Kara, Ted Kaczynski, Kevin Tucker, etc.
An interview with Kaczynski
This forum exists to discuss anti-civ ideas and their implications.
Joined Apr 17, 2005
Last active Jan 05, 2006
Apr 17, 2005
Hi Ted! 12.08.2003
First of all, I should introduce myself. I'm KaraIm writing this letter from Turkey. (I think you had taken some letters from Turkey) I live in stanbul, Turkeys largest city expanding as a virus. Im 24 years old. It is very boring and disgusting thing that to be dependent on city and citylife. But every past day I struggle to change every day of my life in order to find harmony with Mother Earth. I am trying to break and to resist the chains of cities, technology and the whole system of civilisation. Like youBut not active like you
In Turkey, I am publishing an anti-copyright fanzine called VEGANARSI. Its a fanzine includes the subjects of veganism, anarchism, primitivism and movement. Fanzine has a 4 issue today. And the 5th one is on road. I started to publish it in 2000. Its a way of expression and decleration of myself, my thoughts and everyday life actions. As you can understand Im not in an organisation but I have contacts with anarchists in Turkey. I feel myself as Im among them. But I dont believe organisations such as worker unions and federations. Because wide organizing recreates and reproduce hierarchy, authority and dependent on mass society. I believe in Libertarian Networks that dont oppress individuals and local groups. In this way the society that we imagine, can be realized slowly.
I was always thinking to write a letter to you last 4 years but I couldnt write not at all. And I think finally I accomplished to do it now at last. So now you can ask me why I am writing this letter to youBecause I agree with your thoughts and actions. Your thoughts guides the humans on earth for the future of our earth. You showed the whole wrong thing clearly and directly. I always wanted to thank you with a letter. Now I can only send a letter to you. Because Im in Turkey and you are in USA. We are very faraway from each other.
If you wonder how do I define myself, I can say that Im an anarcho-primitivist-veganarchist. But it is not important how you and I define ourselves. The important think is that we are humans living on this planet and that we are suffering from this cruel and killing system called civilisation. Definitions are only how you are aware of this system. Some people think that the only wrong going thing is capitalism, some of them think that its wrong using of technology and some people think that its wrong using of capital..I dont feel that I am among these people, because I think that civilisation is the whole reason that we and our planet are suffering from as an anarcho-primitivist...
And in my direct action of changing every-day of my life, especially in my diet (my eating system) I call myself and act as a veganarchist. Because I think that not to be vegan costs a lot of cruelty, pain and destruction for our planet. Being vegan is a direct action way of my life against this suffering civilised system for me. I dont think the problem is only eating animals and exploiting them. I dont only feel compassion for animals. Because on nature some animals eat other to live. Its necessary for them. But not for us, only when we have no choice.
I think the problem is DOMESTICATION. One more thing is to destroy the eco-system borders between species. When we (humans) started to be civilised, we became alienated to the nature. And we started to destroy our planet, actually ourselves.Not to eat and use animals is an expression against this cruel system in everyday life.
I want to ask some questions about you and your thoughts if you give permission. Can I interview with you for VEGANARs fifth? If you accept, Ill write the questions at the end of this letter. I think it will be very effective for Turkish readers to hear about you currently. Because do you know your The Future of Industrial Society is printed as a book from Kaos Publishings a few years ago and in Turkey the book is loved by alot of people and affected alot of people. And it will be effective to the people that know and wonder about you.
OkI must finish my letter. You can get bored from me. Please dont feel alone in prison. Because there is growing number of people who think like us. I wish one day youll be released. Im waiting for your reply
Black and Green Greetings
The Interview Questions:
1- Hi TedCan you talk about your story? Who are you?
2- where/when did you born?
3- which schools did you graduate from?
4- what was your job?
5- were you married? have you got children?
6- I think you were a mathematician and you didnt have thoughts like now? What has changed your ideas wholy?
7- when did you started to think that the problem is in civilisation?
8- Can you tell in a few words why did you refuse civilisation?
9- how/when did you decide to live in forest and to bomb?
10- what is the reason that you made you decided to bomb technological areas?
11- Dont you think violence is violence?
12- How do you see anarchists, green-anarchists, anarcho-primitivists? Do you agree them?
13- How do you see vegetarianism/veganism? What do you think about not to eat and use animals?
14- What do you think about Animal/Earth Liberation?
15- What do you think about groups such as Earth First!, Earth Liberation Front and Gardening Guerillas?
16- Do you believe in revolution or endless revolt?
17- What do you think how can we destroy civilisation,what will make it became closer for you?
18- You have got a forest life. Can you tell about it? Is Living primitive easy what is the difficult sides of living primitive?
19- If I want, can I live in forests now? Is it possible to live in forests today? Dont we suffer from starvation?
20- how is prison life? Did you suffer form torture in prison? What is your condition? Have you got rights to speak with another people in prison and out?
21-What is the last situation of your trial? didnt the trial finish?
22- Have you got a future life utopia? What do you Project in future? Have you got an alternative society utopia?
23- What about the movements in USA? Do they support you? Which groups support you? Which groups accuse you?
