Kaczynski in Practice: The Amish

A central distinction that Dr. Ted makes in his coupe de grace against the technological system is regarding types of technology. There are two types of tech - one that depends on centralization and processes, trade and exchange, and one that any reasonable human can create of his own two hands. To illustrate this: a highway system is an organizationally dependent technology, a water wheel is not.

Dr. Kaczynski brings this topic up but doesn't seem to take it to the conclusion. He only uses it to make a point that technology doesn't always progress, as seen in the post-Roman period, but can fall back to small scale technology. The point of this was to show to readers that thing don't always have to move forward, and humanity can live succesfully without the roman water works.

Quoting at paragraph 208, Dr Ted elaborates further:
208. We distinguish between two kinds of technology, which we will call small-scale technology and organization-dependent technology. Small-scale technology is technology that can be used by small-scale communities without outside assistance. Organization-dependent technology is technology that depends on large-scale social organization. We are aware of no significant cases of regression in small-scale technology. But organization-dependent technology DOES regress when the social organization on which it depends breaks down.

What I am interested is combining the above distinguishment with his later points about the human psyche. Let's read along with paragraph 54:

54. A few pre-industrial cities were very large and crowded, yet their inhabitants do not seem to have suffered from psychological problems to the same extent as modern man. In America today there still are uncrowded rural areas, and we find there the same problems as in urban areas, though the problems tend to be less acute in the rural areas. Thus crowding does not seem to be the decisive factor.

I'd like to make a point that combines the two paragraphs quoted. That humans are capable of living with small scale technology, even in cities, without destroying the individual or allowing technological society to trot forward unabounded.

None better to illustrate this in action than the Anabaptists found in North America - As a Pennsylvanian I am intimately familliar with a drive down route 30 behind a horse and buggy, a hallmark of a family of Amish on their way about town.

But why the Amish do this? To separate themselves from modern society, and inadvertently doing so reject the technological system.

Some might say - well the Mennonites sometimes use generators! The Amish may have a cell phone to make business calls! They even have running water or maybe a tractor!

This is true, but how they got there is what is important. Elders in different anabaptist sects carefully examine technology, evaluate its potential impact on the community and wellbeing of their citizens and then decide to use it or not. It's certainly not one size fits all, and some reasions are more directly religious (plain dress) than community (but still focused on those religious morals) reasons.

See - only in a self sufficient community like the Amish are you able to eschew the demands of ever growing the technological system and instead focus on the more human, of life, family and so forth.

Because they have no need to bow to the demands of society, to keep up with the joneses or produce widgets at 3% improved efficiency. They are able to evaluate the benefits and draw backs of these tools and machinery, and say "Sure, having a electric fireplace will be nice, but we don't need it, and we won't allow ourselves to be reduces to servants of the technology"

I think examining these communitys is an important path forward for those who are concerned with industrial society, and it's consequences - That small scale technology can be harness without fear, given a careful examination of the benefits for the human, and its negatives.

I think we're actually all fairly familar with this concept - be it nuclear power or recycling, that sometimes past technology, and future technology, and current technology have or have extremely negative conesquences and we have chosen as a society to move away from it.

The biggest blockade to embracing a lifestyle apart from the technological system is the system itself. It only tightens its grip, it only hones the efficency endlessly. Some call this capitalism, but it's a symptom of the technological system, not the economic one. The same faults are found in communist societies.

Quoting at paragraph 127:
127. A technological advance that appears not to threaten freedom often turns out to threaten it very seriously later on. For example, consider motorized transport. A walking man formerly could go where he pleased, go at his own pace without observing any traffic regulations, and was independent of technological support-systems. When motor vehicles were introduced they appeared to increase man’s freedom. They took no freedom away from the walking man, no one had to have an automobile if he didn’t want one, and anyone who did choose to buy an automobile could travel much faster and farther than a walking man. But the introduction of motorized transport soon changed society in such a way as to restrict greatly man’s freedom of locomotion

A sustainable, human first approach to escaping technological society may not be to "pull a Ted" and end up in the woods as a monastic, but instead have a community like the Amish, of careful decisions and focus around why, and doing due dilligance when evaluating any changes to society. The technological system on it's ever march forward, doesn't allow anyone to evaluate or decide how as a group society or commuity should be, in fact it forces society and community to fall in line - or else.

Instead we should strike anew, with the manifesto as a doctrine - a holy book - and extract first principles from it. To write these into the fabric of our communities and to take back control over our lives and our communties instead of allowing ourselves to be only in reaction to technology.

If the Amish can do it, so can anyone. They're happier, they're healthier, they're family focused and reproduce, they have tight knit communities and are inwardly focused. An scape to Amish way of life isn't a rejection of capitalism or 'modern' amoral society as much as it is of the technological system. The rejection of those is just a kind side effect.

That's all she wrote folks.

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