact that when large changes, even seemingly beneficial
ones, are introduced into a society, they lead to a long sequence of
other changes, most of which are impossible to predict (paragraph
103). The result is disruption of the society. So it is very probable
that in their attempt to end poverty and disease, engineer docile,
happy personalities and so forth, the technophiles will create social
systems that are terribly troubled, even more so that the present one.
For example, the scientists boast that they will end famine by
creating new, genetically engineered food plants. But this will allow
the human population to keep expanding indefinitely, and it is well
known that crowding leads to increased stress and aggression. This is
merely one example of the PREDICTABLE problems that will arise. We
emphasize that, as past experience has shown, technical progress will
lead to other new problems for society far more rapidly that it has
been solving old ones. Thus it will take a long difficult period of
trial and error for the technophiles to work the bugs out of their
Brave New World (if they ever do). In the meantime there will be great
suffering. So it is not all clear that the survival of industrial
society would involve less suffering than the breakdown of that
society would. Technology has gotten the human race into a fix from
which there is not likely to be any easy escape.

THE FUTURE




171. But suppose now that industrial society does survive the next
several decade and that the bugs do eventually get worked out of the
system, so that it functions smoothly. What kind of system will it be?
We will consider several possibilities.

172. First let us postulate that the computer scientists succeed in
developing intelligent machines that can do all things better that
human beings can do them. In that case presumably all work will be
done by vast, highly organized systems of machines and no human effort
will be necessary. Either of two cases might occur. The machines might
be permitted to make all of their own decisions without human
oversight, or else human control over the machines might be retained.

173. If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we
can't make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible
to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the
fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might
be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand
over all the power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that
the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor
that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is
that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a
position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no
practical choice but to accept all of the machines decisions. 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 decision for them, simply because machine-made
decisions will bring better result 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.

174. On the other hand it is possible that human control over the
machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have
control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car of
his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will
be in the hands of a tiny elite -- just as it is today, but with two
difference. Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater
control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be
necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the
system. If the elite is ruthless the may simply decide to exterminate
the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or
other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate
until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the
elite. Or, if the elite consist of soft-hearted liberals, they may
decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human
race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are
satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic
conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and
that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure
his "problem." Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will
have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove
their need for the power process or to make them "sublimate" their
drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human
beings may be happy in such a society, but they most certainly will
not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic
animals.

175. But suppose now that the computer scientists do not succeed in
developing artificial intelligence, so that human work remains
necessary. Even so, machines will take care of more and more of the
simpler tasks so that there will be an increasing surplus of human
workers at the lower levels of ability. (We see this happening
already. There are many people who find it difficult or impossible to
get work, because for intellectual or psychological reasons they
cannot acquire the level of training necessary to make themselves
useful in the present system.) On those who are employed,
ever-increasing demands will be placed; They will need more and m ore
training, more and more ability, and will have to be ever more
reliable, conforming and docile, because they will be more and more
like cells of a giant organism. Their tasks will be increasingly
specialized so that their work will be, in a sense, out of touch with
the real world, being concentrated on one tiny slice of reality. The
system will have to use any means that I can, whether psychological or
biological, to engineer people to be docile, to have the abilities
that the system requires and to "sublimate" their drive for power into
some specialized task. But the statement that the people of such a
society will have to be docile may require qualification. The society
may find competitiveness useful, provided that ways are found of
directing competitiveness into channels that serve that needs of the
system. We can imagine into channels that serve the needs of the
system. We can imagine a future society in which there is endless
competition for positions of prestige an power. But no more than a
very few people will ever reach the top, where the only real power is
(see end of paragraph 163). Very repellent is a society in which a
person can satisfy his needs for power only by pushing large numbers
of other people out of the way and depriving them of THEIR opportunity
for power.

176. Once can envision scenarios that incorporate aspects of more than
one of the possibilities that we have just discussed. For instance, it
may be that machines will take over most of the work that is of real,
practical importance, but that human beings will be kept busy by being
given relatively unimportant work. It has been suggested, for example,
that a great development of the service of industries might provide
work for human beings. Thus people will would spend their time
shinning each others shoes, driving each other around inn taxicab,
making handicrafts for one another, waiting on each other's tables,
etc. This seems to us a thoroughly contemptible way for the human race
to end up, and we doubt that many people would find fulfilling lives
in such pointless busy-work. They would seek other, dangerous outlets
(drugs, , crime, "cults," hate groups) unless they were biological or
psychologically engineered to adapt them to such a way of life.

177. Needless to day, the scenarios outlined above do not exhaust all
the possibilities. They only indicate the kinds of outcomes that seem
to us mots likely. But wee can envision no plausible scenarios that
are any more palatable that the ones we've just described. It is
overwhelmingly probable that if the industrial-technological system
survives the next 40 to 100 years, it will by that time have developed
certain general characteristics: Individuals (at least those of the
"bourgeois" type, who are integrated into the system and make it run,
and who therefore have all the power) will be more dependent than ever
on large organizations; they will be more "socialized" that ever and
their physical and mental qualities to a significant extent (possibly
to a very great extent ) will be those that are engineered into them
rather than being the results of chance (or of God's will, or
whatever); and whatever may be left of wild nature will be reduced to
remnants preserved for scientific study and kept under the supervision
and management of scientists (hence it will no longer be truly wild).
In the long run (say a few centuries from now) it is it is likely that
neither the human race nor any other important organisms will exist as
we know them today, because once you start modifying organisms through
genetic engineering there is no reason to stop at any particular
point, so that the modifications will probably continue until man and
other organisms have been utterly transformed.

178. Whatever else may be the case, it is certain that technology is
creating for human begins a new physical and social environment
radically different from the spectrum of environments to which natural
selection has adapted the human race physically and psychological. If
man is not adjust to this new environment by being artificially
re-engineered, then he will be adapted to it through a long an painful
process of natural selection. The former is far more likely that the
latter.

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