24- Finally, have you got anything to say to Turkish readers? Feel free to ask and wish something from us
With All Supports Of Myself
Joined Apr 18, 2005
Last active Mar 11, 2008
Apr 17, 2005
Umut, you forgot to put Kaczynski's respond to your letter.
Anyway, i got it, too. Here is Ted's letter..
I am sorry I have taken so long to answer your letter dated August 12. I am usually busy, especially with answering correspondence, and your letter is one that could not be answered hastily, because some of your questions require long, complicated, carefully-considered answers.
For this same reason, it would cost me an unreasonable amount of time to answer all of your questions. So I will answer only some of them the ones that seem to me to be most important and those that can be answered easily and briefly.
Question 2. I was born in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., on May 22, 1942.
Question 3. I graduated from an elementary school and a high school in Evergreen Park, Illinois. I received a bachelors degree from Harvard University, and masters degree and doctors degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan.
Question 4. after receiving my doctors degree from the University of Michigan, I was an assistant professor of mathematics for two years at the University of California.
Question 5. I have never been married and have no children.
Question 6,7,8,9. A complete answer to these questions would be excessively long and complicated, but I will say the following:
The process through which I came to reject modenity and civilization began when I was eleven years old. At that age I began to be attracted to the primitive way of life as a result of reading of the life of Neanderthal man. In the following years, up to the time when I entered Harvard University at the age of sixteen, I used to dream of escapinbg from civilization and going to live in some wild place. During the same period, my distaste for modern life grew as I became increasingly aware that people in industrial society were reduced to the status of gears in a machine, that they lacked freedom and were at the mercy of the large organizations that controlled the conditions under which they lived.
After I entered Harvard University I took some couses in anthropology, which taught me more about primitive peoples and gave me an appetite to acquire some of the knowledge that enabled them to live in the wild. For example, I wished to have their knowledge of edible plants. But I had no idea where to get such knowledge until a couple of years later, when I discovered to my surprise that there were books about edible wild plants. The first such a book that I ought was Stalking the Wild asparagus, by Euell Gibbons, and after that when I was home from college and graduate school during the summers, I went several times each week to the Cook County Forest Preserves near Chicago to look for edible plants. At first it seemed eerie and strange to go all alone into the forest, away from all roads and paths. But as I came to know the forest and many of the plants and animals that lived in it, the feeling at strangeness disappeared and I grew more and more comfortable in the woodland. I also became more and more certain that I did not want to spend my whole life in civilization, and that I wanted to go and live in some wild place.
Meanwhile, I wa doing well in mathematics. It was fun to solve mathematical problems, but in a deeper sense mathematics was boring and empty because for me it had no purpose. If I had worked on applied mathematics I woul have contributed to the development of the technological society that I hated, so I worked only on pure mathematics. But pure mathematics was only a game. I did not understand then, and I still do not understand, why mathematicians are content to fritter away their whole lives in a mere game. I myself was completely dissatisfied with such a life.
I knew what I wanted: To go and live in some wild place. But I didnt know how to do so. In those days there were no primitivist movements, no survivalists, and anyone who left a promising carees in mathematics to go live among forests or mountains would have been regarded as foolish or crazy. I did not know even one person who would have understood why I wanted to do such a thing. So, deep in my heart, I felt convinced that I would never be able to escape from civilization.
Because I found modern life absolutely unacceptable, I grew increasingly hopeless until, at the age of 24, I arrived at a kind of crisis: I felt so miseravle that I didnt care whether I lived or died. But when I reached that point, a sudden change took place: I realized that if I didnt care whether I lived ot died, then I didnt need to fear the consequences of anything I might do. Therefore I could do anything I wanted. I was free! That was the great turning-point in my life because it was then that I acquired courage, which has remained with me ever since. It was at that time, too, that I became certain that I would soon go to live in the wild, no matter what the consequences. I spent two years teaching at the University of California in order to save some money, then I resigned my position and went to look for a place to live in the forest.
Question 9. It would take too much time to give a complete answer to the last part of your ninth question, but I will give you a partial answer by quoting what I wrote for my journal on August 14, 1983:
The fifth of August I began a hike to the east. I got to my hidden camp that I have in a gulch beyond what I call Diagonal Gulch. I stayed there through the following day, August 6. I felt the peace of the forest there. But there are few huckleberries there, and though there are deer, there is very little small game. Furthermore, it had been a long time since I had seen the beatiful and isolated plateau where the various branches of Trout Creek originate. So I decided to take off for that area on the 7th of August. A little after crossing the roads in the neighborhood of Crater Mountain I began to hear chain saws; the sound seemed to be coming from the upper reaches of Roaster Bill Creek. I assumed they were cutting trees; I didnt like it but I thought I would be abe to avoid such things when I got onto the plateau. Walking across the hillsides on my wat there, I saw down below me a new road that had not been there previously, and that appeared to cross one of the ridges that close in Stemple Creek. This made me feel a little sick. Nevertheless, I went on to the plateau. What I found there broke my heart. The plateau was criss-crossed with new roads, broad and well-made for roads of that kind. The plateau is ruined forever. The only thing that could save it now would be the collapse of the technological society. I couldnt bear it. That was the best and most beatiful and isolated place around here and I have wonderful memories of it.
