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Allen Caldeira Article MICRO CHANGES - JAN/FEB 2019

Subtle Tensions

Written by Allen Caldeira

You’re walking down a dark city street somewhere in Brazil. The brothels are around this neighborhood, and each person is a potential threat. Your awareness of this causes your body to tense, especially the neck and stomach. You see a man step out of a building up ahead and you instinctively jolt back just a bit. You imagine him stabbing you, threatening you, pushing you into the doorway to take your money.

Then you realize that you are holding tension in your body.

You begin to focus on releasing the tension, and wave hello. He waves back. You talk. It’s good.

This is a real situation (slightly dramatized), described to me by a shaman. He often encountered people he felt might threaten someone else, but connecting to the earth and treating people as humans first helped him immeasurably in these situations. His awareness of his body has helped him to see new ways in which we can look at the body as a system of tension, energy, and potentially compassionate presence.

Photo By Joshua Newton

Shaman Says

Shamans, from the Ineen tradition take their reality to truly be relative. No one paradigm or way of seeing is the “right” one. Still, they maintain certain values, such as “to come from the heart has more power than to come from the gut.” They don’t deny the gut, but they feel that to translate ideas through the heart and hands is more effective than to do so through the solar plexus alone.

Consistently the advice from these shamans is to “ground out energy.” What is this literally? It is paying attention to the feet/trunk* and releasing whatever emotion that would remove you from the moment. This comes with the intention of being fully present.

We encounter various situations in life that make us feel uncomfortable, that make some part of our body tense. In the language of chakras, you get a block in the chakras because of a perceived threat. There becomes a tension and less information can move through the cluster of nerve cells at that point in the body. You have a perception of potential threat there because of preconceived notions, ideas about how things are that are stuck inside your energy centers, directing you towards or away from any particular situation.**

People notice subtle tension inside your body. People notice if you believe they might hurt you or steal from you. People notice more than they are aware they notice.

The recommended practice to deal with tension is to connect to the earth. Imagine you are grounded and at peace even inside of an uncomfortable situation. The shaman was able to have genuine, polite conversations with people who he believed would have robbed someone else. He did this by grounding out his fear and replacing it with compassionate presence.

This Can Go Deeper

We all have various loops – habitual tendencies – inside us that cause tension. Something as simple as seeing a person or hearing water fall in a particular way may cause a feeling of unease. The tensions we carry have become so normalized, so much part of our being, that we would never consider them abnormal. And, tension is fine, the question is more of whether you have control over that tension, if you want that tension or not.

Most of us do not control our tensions – they control us, creating patterns and habituations that occur without end. How do you stop the painful patterns? By grounding through them, being present, and releasing. If we know that it is actually our own interpretation of a situation that directs its outcome, then changing our response to any given situation would lead us out of the negative pattern connected to it.

Photo by Brannon Naito

Be Aware Of Pain, Then Working With It

There are numerous ways to do this, but the underlying mechanism seems to be the relaying of the upper brain, the crown chakra, into the survival system of the brain, from the solar plexus to the root – tailbone, perineum, and feet.^* Translating the above to the below. To do this, one has to be able to free oneself of tension in literally any situation.

In the most general sense there is one method of action and one of cessation. To be active is to clear tension no matter what situation approaches you, and often produces and is produced by a more wild kind of being, much more connected to human tendencies. That is to say that when we become masters of our instinctual responses we can use them to be active in the world in a very direct way, which expresses itself differently for everyone. Cessation is much more what we hear about from various masters, you meditate for an extended period of time in a secluded space to gain mastery over the physical body.

Ultimately, these produce the same result:  your energy body and physical body come into a state of peace with one another.

Let’s Re-orient Back To The Shamans

The practices of the shamans include calling down a celestial, white or blue light which covers their bodies and creates a pure field. They often describe the light as being connected to the highest self, able to provide happiness and peace to a person’s deepest being. It makes energy flow more easily. And to connect that to the root chakra would be to find peace in life.

The tension that occurs in the body is what prevents the energy from traveling through the body freely – tension blocks flow. Tension is doubt, fear, anger, regret, sadness, etc. They aren’t necessarily bad, but they tend to block up energy flows. If you look for health and happiness it’s a good idea to clean them out. Qi gong practitioners have been doing it for centuries.^^

You can have clean energy centers all the time, and this would imply a very visceral experience of reality, one where you are receiving all of the information originating from the surrounding environment and internal environment. If one has the intent to come from the level of the heart, then that compassion will get translated down automatically through the nervous system. If there is dis-ease in the lower centers, the heart will have a harder time getting through in a clean way.

A simple practice to try is to let the white light come down on your body. Some describe it as blue-white or purple-white. I like to use pink. See what color comes to you! Stay under it with your focus until it feels right to finish.

Take note of the difference in body feeling.

Notes :

* Root chakra and all connected body parts – thighs, calves, feet, perineum, tailbone.

