Industrial Society and Its Future by Theodore Kaczynski - The New York Times, The Washington Post 1995



Discovering Theodore Kaczynski persona (where? how?) then his motivation and background, then after seing a reproduction of his cabin and having his manifesto saved on my laptop, deciding to (finally) read it entirely.

Pre-reading model

Draw a schema (using PmGraphViz or another solution) of the situation of the area in the studied domain before having read the book.


  • "The only requirements are a moderate amount of intelligence, and most of all, simple obedience. If one has those, society takes care of one from cradle to grave." paragraph 40
  • "Advertising and marketing techniques have been developed that make many people feel they need things that their grandparents never desired or even dreamed of. It requires serious effort to earn enough money to satisfy these artificial needs" paragraph 63
    • see also AdBuster the magazine
  • "One may become angry, but modern society cannot permit fighting." paragraph 71
  • "We can do anything we like as long as it is unimportant. But in all important matters the system tends increasingly to regulate our behavior." paragraph 72
  • "As long as the system gives them their opportunities it still has them on a leash. To attain autonomy they must get off that leash." paragraph 73
  • "We do sneer at people who are content with servitude." paragraph 78
    • see also Le Discours de la Servitude Volontaire
  • "According to the bourgeois conception, a <<free>> man is essentially an element of a social machine and has only a certain set of prescribed and delimited freedoms; freedoms that are designed to serve the needs of the social machine more than those of the individual." paragraph 97
  • "It should not be assumed that a person has enough freedom just because he says he has enough." paragraph 98
    • in the same way that a being living in N dimensions can hardly imagine living in N+1 dimension or somebody inside a propaganda system being subjected to lies if they are "global enough"
    • see also Carl Sagan explanation
  • "When a new item of technology is introduced as an option that an individual can accept or not as he chooses, it does not necessarily remain optional. In many cases the new technology changes society in such a way that people eventually find themselves forced to use it." paragraph 127
    • it seems impossible for someone using what he or she considers a more efficient mean, to genuinely appreciate interactions with others who are using less efficient means
      • example of users of new social network (mobile phone, Facebook, Twitter, ...) pushing others to adopt them
  • "mass entertainment is a means of escape and stress-reduction on which most of us have become dependent. " paragraph 156
  • "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. " paragraph 170
  • "Nature takes care of itself [...] Only with the Industrial Revolution did the effect of human society on nature become really devastating." paragraph 184
    • seems contradictory, how is it required to destroy what threatens something that can manage itself anyway?
    • is this a purely aesthetic view on nature, described as self-evidently beautiful?
  • "We distinguish between two kinds of technology, which we will call small-scale technology and organization-dependent technology." paragraph 208
    • cf DIY resources and the overarching P2P movement
  • "organization-dependent technology does regress when the social organization on which it depends breaks down." paragraph 208
  • "An industrial society, if built from scratch without outside help, can only be built in a series of stages: You need tools to make tools to make tools to make tools ..." paragraph 210
  • "Once the power-hungry types have captured control of the movement, there are many leftists of a gentler breed who inwardly disapprove of many of the actions of the leaders, but cannot bring themselves to oppose them." paragraph 224
  • "Thus the fact that many individual leftists are personally mild and fairly tolerant people by no means prevents leftism as a whole form having a totalitarian tendency." paragraph 226

See also

Overall remark and questions

  • What are the best "vademecum" (latin)?
    • What would be yours? Is there a community website for that? P2P/DIY one?
    • What were the historical best ones?
      • What communities were the most efficient at recovering after collapses? Why and how?
      • What are the consistent patterns across time and cultures?


So in the end, it was about X and was based on Y.


  • The term "technology" is heavily criticized and yet only clarified after more than half of the essay (paragraph 184). This is clearly misleading, is technology an overall bad addiction to be always avoided or is there a community-scale type of technology that is actually beneficial?
  • There is no actual plan of what has to done "after" the required revolution despite saying that a better alternative have to be explicit in order to rally more people.


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Post-reading model

Draw a schema (using PmGraphViz or another solution) of the situation of the area in the studied domain after having read the book. Link it to the pre-reading model and align the two to help easy comparison.


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Other read books linking to the Industrial Society and Its Future page :


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