One road passed within a couple of hundred feet of a lovely spot where I camped for a long time a few years ago and passed many happy hours. Full of grief and rage I went back and camped by South Fork Humbug Creek
The next day I started for my home cabin. My route took me past a beautiful spot, a favorite place of mine where there was a spring of pure water tht could safely be drunk withput boiling. I stopped and said a kind of prayer to the spirit of the spring. It was a prayer in which I swore that I would take revenge for what was being done to the forest. My journal continues:
and then I returned home as quickly as I could because I have something to do!
You can guess what it was that I had to do.
Question 10, 17. anything like a complete answer to these questions would take too much time. But the following remarks are revelant:
The problem of civilization is identical with the problem of technology. Let me first explain that when I speak of technology I do not refer only to physical apperatus such as tools and machines. I include als techiniques, such as the techniques of chemistry, civil engineering, or biotechnology. Included too are human techniques such as those of propaganad or of educational psychology, as well as organizational techiques could not exist at an advanced level without the physical apparatus the tools, machines, and structures on which the whole technological system depends.
However, technology in the broader sense of the word includes not only modern technology but also the techniques and physical apparatues that existed at earlier stages of society. For example, plows, harness for animals, blacksmiths tools, domesticated breed of plants and animals, and the techniques of agriculture, animal husbandry, and metalworking. Early civilizations depended on these technologies, as well as on the human and organizational techniques needed to govern large numbers of people. Civilizations cannot exist without the technology on which they are based. Conversely, where the technology is avaible civilization is likely to develop sooner or later.
Thus, the problem of civilization can be equated with the problem of technology. The farther back we can push technology, the father back we will push civilization. If we could push technology all the way back to the stone age, there would be no more civilization.
Question 11. In reference to my alleged actions you as, Don2t you think violence is violence? Of course, violence is violence. And violence is also a necessary part of nature. If predators did not kill members of prey species, then the prey species would multiply to the point where they would destroy their environment by consuming eveything edible. Many kinds of animals are violen even against members their own sprecies. For example, it is well known that wild chimpanzees often kill other chimpanzees. See, e.g., Time Magazine, August 19, 202, page 56. n some regions, fights are common among wild bears. The magazine Bear and Other Top Predators, Volume 1, Issue 2, pages 28-29, shows a photograph of bears fighting and a photgraph of a bear wounded in a fight, and mentions that such wounds can be deadly. Among the sea birds called brown boobies, two eggs are laid in each nest. After the eggs are hatched, on of the young birds attacks the other and forces it out of the nest, so that it dies. See article Sibling Desperado, Science News, Volume 163, February 15, 2003.
Human beings in the wild constitute one of the mor violent species. A good general survey of the cultures of hunting-and-gathering people is The Hunting Peoples, by Carleton S. Coon, published by Little, Brown and Company, Boston and Toronto, 1971, and in this book you will find numerous examples in hunting-and-gathering societies of violence by human beings against other human beings. Professor Coon makes clear (pages XIX, 3, 4, 9, 10) that he admires hunting-and-gatherin peoples and regards them as more fortunate than civilized ones. But he is an honest man and does not censor out those aspects of primitive life, such as violence, that appear disagreeable to modern people.
Thus, it is clear that a significant amount of violence is a natural part of human life. There is nothing wrong with violence in itself. In any particular case, whether vilence is good or bad depends on how it is used and the purpose for which it is used.
So why do modern people regard violence as evil in itself? They do so for one reason only: They have been brainwashed by propaganda. Modern society uses various forms of propaganda to teach people to be frightened and horrified by violence because the technoindustrial system needs a population that is timid, docile, and afraid to assert itself, a population that will not make trouble or disrupt the orderly functioning of the system. Power depends ultimately on physical force. By teaching people that violence is wrong (except, of course, when the system itself uses violence via the police or the military), the system maintains its monopoly an physical force and thus keeps all power in its own hands.
Whatever philosophical or moral rationalizations people may invent to explain their belief that violence is wrong, the real reason for that belief is that they have unconsciously absorbed the systems propaganda.
Questions 12, 13, 14, 15. All of the groups you mention here are part of a singl movement. (Lets call it the GA (Green Anarchist) Movement.) Of course, these people are right to the extent that they oppose civilization and the technology on which it is based. But, because of the form in which this movement is developing, it may actually help to protect the technoindustrial system and may serve as an obstacle to revolution. I will explain:
It is difficult to suppress rebellion directly. When rebellion is put down by force, it very often breaks out again later in some new form in which the authorities find it more difficult to control. For example, in 1878 the German Reichstag enacted harsh and repressive laws against Social-Democratic movement, as a result of which the movement was crushe and its members were scattered, confused, and discouraged. But only for a hort time. The movement soon reunited itself, became more energetic, and found new ways of spreading its ideas, so that by 1884 it was stronger than ever. G.A. Zimmermann, Das Neunzehnte Jahrhundert: Geshichtlicher und kulturhistorischer Rckblick, Druck und Verlag von Geo. Brumder, Milwaukee, 1902, page 23.
