Top positive review
Kaczynski's critique of modern industrial society is brilliant on many fronts
Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2017
Kaczynski's critique of modern industrial society is brilliant on many fronts, although I find his solution to the problem appallingly utopian and simple minded. Ted asks the question "why are people so miserable in industrial society?" and he comes to many conclusions. One is that we are caught up in what he calls "surrogate activities", which are something like activities "just for the sake of doing something" rather than, say, doing something because we need to in order to survive. An example would be that instead of hunting or fishing in order to be able to eat, we play video games where we hunt and fish just because we have nothing else to do. In other words, we are so saturated with material wealth that we are dying of boredom and therefore waste our time on trivial nonsense.
Another issue is that we don't have the ability to go through what he calls "The Power Process". TPP is Ted's term for a psychological need in us to have goals, work towards those goals, achieve them at a reasonable rate, and do so with autonomy. In industrial society much of what we have is so easy to get that we hardly have to work towards them (hence why we engage in so many surrogate activities) and much of what we want is so difficult to get that we end up frustrated because we can't obtain them. Most importantly, however, we have very little autonomy when it comes to major decisions in our life. We can hardly control who gets into office based on our measly vote. Likewise, most of us have very little control over the direction our company is going to take, or what type of education our children are going to receive, or what type of clean air or water we can drink, and etc. So modern man increasingly feels frustrated and powerless, which leads to "feeling of inferiority". We are also "over-socialized" into thinking a certain way (see: political correctness) and thus are brainwashed and/or guilt tripped from a very early age into thinking and saying only what the system tells us to. So what can we do about all of this? Kaczynski tries to argue that we can't do anything to reform this system, and thus we have to overthrow it. I think that is a lazy answer to the problem (and a dangerous one) but obviously Kaczynski was a very resentful, violent man.
All in all, Kaczynski illuminates some serious issues that we face as moderns living in this type of society, and I guess it is up to us to figure out a way to reclaim our autonomy and sense of fulfillment in an age where such things are quite difficult indeed. This book is a great read and I recommend it to pretty much anyone who is interested in idea's.