** You could say that this is how chakras (or even your energy field) becomes clogged up, something sticks. Why does it stick? Lack of letting go, lack of compassion, lack of asserting yourself, etc. I feel like it has to do with taking care of the physical body at a very deep level, listening to what it needs in terms of recurring constellations or patterns.

^* From experience, it seems that the tailbone, perineum, and feet at the primary points of energy focus. I have noticed huge amounts of electricity being released through the trunks of the legs as I release various fears, and this tends to come with varying levels of ecstasy. But the focus for me has primarily been at the bottoms of the feet and the tailbone/perineum. A friend suggests the big toes are the most direct link from the crown chakra to the root (it’s logical) and another suggests that it’s wise the give the heels just as much focus to maintain ground while moving forward.

^^ Qi gong has not been around for centuries, I refer to ‘Chinese energy workers’ – now typically Qi gong and tai Qi practitioners.

Article Contributing Creators MICRO CHANGES - JAN/FEB 2019

Brexit and The Policy Changes That Define a Nation

Written by Felix Faillace

So, here we are. Time for a big bowl of Brexit. At the time of publishing, Parliament is holding the vote and soon we will have made a long overdue decision on the toxic relationship it has with Brexit. It is a binary decision, a small change, one of staying or leaving, much like deciding to stay at a party for a while longer or catch the last train home. Except that the party is the EU and the last train home doesn’t let immigrants on board.

Where did this all start? Was it Farage, was it Cameron? Our answer lies deep in our glorious British history (God Save the Queen). From the late 17th century until the early 20th century Britain was the most powerful nation in the world, and by the end of the 19th century Britain ruled over 25% of the world’s population and controlled the global economy. Over the centuries, the Empire faded and a grand disparity developed between the memory of Britannia and the UK of today. In the face of modern challenges, we are left with a superiority complex in our national psyche, and the fact that we can now, in our situation, think we would somehow be better off without the EU, is baffling. Often we like to think that we dominated the globe because we are better than foreigners, but really it’s because we were better bankers.

Past Glory, Thanks to Immigrants

In the early 17th century the newly formed Dutch republic was able to fund the finest trade expeditions through the East India Company. They had established innovative economic instruments, such as the first stock market and the ability to issue bonds to the public, thereby delving into national debt. Holland dominated world trade for a number of decades, winning multiple battles against Britain in the process. However, on the 5th of November 1688, there was a crucial turning point in history as Willem Hendrik van Oranje, better known as William of Orange, landed on British shores and instigated “the Glorious Revolution” in which the Dutch noble took consenting control of the budding empire. Into his new domain, van Oranje imported the pioneering financial institutions of Holland and thrust Britain into the driver’s seat of globalisation.


Prince of Orange Landing at Torbay, engraving by William Miller after J M W Turner (Rawlinson 739), published in The Art Journal 1852 (New Series Volume IV). George Virtue, London, 1852

Today, we are once more at a crossroads in British history, and in the same way these noblemen committed treason and replaced their king, brave politicians must now disregard party loyalties and the “democratic” result of the referendum. There will undoubtedly be change; it is simply a case of whether it will be a return to sanity or a nosedive off the edge of Europe and into economic ruin.

By 1698 Britain had a thriving stock market and the state-funded East India Company was beginning to develop monopolies on the trade between Europe and Asia. Britain even had the money to emerge victorious over France, Spain, and Russia in the Seven Years’ War from 1756 to 1763. Both sides were fairly evenly matched but Britain was able to borrow funds, whilst all the French could do was raise taxes. This war was pivotal in European geopolitics, as the bulk of France’s colonial territories were given to Britain. This failure was felt most acutely by the poorest in France, setting the stage for the French revolution 26 years later.

Britain prospered as a result of the war and they had their financiers to thank for this. Yet most people in Britain perceived their prowess as a result of their innate superiority. They were not aware of the benefits of the stock market – all they saw were the headlines screaming “VICTORY”.

As the nation began to take control of world affairs, the toxic idea of god-granted supremacy began to take root in the British consciousness, a place where it has remained for over 250 years. Of course, the majority of the modern British public doesn’t understand that the glorious Empire was primarily a commercial free trade operation, and this is why it created so much wealth. It was first and foremost a single market, with a single currency, free movement of goods, services, capital and people, and with a single legal framework based on Common Law. Sounds an awful lot like the EU doesn’t it?

The Selective Memory of A Nation

Most of Britain’s success comes down to luck. We have been truly blessed by our geography. As an island, this country is far less susceptible to foreign invasions, and access to the sea allowed his or her majesty to literally rule the waves. This military security meant that Britain was able to focus on other endeavours, such as industrial innovation or improving domestic opportunities. The Magna Carta, Bill of Rights and English Common Law fostered political, economic and civil stability, at a time when other countries were finding their footing as nation states.