Thus, astute observers of human affairs know that the powerful classes of a society can most effectively defend themselves against rebellion by using force and direct repression only to a limited extent, and relying mainly on manipulation to deflect rebellion. One of the most effective devices used is that of providing channels through which rebellious impulses can be expressed in ways that are harmless to the system. For example, it is well known that in the Soviet Union the satirical magazine Krokodil was designed to provide an outlet for complaints and for resentment of the authorities in a way that would lead no one to question the legitimacy of the Soviet system or rebel against it in any serious way.
But the democratic system of the West has evolved mechanisms for deflecting rebellion that are far more sophisticated and effective than any that existed in the Soviet Union. It is a truly remarkable fact that in modern Western society people rebel in favor of the values of the very system against which they imagaine themselves to be rebelling. The left rebels in favor of racial and religious equality, equality for women and homosexuals, humane treatment of animals, and so forth. But these are the values that the American mass media teach us over and over agains every day. Leftists have been so throughly brainwashed by media propaganda that they are able to rebel only in terms of these values, which are values of the technoindustrial system itself. In this way the system has succesfully deflected the rebellious impulses of the left into channels that are harmless to the system.
Rebellion against technology and civilization is real rebellion, a real attack on the values of the existing system. But the green anarchist, anarcho-primitivists, and so forrth (the GA Movement have fallen under such heavy influence from the left that their rebellion against civilization has to a great extent been neutralized. Instead of rebelling against the values of civilization, they have adopted many civilized values themselves and have constructed an imaginary picture of priitive societies that embodies these civilized values. They pretend that hunter-gatherers worked only two or three hours a day (whch would come to 14 to 21 hours a week), that they had gender equality, that they respected the rights of animals, that they took care not to damage their environment, and so forth. But all that is a myth. If you will read many reoprts written by people who personally observed hunting-and-gathering societies at a time when these were relatively free of influence from civilization, you will see that
(i) All of these societies ate some form of animal food, none were vegan.
(ii) Most (if not all) of these societies were cruel to animals.
(iii) The majority of these societies did not have gender equality.
(iv) The estimate of two or three hours of work a day, or 14 to 21 hours per weekk, is based on a misleadin definition of work. A more realistic minimum estimate for fully nomadic hunter-gatherers would probably be about forty hours of work per week, and some worked a great deal more than that.
(v) Most of these societies were not nonviolent.
(vi) Competiton existed in most, or probably all of these societies. In some of them competition could take violent forms.
(vii) These societies variedgreatly in the extent to which they took care not to damage their environment. Some may have been excellent conservationists, but others damaged their environment through over-hunting, reckless use of fire, or in other ways.
I could cite numerous reliable sources of information in support of the foregoing statements, but if I did so this letter would become unreasonably long. So I will reserve full documentation for a more suitable occasion. Here I mention only a few examples.
Cruelty to animals. Mbuti pygmies: The youngster had spread it with his first thrust, pinning the animal to the ground through the fleshy part of the stomach. But the animal was still very much alive, fighting for freedom. Maipe put another spear into its neck, but it still writhed and fought. Not until a third spear pierced its heart did it give up the struggle.
[T]he Pygmies stood around in an excited group, pointing at the dying animal and laughing.
At other times I have seen Pygmies singeing the feathers off birds that were still alive, explaining that the meat is more tender if death comes slowly. And the hunting dogs, valuable as they are, get kicked around mercilessly from the day they are born to the day die. Colin Turnbull, The Forest People, Simon and Schuster, 1962, page 101.
Eskimos: The Eskimos with whom Gontran de Poncins lived kiccked and beat their dogs brutally. Gontran de Poncins, Kabloona, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1980, pages 29, 30, 49, 189, 196, 198-99, 212, 216.
Siriono: The Siriono sometimes captured young animals alive and brought them back to camp, but they gave them nothing to eat, and the animals were treated so roughly by the children that they soon died. Allan R. Holmberg, Nomads of the Long Bow: The Siriono of Eastern Bolivia, The Natural History Press, Garden City, New York, 1969, pages 69-70, 208. (The Siriono were not pure hunter-gatherers, since they did plant crops to a limited extent at certain times of year, but they lived mostly by hunting and gathering. Holmber, pages 51, 63, 67, 76-77, 82-83, 265.)
Lack of gender equality. Mbuti pygmies. Turnbull says that among the Mbuti, A woman is in no way the social inferior of a man (Colin Turnbull, Wayward Servants, The Natural History Press, Garden City, New York, 1965, page 270), and that the woman is not discriminated against (Turnbull, Forest People, page 154). But in the very same books Turnbull states a number of facts that show that the Mbuti did not have gender equality as that term is understood today. A certain amount of wife-beating is considered good, and the wife is expected to fight back. Wayward Servants, page 287. He said that he was very content with his wife, and he had not found it necessary tobeat her at all often. Forest People, page 205. Man throws his wife to the ground and slaps her. Wayward Servants, page 211. Husband beats wife. Wayward Servants, page 192. mbuti practice what Americans would call date rape. Wayward Servants, page 137. Turnbull mentions two instrances of men giving orders to their wives. Wayward Servants, page 288-89; forest People, page 265. I have not found any instance in Trunbulls books of wives giving orders to their husbands.
