"The circumstances of his suicide are unclear"
This is so concerning as a grandparent who has seen the bridge to technology being built - more like a rubicon crossed - never to return. I hope my children and grandchildren can be smarter than their smart technology. The freedom we enjoyed growing up was beautiful.
Ted followed the work of Jacques Ellul closely. The Technological Society, followed by The Technological System are both required reads if you want to fully grasp what Ted was getting at. Primitivism isn't it, but I think a technological regression / business localization / human adaptation / increased resilience are necessary to avoid Ted's conclusion.
I am on a road trip across the country. My experience with technology is less than seamless; no connection, glitchy software. Granted I have an IPhone 6 but my husband’s work phone was not that much better. People out here in the hinterlands may be using their phones for specific tasks but they are directly engaging in their surroundings and one another . I have yet to meet anyone interested in talking tech or politics. As a follower of you snd Alison McDowell among others i see where this is going but they have a long way to go outside of cities. Chaco canyon in some ways felt like looking at the rubble of the future. Every time I spy a wind turbine actually turning i think about the 16000 gallons of oil necessary to make that happen and the enormous footprint it will make when it decomposes leaving oddly astronomically aligned markings in the earth where it falls for future anthropomorphoids to contemplate.
We simply MUST avoid the "inevitable" future that we can all see in our wind shield.... if we fail to avoid it as it's already taking form, all of our individual destinies will take one-of-three forms: 1. we will end-up like Ted (willing to take action to stop/throw monkey wrenches in The Machine, caught,incarcerated,die), 2. as Joe observes, we end-up numbed/drugged/morphed into something physically/mentally Un-human (dead for all practical purposes), OR 3. we end-up plugged-in to the Borg (sentient but in UTTER MISERY).
As an avowed Legacy Human, I say there are NO up-sides to this future that justify its costs ... NONE! No tech perks or conveniences worth losing my humanity, my individual sovereignty, and my authentic personal agency over. This future can not be allowed to happen.
Thank you JOEBOT! Yet another insightful view! The most noteable fight against the machine is "it's" ability to brainwash the youth into what we see today. They are actually considering self mutilation and hate of their natural self (in addition to the parents that want that for their children). Sad and Godless human beings looking for something that is right in front of them- the natural world and connecting with other human beings! Alone in their rooms on a machine that guides them to emptiness. It's good to see home schooling and alternative classical learning growing! Pray for our country and the awakening!
The only hope for humanity is found in our free will. If enough humans start to value their free will as the treasure it truly is we will open a door to the possibility of saving ourselves.
Once people train their focus on free will and accept that it is the only real power man has on earth, they will defend it and prioritize it over comfort, security, and pleasure.
Free will is the real “god-like” power available to us all other man made powers are illusions and in fact make us slaves to the material order. Only free will unbinds us from the chains of men and the Machine.
I dream of a restoration of humanity via a resurgence of free will in man’s mind and heart. Then I dream of a whole new life and culture that would develop around preserving and honoring free will. We would fear anything that enslaves us in spite of its rewards and benefits. We would return to a harder life, a simpler life, a life with more risks and discomfort but we would choose that because it would preserve our free will and shield it from the deception and seduction of technology and “progress”.
It’s my dream. I don’t expect it to come true. But I’m clinging to my free will and will live free until I die. I’d rather suffer than be a slave I’d rather die than hand over my free will to “progress”
Thought inspiring article as you usually do. Thanks Joe. I watched the Unabomber story unfold back in the day. I got the manifesto as well when it became available. I believe if he had not gone the terrorism and murder route, he would have become an important voice in the discussion where technology should have developed. My wife says he was MK-Untraed in college. Perhaps, I don't know.
He was also a pioneer in the "back to the land off grid lifestyle" and the concept of living in a tiny house. I was very interested in his cabin when the FBI uprooted the whole thing and moved it as part of their evidence. I was at a workshop with Jay Schaefer of Tumbleweed Tiny House Designs (founding populariser of tiny houses) in Madison WI in the 1990s where Ted K's cabin was discussed. As I remember Ted also rode bicycles as his main method of transportation.
I agree with you in not believing any future is “inevitable.” We can make decisions on how to live on an individual level at the very least, and that can also become a trend influencing large segments of people. 2 weeks ago we had a complete loss of the internet connection due to some cable breakage which left us without internet and wifi for 4 days in our rural area. I felt like I was back in the 1970s - 80s. It was actually quite relaxing without all the internet distractions. I worked in the garden, got outside projects done and read actual paper books. (my wife was not as into that time travel as I, and was stressed out). But, it was a good time to contemplate what was important. I remembered when Ken Kesey (of The Merry Pranksters fame) turned off all media for a year. (Yes, I am that old Yeesh). I realize I could l live that quieter life without the electronic technology again.
