• Wayfarer
    10.9k
    Good idea. I’ll try that. I feel an obligation to read more of the Kant opus but it’s very hard work and I can never really tell if it’s time well spent. (I guess that’s like one of the antinomies :-) )
  • StreetlightX
    6.6k
    Perry Anderson - Lineages of the Absolutist State
    Perry Anderson - In The Tracks of Historical Materialism

    Moar histore.
  • tim wood
    5.9k
    Think of it, apart from its intellectual rewards, as like heavy physical exercise. Give it some time and just see what new muscles and strength you have!
  • Daemon
    141
    William Dalrymple The Anarchy

    Historian writes about the British East India Company, which acted like a State, conquering and (mis)governing parts of India. Wonderful characterisations, fascinating insights into bizarre societies (both western and oriental), a great book but I've had to stop reading it as I can't bear the descriptions of torture and mutilation.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Finished The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. Very good, would recommend.
  • Maw
    2.3k
    How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott
    The Technological Society, Jacques Ellul
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Also, Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How, Ted Kaczynski.
  • Maw
    2.3k
    What books should I buy for the Verso Books holiday sale?
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Technological Slavery, Ted Kaczynski

    turns out crazy old uncle ted has some interesting ideas
  • StreetlightX
    6.6k


    Anything Wolfgang Streeck or Mike Davis or Robert Brenner
    Andreas Malm's Fossil Capital
    Gindin and Panitch's The Making of Global Capitalism
    Ellen Wood's The Origin of Capitalism

    So much!
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.1k

    A very smart, but twisted man. I think he should have stuck with the math.

    In 1967, Kaczynski's dissertation Boundary Functions[42] won the Sumner B. Myers Prize for Michigan's best mathematics dissertation of the year.[11] Allen Shields, his doctoral advisor, called it "the best I have ever directed", — Wikipedia
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    It's complicated. K definitely has a twisted streak (e.g. his journal entries expressing glee when he learned his bombs had killed people). Yet his ideas are remarkable, and the intensity of his presentation is quite honestly breathtaking at times. It is a shame that he did his bombings; while he claims to not feel remorse and believes it to have been necessary, I think the world could have benefited more from his writings if he were not in prison. And despite his crimes, for a man so devoted to human autonomy, it is somewhat tragic (or ironic) that he is behind bars.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k


    The mountains of Western Montana offered me nearly everything I needed or wanted. If those mountains could have remained just as they were when I first moved to Montana in 1971, I would have been satisfied. The rest of the world could have had a herd mentality, or an individualistic mentality or whatever, and it would have been all the same to me. But, of course, under modern conditions there was no way the mountains could have remained isolated from the rest of the world. Civilization moved in and squeezed me, so... — Kaczynski, Technological Slavery
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.1k

    I don't know man, civilization moving in and squeezing me, hardly seems like a good reason for bombing it.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Like I said, it's complicated, probably one of the toughest issues that one thinks about when reading his works. I think violence can be justified, sometimes it's the only option. But retaliating by striking out against random people who are related, even just barely, to modern industrial technology, and who otherwise are innocent, is cruel and frighteningly ruthless. K claims it was meant to draw attention to his ideas, but who knows how sincere he is when he says that. And maybe all it ended up doing was make people scared, and cling even more tightly to technology and the state.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.1k
    K claims it was meant to draw attention to his ideas, but who knows how sincere he is when he says that.darthbarracuda

    The writings are anti-societal. The acts were anti-societal. We can ask, which came first, the writings or the acts, to see if the acts were meant to bring attention to the writings, or if the writings are an attempt to justify the acts. Before the acts, wasn't the man a mathematical genius who got disillusioned with society? It's possible that he later turned that incredible mind of his toward justifying some terrible acts. Fifteen years of violence before his manifesto was published doesn't look good for the idea that the violence was meant to bring attention to his ideas.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Yeah, I also doubt his intentions were purely motivated by ideological beliefs about the dangers of technology. Like you said, fifteen years is a long time to go without any explanation as to why the attacks are happening.

    Eric Hoffer (whom Kaczynski occasionally references) said that people turn into fanatics in order to justify atrocities that they have committed. The devotion of a fanatic is often an attempt to silence feelings of guilt. Deeper and deeper they go. Hoffer thinks there are three types of people in a social revolution: men of letters, fanatics and men of practical action (appearing in that order temporally). I think Kaczynski might be considered to be both a man of letters and a fanatic.

    Regardless, I don't see much use in focusing on his actions. It's his ideas that really matter. Use what you can, and compost the rest.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    8.1k
    Yeah, I also doubt his intentions were purely motivated by ideological beliefs about the dangers of technology. Like you said, fifteen years is a long time to go without any explanation as to why the attacks are happening.darthbarracuda

    His work place was a University. His targets were Universities. So he displays elements of classic 'going postal'. And as a letter bomber he gives the expression a whole new dimension.

    Regardless, I don't see much use in focusing on his actions. It's his ideas that really matter.darthbarracuda

    The question then, do his ideas really have merit, or is it just a case of being an interesting read because it's written by a very intelligent and capable human being, who experienced an extremely messed up life.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    I'm planning on making a thread on his ideas to help determine just that.
  • 180 Proof
    2.2k
    december reading:

    • Anatomy of Fascism, Robert Paxton
    The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War, Jonathan Daniel Wells
    Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson

    re-reading:

    Stories Of Your Life And Other Stories, Ted Chiang

    still reading

    There Is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ: Religious Violence in the Christian Roman Empire, Michael Gaddis
    • God, Existence, and Fictional Objects: The Case for Meinongian Theism, John-Mark L. Miravalle
    • Capital and Ideology, Thomas Piketty
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Technics and Civilization, Lewis Mumford
  • Pantagruel
    1.2k
    Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey
  • Pantagruel
    1.2k
    History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Vol 3: The Age of Revolution by Winston Churchill
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, James C. Scott.

    Excited for this one :party:
  • StreetlightX
    6.6k
    :up: Plan to read this soon too!

    Incidentally, am currently reading Joseph Strayer's On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State.
  • frank
    6.1k
    Cook's Medieval Worldview is good. He talks about the re-emergence of cities and why Roman law facilitated it.
  • StreetlightX
    6.6k
    Interesting! I'm doing alot of reading around states and state trans/formation recently, but the intersection between cities and law sounds awesome too. Will put it on the list at least.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Been a great book so far, I am nearly finished with it after a relaxing weekend of reading. Definitely a re-read.
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