Siriono: The Siriono did not beat their wives. Holmberg, page 128. But: A woman is subservient to her husband. Holmsberg, page 125. The extended family is generally dominated by the oldest active male. Page 129. [W]omen .. are dominated by the men. Page 147. Sexual advances are generally made by the men . If a man is out in the forest alone with a woman he may throw her to the ground roughly and take his prize without so musch saying a word. Page 163. parents definitely prefer to have male children. Page 202. Also see pages 148, 156, 168-69, 210, 224.
Australian Aborigines: Farther north and west [in Australia] [p]erceptible power lay in the hands of the mature, fully initiated, and usually polygynous men of the age group from thirty to fifty, and the control over the women and younger males was shared between them. Carleton S. Coon, The Hunting Peoples (cited earlier), page 255. Among some Australian tribes, young women were forced to marry old men, mainly so that they should work for the men. Women who refused were beaten until they gave in. See Aldo Massola, The Aborigines of South-Eastern Australia: As They Were, The Griffin Press, Adelaide, Australis, 1971. I dont have the exact page, but you will probably find the foregoing between pages 70 and 80.
Time spent working. A good general discussion of this is by Elizabeth Cashdan, Hunters and Gatherers: Economic Behaviour in Bands, in Stuart Plattner (editor), Economic Anthropology, Stanford University Press, 1989, pages 21-48. Cashdan discusses a study by Richard Lee, who found that a certain group of Kung Bushmen wprked a little more that forty hours per week. And she points out on pages 24-25 that there was evidence that Lees study was made at a time of year when the Kung worked least, and they may have worked a great deal more at other times of year. She points out on page 26 that Lees study did not include time spent on care of children. And on pages 24-25 she mentions other hunter-gatherers who worked longer hours than the Bushmen studied by Lee. Forty hours per week is probably a minimum estimate of the working time of fully nomadic hunter-gatherers. Gontran de Poncins, Kabloona (cited earlier), page 111, stated that the Eskimos with whom he lived toiled fifteen hours a day. He probably did not mean that they worked fifteen hours every day, but it is clear from his book that his Eskimos worked plenty hard. Among the Mbuti pygmies who use nets to hunt, Net-making is virtually a full-time occupation in which both men and women indulge whenever thay have both the spare time and the inclination. Turnbull, Forest People, page 131. among the Siriono, the men hunted, on average, every other day. Holmberg, pages 75-76. they started at daybreak and returned to camp typically between four and six oclock in the afternoon. Holmberg, pages 100-101. this makes on avarage at least eleven hours of hunting, and at three and a half days a week it cmoes to an average of 38 hours of hunting per week, at the least. Since the men also did a significant amount of work on days when they did not hunt (pages 76, 100), their work week, averaged over the year, had to be far more than forty hours. Actually, Holmberg estimated that the Siriono spent about half their waking time in hunting and foraging (page 222), which would mean about 56 hours a week in these activities alone. With other work included, the work week would have had to be well over sixty hours. The Siriono woman enjoys even less respite from labor than her husband, and the obligation of bringing her children to maturity leaves little time for rest. Holmberg, page 224. For other information indicating how hard the Siriono had to work, see pages 87, 107, 157, 213, 220, 223, 246, 248-49, 254, 268.
Violence. As mentioned earlier, numerous examples of violence can be found in Coons The Hunting Peoples. According to Gontran de Poncins, Kabloona, pages 116-120, 125, 162-165, 237-238, 244, homicides usually by a stab in the back were rather common among his Eskimos. The Mbuti pygmies were probably one of the least violent primitive peoples that I know of, since Turnbull reports no cases of homicide among them (apart from infanticide; see Wayward Servants, page 130). However, throughout The Forest People and Wayward Servants Turnbull mentions many beatings and fights with fists or sticks. Paul Schebesta, Die Bambuti-Pygen vom Ituri, Volume I, Institut Royal Colonial Belge, Brussels, 1938, pages 81-84, reports evidence that during the first half of the 19th century the Mbuti waged deadly warfare against the village-dwelling Africans who also lived in their forest. (For infanticide, see Schebesta, page 138.)
Competition. The presence of cempetition in hunting-and-gatherin societies is shown by the fights that occurred in some of them. See for example Coon, Hunting Peoples, pages 238, 252, 257-58. If a physical fight isnt a form of competition, then nothing is.
Fights may arise from competition for mates. For instance, Turnbull, Wayward Servants, pages 206, mentions a woman who lost three teeth in fighting with another woman over a man. Coon, page 260, mentions fighting over women by Australian aboriginal men. Competition for food may also lead to quarreling. This is not to say that sharing [of meat] takes place without any dispute or acrimony. On the contrary, the arguments that ensue when the hunt returns to camp are frequently long and loud . Turnbull, Wayward Servants, page 158. Coon refers to vociferous arguments over sharig of whale meat among certain Eskimos. Hunting Peoples, page 125.
* * *
I could go on and on citing concrete facts that show how ridiculous is the image of primitive peoples as non-competitive, vegetarian conservationists who had gender equality, respected the rights of animals, and didnt have to work for a living. But this letter is already too long, so the examplesalready given will have to suffice.
