The Unabomber Manifesto, Part 2: The Power Process

Industrial Society and its Future, Cont’d

The following continues a condensed summary of the Unabomber Manifesto: Industrial Society and its Future.  The ideas, below, are Kaczynski’s.  The headings and numbers are his.   This is no endorsement of violence or anarchy. The document is presented in parts.  Previous parts include:

The Power Process
  1. We have an innate need for the power process – not power, but related to it.  The elements of the power process are goal, effort, attainment of goal, and autonomy.
  2. We need to exercise power to achieve our goals.  If we got everything we wished for, we’d become bored and depressed.  Leisured aristocracies enjoy power but become decadent (hedonistic, demoralized).
  3. Achieving goals without effort is demoralizing.  We all have goals, including survival.
  4. Failure to meet goals ends in frustration.  Consistent failure causes low self-esteem or depression.
  5. We need reasonably attainable goals that require effort to achieve.
Surrogate Activities
  1. When survival is easy, we create artificial goals that require effort (our energy and emotion).  These include intellectual or material pursuits (education, recreation, wealth, status).
  2. These are surrogate activities.  They are “fulfillment” goals, rather than survival goals.  Sex and love are not surrogate activities, unless pursued excessively.
  3. Survival in modern society requires minimal effort – mostly mere obedience.  Most activities in modern society are surrogate activities (in whole or in part).
  4. Surrogate activities somewhat satisfy most people.  They satisfy more than survival goals because that requires minimal effort.  This denies us autonomy because we survive as cogs in the social machine.  Surrogate activities satisfy more because we pursue them autonomously.
  1. Most of us need some autonomy in the power process (choice, direction, and control) as an individual or part of a small group.  Rigid hierarchies deny individual autonomy.  So do large groups, where decisions make us insignificant.
  2. Some require little autonomy.  They may need less.  They may have powerful group belonging and identity.  They may enjoy blind obedience.
  3. Most need the power process for self-esteem, confidence, and empowerment.  We need goals and the autonomy to achieve those goals.  Denied those opportunities, we suffer mentally – inferiority, depression, anxiety, hostility, and other disorders.

Next, Part 3: Social Problems