Even though Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber engaged in criminal behavior, he did cite some important thoughts that deserve attention (which were written in the same form many times before him). It is important for me to note that his thoughts were not original because I don’t want it to seem that I am extolling and supporting a lunatic. The manifesto he wrote echoed what he called the “Power Process”. Intrinsic to his social observation is that human beings need to “Do Something” and readily “Accomplish Meaningful Goals”. There were three types of achievements that you face, and he put them in three categories, easy, moderate, and hard. 1) Those that are easy to obtain, 2) Those achievements that can be accomplished with moderate effort (medium) and 3) Those achievements that are impossible or nearly impossible tasks.
The more things in a human’s life that are pushed into the third category, the more depression and anxiety fills that person’s life.
Human beings need love and the “power process” as he termed it. This is not a new way of thinking and every great thinker had noted this about human beings. A human being needs to feel he has some semblance of control. A human being needs to do work and they need to be able to achieve a measured degree of success in their endeavors. If their efforts are all in vain and yield no fruit, they will feel suffering as a result of the failure to achieve modest goals.
For instance, say a man needed to build a small bridge over a creek all by himself. Well, to gather the wood would be in the first category (something he can achieve with ease). Being able to tie the wood pieces together and form functional bridge where he may be able to cross would be in the second category (something he can achieve with modest effort. But say he encounters a situation where he absolutely needs to build a working bridge but due to weather conditions the bridge he builds continues to fall apart even if he puts forth great effort. Then this would fall into the third category (something he needs to achieve but is an impossible task). Perhaps the third situation is possible but he needs more men and sturdier wood to build the bridge but he has no access to these necessities. Then, true suffering would be felt.
In Ted Kaczyinski’s “manifesto” he discerned that man needs more and more of the achievements in Category 2. But there are so many cases that prevent even the Category 2 achievements from being accomplished in this modern life. Modern “
western man” needs autonomy for this, but society all too often puts a man in the third category. Society is so competitive and unyielding in its desire for progress, profits, and achievements. There is never an end to build the tallest building, and the efficiency and industry of the corporate machine in America makes it nearly impossible to accomplish this and so many other tasks, because in corporate America the needs of the groups expands over the needs of the individual. And a man can never accomplish enough. Society never is satisfied by the accomplishments of a given man. Society always demands more, and better things.
So, as the endless array of goals climbs, the modern man increasingly feels helpless. Even after a successful endeavor, society…without missing a beat, asks the man, “What’s next?” There is never any rest or feeling that all that is to be accomplished is accomplished. Society is like an ever thirty beast, and man lives in society (or at least most do). Thus, a successful man is doomed like in the myth of Sisyphus to continue pushing that boulder up the mountain, only to have it roll down again.
Suppose you decide to open a convenience store with moderate effort and build a successful business. You have accomplished everything in Category 2. But there is no rest for you. Because the modern engines of commerce and invention progress, a local Walmart or Jewel-Osco store will be built only a short distance away. Suddenly, his sales in his store drop down to a dwindle. And his business which used to turn a profit is now turning into a loss. What used to be a Category 2 effort will quickly change to a Category 3 (impossible) effort. How can you sell a gallon of milk for $3.99 when you buy it wholesale from the source for $3.49 and the local Walmart sells it for $1.89? Who will buy in your store except for maybe your parents and siblings?
Therefore, these Category 3 firestorms will blaze through your life as it does for most modern men. And then anxiety followed by depression will follow as you as certain as the day turns into night. In the example aforementioned, the store owner will burn through his remaining cash and suffer the depression as he sits penniless…or even worse in significant debt.
As more and more people get thrown into Category three situations, their frustrations grow and change their psyche. Once a peaceful and content and happy mind will turn into a whirlwind of frustration, anger, disappointment, and unease. Once a law abiding citizen may engage in deviant behavior like theft of property…out of sheer frustration he loses his compass of morality. These desperate minds lash out their inner turmoil against the people close to them, possibly even injuring them.
Consider the plight today of an African American male grown up in a poor inner city. The high school drop out rates are very high. Without a high school diploma and without anyone to hire them for work, their efforts
Artificial forms of the power process are insufficient, as it results in purposeless in life. By artificial, I mean things which have no real gain or robustness. You could tell yourself that building a small tree house which nobody will use could be considered an “artificial” gain. In addition to suffering the acute anxiety and depression of financial negative consequences, you end up with a loss of purpose in life, which further feeds on itself and spirals you into possible depressive psychosis, as you search for fulfillment.