I dont mean to say that the hunting-and-gathering way of life was no better than modern life. On the contrary, I believe it was better beyond comparison. Many, perhaps most investigators who have studied hunter-gatherers have expressed their respect, their admiration, or even their envy of them. For example, Cashdan, page 21, refers to the hunting-and-gathering way of life as highly successful. Coon,page XIX, refers to the full and satisfactory lives of hunter-gatherers. Turnbull, Forest People, page 26, writes: [The Mbuti] were a people who had found in the forest something that made their life more than just worth living, something that made it, with all its hardships and problems and tragedies, a wonderful thing full of joy and happiness and free of care. Schebesta writes, page 73: How varied are the dangers, but also the joyous experiences on his hunting-excursions and countless journeys through the primeval forest! We of an unpoetic, mechanical age can have no more than an inkling of how deeply all of that touches the forest people in their mystical-magical thinking and shapes their attitude. And on page 205: The pygmies stand before us as one of the most natural of human races, as people who live exclusively incompliance with nature and without violation of their physical organism. Among their princippal traits are an unusually sturdy naturalness and liveness, and an unparalleled cheerfulness and freedom from care. They are people whose lives pass in compliance with the laws of nature.
But obviously the reasons why primitive life was better than civilized life had nothing to do with gender equality, kindness to animals, non-competitiveness, or nonviolence. Those values are the soft values of modern civilization. By projecting those values onto hunting-and-gatherin societies, the GA Movement has created a myth of a primitive utopia that never existed in reality.
Thus, even though the GA Movement claims to reject civilization and modernity, it remains enslaved to some of the most important values of modern society. For this reason, the GA Movement cannot be an effective revolutionary movement.
In the first place, part of the GA Movements energy is deflected away from the real revolutionary objective to eliminate modern technology and civilization in general in favor of the pseudo-revolutionary issues of racism, sexism, animal rights, homosexual rights, and so forth.
In the second place, because of its commitment to these pseudo- revolutionary issues, the GA Movement may attract too many leftists people who are less interested in getting rid of modern civilization than they are in the leftist issues of racism, sexism, etc. This would cause a further deflection of the movements energy away from the issues of technology and civilization.
In the third place, the objective of securing the rights of women, homosexuals, animals, and so forth, is incompatible with the objective of eliminating civilization, because women and homosexuals in primitive societies often do not have equality, and such societies are usually cruel to animals. If ones goal is to secure the rights of these groups, then ones best policy is to stick with modern civilization.
In the fourth place, the GA Movements adoption of many of the soft values of modern civilization, as well as its myth of a soft primitive utopia, attracts too many soft, dreamy, lazy, impractical people who are more incline to retreat into utopian fantasies than to take effective, realistic action to get rid of the technoindustrial system.
In fact, there is grave danger that the GA Movement may take the same route as Christianity. Originally, under the personal leadership of Jesus Christ, Christianity was not only a religious movement but also a movement toward social revolution. As a purely religious movement Christianity turned out to be successful, but as a revolutionary movement it was a complete failure. It did nothing to correct the social inequalities of its time, and as soon as the Christians had an opportunity to make a deal with the emperor Constantine they sold out and became part of the power-structure of the Roman Empire.
There appear to be some disquieting resemblances between the psychology of the GA Movement and that of early Christianity. The analogies between the two movements are striking: primitive utopia = Garden of Eden; development of civilization = the Fall, original sin, eating the apple from the Tree of Knowledge; the Revolution = Day of Judgment; return to primitive utopia = arrival of the Kingdom God. Veganism probably plays the same psychological role as the dietary restrictions of Christianity (fasting during Lent) and of other religions. The risks taken by activists in using their bodies to block logging machinery and so forth can be compared to the martyrdom of early Christians who died for their beliefs (except that the Christianss martyrdom required far more courage than the tactics of todays activists do). If the GA Movement takes the same path as Christianity, it too will be a complete failure as a revolutionary movement.
The GA Movement may be not only useless, but worse than useless, because it may be an obstacle to the development of an effective revolutionary movement. Since opposition to technology and civilization is an important part of the GA Movemetns program, young people who are concerned about what technological civilization is doing to the world are drawn into that movement. Certainly not all of these young people are leftists or soft, dreamy, ineffectuel types; some of them have potential to become real revolutionaries. But in the GA Movement they are outnumbered by leftists and other useless people, so they are neutralized, they become corrupted, and their revolutionart potential is wasted. In this sense, the GA Movement could be called a destroyer of potential revolutionaries.
It will be necessary to build a new revolutionary movement that will keep itself strictly separate fom the GA Movement and its soft, civilized values. I dont mean that there is anything wrong with gender equality, kindness to animals, tolerancee of homosexuality, or the like. But these values have no relevance to the effort to eliminate technological civilization. They are not revolutionary values. An effective revolutionary movement will have to adopt instead the hard values of primitive societies, such as skill, self-discipline, honesty, physical and mental stamina, intolerance of externally-imposed restraints, capacity to endure physical pain, and, above all, caurage.
P.S. Letters addressed to me sometimes fait to reach me, so if you should write to me and get no answer, you can assume that I did not receive your letter. TJK
Enclosures: Photocopies of pages 28 and 29 of magazine Bears and Other Top Predators, Volume 1, Issue 2.