As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and government becomes more and more in control, people will let representatives make more of their decisions for them, simply because these decisions will bring faster results than individually-made ones. At that stage those who pay the representatives will be in effective control.
Should give everyone pause for thought
Sad but true. Arrogance of man only out done by machine arrogance from machine self programmed god complex. The AI will be possessed by Demonic forces. This combination is atheist billionaire with possessed AI will bring hell on earth.
I haven't seen the evidence that led anyone to believe he committed suicide, but I will make note of the fact that 81 years is above the normal life expectancy of human males. I don't even understand why anyone would feel the need to say anything other than he died in prison at the age of 81.
The only thing in life that's inevitable is death, Joe.
Great piece as always. I'm always awed by your mastery of the written word.
1. 'We always have a choice about which direction to go.' So, how does this 'We' pan out?
2. Haven't these years of Covid conformity demonstrated that we can't depend on 'We the people' at all.
3. I've really come to rationalize, in no simple way, that if 'we' manage to overcome the tyrannical forces clearly seeking to oppress and control global society, it will be a case of 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few'. It will be the few, not the many who are the 'we' in this picture... not least because they were able to see beyond the all-encompassing propaganda, which has been the means to achieving atrocities for well over a hundred years but which is currently reaching a zenith to end all zeniths.
He grew up in a country that was coming out of the mad 60's and 70's with a decadent society dependent on money only and no long term goals. The research has been a bonanza and any new invention was grabbed by warmongers. We are living the destructive path he envisioned decades ago. Unfortunately, he had a mind thinking ahead of his times and it is an easy shot to associate him with the anarchist movement. God rest him in peace that he did not get in this shady world!
Without faith and trust in God, man can easily be driven to despair within his own self-created reality. AI is only as good as what is put into it – still controlled by man. AI can never control man’s free will. Free will is a divine given gift. Nothing can surpass man’s free will even God himself will not violate it. What is free will? It is given by God to a mortal to choose Him and his guidance. Judgment day is not here on earth but into the future when a mortal has to finally decide whether to follow and accept God or to reject him. The rejection of the Eternal God is eternal nonexistence.
Then there is the soul, the growing entity within a mortal. This present physical existence is the first journey of a mortal in his long inward search for the Divine, which we called God on this planet. The soul is still at an embryonic stage growing as the mortal grows. Upon a mortal’s physical death, the shedding of his physical form, the soul and the fragment of God (the quiet voice within) survive. They are to be part again of the mortal once he is resurrected in a different dimensional plane. This is what Jesus’ referred to as “in my father’s house, there are many mansions”.
Conclusion: Technology and science ever marches forward to free man from toil allowing him to ever increase his efforts to improve his mind. It is up to man what he will do with his scientific discoveries. For now, man currently is still in a semi barbaric evolution. Bridges will need to be built for centuries yet before man will truly realize the teaching of Christ leading to a true brotherhood of man. But machines will never ever control man’s free will or his soul. It will be a violation of the Divine Will which means it will never ever happen. A mortal evolved from animalistic origins to become perfect as God is perfect. This is the divine mandate. Machines (AI) do not have souls or free will. They are just plain inanimate objects depending on humans to function – developed and controlled by humans.
Very well written. If only Ted had been focused on his garden instead of his screen!
Was TK was too smart for his own good???
After we left the Garden-
Humans have been shocked at technological improvements since the first cave man mastered the tool of fire.
The fear of what it may lead to most likely banished the first inverter from the tribe and out into the cold. As the banished cave man went out on his own, he and his mate found comfort and warmth, saving them vital energy to hunt, gather, and prosper to procreate. Generations later the old tribe cease to evolve and the Fire-maker's descendants thrived to this day.
As I type on my APPLE, it reminds me of the the Apple that Adam & Eve dared to consume from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They choose to have the knowledge.
The Angels Incarnated (AI) created by God to become the Guardians of Man, Mans Messengers to God. There were Benevolent AI and Evil AI, and they battled to control the will and future of Man.
The New Cyber Man must program AI to extrapolate the mathematical existence of God as the creator of the universe knowing Man was created in his image so as to create a benevolent AI to be the guardians of Man, his Messengers to God, and to conquer Evil AI as it arises.