I came here to edit Ted Kaczynski's Industrial Society and Its Future—or rather, I read it here, and corrected some mistakes in the process. Later, I improved some of the markup. That seems to me a great thing about a wiki: on other sites you can only complain about mistakes, but on wikis you just fix them. Unfortunately, I was banned from wikipedia, so I won't be doing that there anymore. Since my user page there there was removed, I've archived it here.
What Is Worth While? : A Study of Conduct, from the Viewpoint of the Man Awake was printed in 1911 in Mother Earth, "The Only Anarchist Monthly in America," published by Emma Goldman and edited by Alexander Berkman. I thought it fascinating to read a defense of the exercise of individual will as against the virtue of duty, where today an appeal to such a virtue is hardly known. (Relevant is a footnote added to Carpenter's essay in its second edition: «It is interesting to note that the "sense of Sin" seems now (1920) to have nearly passed away. And this probably indicates a considerable impending change in our Social Order»). Yet, the abandonment of duty has hardly resulted in an abandonment of the demands formerly attributed to duty. The essay thus serves to highlight the shift to the contemporary argument for obedience, resignation. I showed this essay to a friend, making a similar comment, and he asked me, Do you have a polemic against resignation? Alas, I do not; and I question whether a polemic can serve to combat resignation at all. What I think is necessary, rather, is a plan. But I do not have one of those either.
Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure was first printed in 18-something, then again in 1920, but the version at Labadie was printed in 1972 with an introduction explaining the influence of the text on Gandhi, and arguing for its relevance to the then-contemporary counter-culture. Unfortunately, copyright—the most common cause, in my life, of day-to-day frustration—prevents me from posting it here. However, I strongly recommend you read it before the main text. (If that link breaks—it look like it might be temporary—try this one).
There is some tedium to the essay, but it is interesting to see its general sentiment, which is now coming into an increased (though quite small) popularity. The idea is not new, that civilization—which is hard to define, but might best be described as what conquerors do—is perhaps not altogether beneficial to those civilized, or conquered; but it still seems quite foreign as against the established conception of history. Carpenter suggests a few of his own definitions, or rather, indicators of civilization. This is the best:
- [T]he French writers of the last century made a good point in inventing the term nations polliceés (policemanised nations) as a substitute for civilised nations; for perhaps there is no better or more universal mark of the period we are considering, and of its social degradation, than the appearance of the crawling phenomenon in question. [Imagine the rage of any decent North American Indians if they had been told they required policemen to keep them in order!]
I welcome any comments on these texts, Industrial Society, or whatever, here (if in response to my comments) or on my talk page.