Photocopy of article Sibling Desperado, Science News, Volume 163, February 15, 2003
Joined Apr 18, 2005
Last active Mar 11, 2008
Apr 18, 2005
I think this is a perfect example of the severe, severe limitations of Ted K's ultimate vision. This article illustrates VERY clearly he is only interesting in fighting against one manifestation of domination, and why I think its a mistake to align with him completely without any sort of critique. For him, any sort of domination that arises outside of techological
civilization is almost inherent and correct - beyond reproach. Those who wish to challenge this human 'essentiallism' would
be best served, in Ted's eyes, to stay withing the bounds of civilization. How wonderfully condescending...
Those who desire to simply gloss over all Ted's problems, and map there critques onto him (ones he clearly does not share and even derides) would be well served to read this one long and hard.
That certain GA's may be 'guilty' of over-idealization of the primitive condition of 'man' may indeed be true - this a valid
crique. But who says, that in looking to certain past/current societies, we must automatically desire to replicate them in
their entirety? Ted's own 'selective' anthropological emphasis seems rather reactionary in it's one right (and much closer to that leveled at primitivist by liberals and others who fear a break with civilization!) almost insisting that such things (male domination, cruelty to animals, homophobia etc.) are 'natural' to all uncivilized societies. This stuff is MUCH, MUCH closer to the social darwinian, 'nature order', 'nature law', 'natural hierarchy' essentiallism preached by the green neo-nazis and 'hard-man' survivalists. How can we call ourselves 'Anarchists' and let this pass without critique?
F U C K Ted K. and his 'revolutionary values' and his ideological essentialism. The GA movement would be best served to take what it useful from him and his actions (thanking him perhaps for opening the dialogue) and disregaurd the rest in the trash heap. Overall, lets be realistic about his own 'civilized' baggage rather than holding him up a saint beyond reproach. I franky have no interest fighting for a future that posseses all the 'vices' of present one, simply minus the technological system. Primistivism, Green Anarchy etc., must move beyond the bogus (in my opinion) notion of a 'natural' state, or an obligation to replicate PAST societies (OR EVEN OTHER ANIMAL HIERARCHIES!) ...
Joined Apr 18, 2005
Last active Mar 11, 2008
Apr 18, 2005
...Ted comes out and says that he finds the ideas of gender equality and homosexuality unnatural and undesireable.
The Mbuti tribe, which he invokes as an example of primitive gender inequality, actually practice a high degree of reciprocity in cross-gender relationships, as anyone who has read Turnbull can see. There is no perfect equality, and I don't believe Zerzan, or any other primitivist, has ever said there was. But Ted's chauvinistic nihilism has no life-affirming qualities and reflects his misogyny and misanthropy more than opposition to civilization as an agent of repression. If Ted can't let go of patriarchy, then he is trapped by civilization's oldest pillar. I agree, @#%$ him and all other anarcho-survivalist adventurists.
Joined Apr 18, 2005
Last active Mar 11, 2008
Apr 18, 2005
I think that anarchists could do well to read what Ted says in this interview.
He describes primitive people without any gloss. If you're a fuckin primitivist, you can get behind it or just admit you don't have the guts for it.
I believe that there are some primitive groups who would be closer to the PC ideal but many primitive groups are as he describes - violent, competitive, cruel and patriarchal (generally non-hierarchical, though). And as he says, such a life style is quite arguably far superior to the present world.
I'm not a primitivist but I'm also not utopian. A post-capitalist, post-civilzed world, what I would label a communist society, would not be a world where all violence and conflict will have vanished, though I believe that a communist society would have enough complexity and technology to allow things like rough equality between men and women (something that pure primitivism seems make rather unlikely).
To add a bit of fuel to this argument. Ted does an excellent job of calling most Green Anarchists on the inconsistance of their arguments. This kind of shows the shallowness of taking anarchism, historically part of the left, and simply saying that it's going to departing from. "post-left" anarchism's idea of the left is shallow because it doesn't really begin with society and see the left as a product of society.
For example, I would agree with Ted a perspective like "resistance all forms of domination" is entirely within the moralistic leftist orbit.
Joined Oct 11, 2004
Last active Mar 11, 2008
Apr 18, 2005
"Human beings in the wild constitute one of the mor violent species."
I agree that all animals have agression, but what type of logic is this to say that "wild" people are more violent than civilized?
I have never heard anyone paint a utopian picture of pre-civilized life. I never once heard anyone seriously say we must unlearn everything and replicate the Mbuti, the !Kung, or the Inuit....but that's what TK is presenting the GA movement as.
On the whole, when you look at more than 3 examples, we still see how hunter-gatherer life allows more organic human relationships and the freedom to develop them.
How can one say anything about work in a forager society? It didn't exist, so I don't really believe Lee or Sahlins's 3-4 hours nor teds 40+ hours. "Work" was integrated with life and play. Child care, foraging, net making, bow making, sex...this is all "work" but it was not separated or specialized...it was part of life.
Joined Mar 12, 2002
Last active Mar 11, 2008
Apr 18, 2005
Very very quick response here, not much time.
Coming from someone who has dealt with Ted directly on these issues, you should be wary of taking his points (like anyone's) at face value. Read my 'Message and the Messenger' essay for my reasoning on that. But I left a few things out of the essay though I realize it might make sense to include them.
I'm speaking particularly of Ted's use of quotes and citations. If you follow them, you'll often find the complete opposite meaning. One quote in particular read "and homosexuality was not allowed" regarding Australian Aborigines. I followed the citation, the next word was "either." That radically changes everything. It was a reference to a very rare liminal period where certain practices and food were taboo. The clear meaning: homosexuality was taboo along with all sexuality during this particularly rare period, hence it is not taboo during the bulk of normal life.
I pointed that out to Ted, in a very frustrated manner. That's when he cut off our communication after over 6 months of silence and avoided the issue entirely.
At the same time, I'm wary of the utopian ideal. I agree it needs to be avoided. But I think you don't have to demonize people to prove the point, which Ted does do. People are never perfect. They're people. Plain and simple. Violence surely is universal. And there are nomadic gatherers and hunters that kill or torment for no reason. As anarchists, that's not some kind of proof that anarchy can't exist, but a question of how do you deal with this without the state or systematized power.
I'm not afraid of these events. I think they are important and that's why I look at them. But Ted takes the exception for the norm. Sure enough, you can find an example of any behaviour in ethnographies. That is why you need to be critical of them and understand context. Ted doesn't do this, but similar sources would confirm that h/g's are satan worshippers. Of course, the same could be said of ap lit, which is why detail is important. Which is why I spend all my time trying to fill those gaps in. But the efforts of myself and others gets pushed over by rhetorical snipets and the arguments get ridiculous.
So the question is: what are primitivists truly saying, are ga's in general asking this, and what is ted trying to say.
All for now.
For wildness and anarchy, kt
"There is no light at the end of the carpal tunnel" -Bob Black
Joined Apr 28, 2005
Last active Mar 11, 2008
Apr 27, 2005
Ted's chauvinistic nihilism has no life-affirming qualities and reflects his misogyny and misanthropy more than opposition to civilization as an agent of repression.
Dr. Kaczynski opinions are life-denying because he, the filthy @#%$, is sexist? How on earth is that life-denying? Do you feel life affirming ideologies are only those that assert the equality of everyone aside from those who think otherwise (the eternal scapegoat of the far left).
If Ted can't let go of patriarchy, then he is trapped by civilization's oldest pillar.
Ted is far more rebellious than you. He is willing to have irrational values he is willing to go out on a limb and offend the movement that is most likely to support him, whereas you need a reason to hate Ted that is concurrent with the values of Civilization (hatred is bad for the system it doesnt allow you to maximize profits!) and, , conveniently enough, reasons approved by the Green Anarchy movement as well. Perhaps you need to rethink your dogma.
antinomianism - The belief that moral laws are relative in meaning and application as opposed to fixed or universal.
Joined Apr 18, 2005
Last active Mar 11, 2008
Apr 28, 2005
Huh? What 'irrational' values? Ted K's writing is far more weighed down by 'rational' baggage than anything coming out of the Green Anarchy movement. That's quite clear in fact...
Ted is far more rebellious than you
So what? Serial Killers, Pro-life bombers, Muslim terrorists are all, in a sense more 'rebellious' than I. Just because one is deemed 'more rebellious' am I therby required to uncritally accept the totallity of their particular world view?
hatred is bad for the system it doesnt allow you to maximize profits!)
Hatred of course disturbs the surface veneer of capitalism (it is not good for bussiness so to speak!) but it does not ultimately challenge it in any meaniful way and is certainly not 'revolutionary.' Capitilism is merely the most advanced, ideologically crystalized form of economy that has, more or less, dominated 'civilization' from the start. Hate, domination, have always been at the heart, even if their coarse expression is/has been considered undesirable at times...
he is willing to go out on a limb and offend the movement that is most likely to support him
Ted K. was not influenced really by anything coming out the GA movement. He certainly didn't do it 'for them' and they should not pretend he did, regaurdless of whether or not they appluad his actions. That some GAs have been too hasty in claiming him, uncritically, as 'their own' is a product of their own naviete and simple eagerness. I personally think Ted has a far stronger following among the eco-facist and the right wing survivalist types - in the end, his thoughts, in my opinion, are closer much to theirs.
Like most everyone else (GAs included), ultimately Ted is an ideologue. He has a fairly specific view of the future - deviations from this vision, are in his opinion, simply folly - wishful thinking. Fair enough. He is entitled to such an opinion...
Dr. Kaczynski opinions are life-denying because he, the filthy @#%$, is sexist? How on earth is that life-denying? Do you feel life affirming ideologies are only those that assert the equality of everyone
It is the hypothesis of most calling themselves Green Anarchists, that the domination of nature is in it self interconnected to various other sytems of domination - man over woman included. For, them, simply eliminating 'technology' per se, will not do the trick. Ted, quite clearly does not belive this, and dismisses it as 'leftist'. For him civilization = technology. So thus, GAs naturally see his critque of civilization as incomplete. It's quite clear there is gap in thinking and there is no need to gloss over this. Just because most GA's applaud Dr. K's actions, and value parts of his writing, does not mean they are REQUIRED to uncritically absorb everything he personally believes...