While in the 19th century the rest of Western Europe was busy unifying (Germany and Italy), fighting off revolutions (France and Spain) or modernizing from a feudal system (Russia), Britain had already secured a strong national identity and functioning parliament for centuries, keeping the Queen or King in check through heavy dependency on taxation. These are among the most easily identifiable reasons as to why Britain came to dominate, especially for a historian, but, throughout history, it was much easier for the average Brit to point to an inherent national and moral superiority.

For example, we have always ranted and raved about how we ended the slave trade. It is true; the British did blockade the West African coast throughout the early 19th century in order to stop merchants from continuing the trade, whilst being amongst the first European nations to abolish slavery entirely. These actions fully enshrined this effort and many Brits now point to these events as indicators of the morality and benevolence of the Empire.

Official medallion of the British Anti-Slavery Society (1795)

As you might guess, that wasn’t actually the case. In 1793 Britain engaged in war with France and the battles were fought in India, the Caribbean and the Americas, and Britain needed those native populations to support the war effort. Ending slavery was perceived as a move which would raise the overseas political capital of British rule. Slavery was also becoming less and less profitable as mass industry took over, with the slave populations deemed more costly and difficult to control. Successful revolutions had already occurred in territories such as Haiti. Even the forcible ending of the slave trade by the Royal Navy was mainly due to the fact that Britain did not want Brazilian sugar producers to gain an unfair competitive advantage through the use of slave labour.

Again, it was all about the money.

We must not delude ourselves into thinking that it was some moral epiphany that hit British politicians as they walked into the House of Commons one day and realised that enslavement is abhorrent. British authorities have a long tradition of downplaying “their central role in the transatlantic slave trade, while claiming credit for ending slavery.” They preferred to credit the change of heart to Christian lobbying groups such as the Clapham Sect, thereby making the government appear to be both pious and progressive.   

Throughout the 1950s and 60s, there was a steep increase in immigration from ex-colonies and this has led to a visible flaring of racial tensions when combined with the inferiority complex induced by our diminishing imperial might. The two have arrived on British shores simultaneously and led to a staggeringly ironic victim complex, whereby Brits feel colonized in their own land by immigrants from the old colonies. These migrants serve to help the British economy by taking often low-paying jobs and increasing the multiplier effect, never mind the long overdue justice in allowing them opportunities in Britain after centuries of colonisation.

The British public has not been capable of any level of critical introspection or reconciliation, rather remaining begrudged at our new position in the world, as we seek to regain control of our borders at extreme personal cost. However, this sentiment does not exist independently from other factors. It has been greatly exasperated in recent decades by certain economic policy errors, such as not joining the EEC in 1957 at the precise time when the Empire was dissolving.

“We love immigrants. They make great scapegoats.” Photo by Alisdare Hickson

Future Glory, Thanks to Immigrants

Failure to integrate the working class communities of Britain into our increasingly globalized world, followed by harsh austerity imposed on the nation’s poorest, has left many feeling disillusioned and eager to find a scapegoat upon which to drop their insecurities and anger. Politicians such as Margaret Thatcher have redefined the values of modern Britain and have given a legitimate voice to those disillusioned conservatives who simply wish to return to our imperial pre-eminence. However, going back to the old ways implicitly attacks those who represent the new Britain: the hundreds of thousands of economic migrants.

Nowadays, the glory of Britain can be found in our diversity and multiculturalism, but instead, we blame our problems on the social changes experienced in the wake of decolonisation. Many who voted for Brexit did so out of this sentiment. We wish pointlessly for Britannia, yet miss the crucial point that British power was based entirely on free trade and movement of peoples. What 6 words better describe the EU? Perhaps if we were better educated on the true nature of the Empire and not our innate supremacy, we would not have voted to leave the very organisation which continues its legacy.

Abigail C. Keane Article MICRO CHANGES - JAN/FEB 2019

When Fake News Creeps Up on You

Written by Abigail C. Keane

With the emergence of new media, that is, the Internet and all its glorious new forms of communication, the way individuals obtain and spread information has undergone changes beyond what was imaginable a few decades ago. An especially concerning issue is the way we now receive news – if in the past, it was mostly through well-known credible traditional news sources or somewhat questionable gossip, these days, there are millions of unvetted websites uploading and posting news stories that aren’t always 100% truthful (if at all). However, the real problem lies in the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate what constitutes a credible source and reliable information. It has gotten to the point where even known news sites, such as the BBC, are publishing articles on how to spot fake news.

A Brief History of Journalism

The evolution of modern day journalism essentially hinges of the 1947 Commission on Freedom of the Press, also known as the Hutchins Commission, because that was a key step to forming standardized journalistic practices and principles of ethics. After World War II, it became apparent that the freedom of the press was at risk as it was susceptible to the influence of the government and economic power; influence manifests itself in the form of propaganda or advertising.

The main reason changes needed to be implemented, according to the Commission, was to invigorate the press to act as a watchdog and present relatively unbiased news that could criticize the state or other major stakeholders. This idea, calling the media the Fourth Estate, ultimately aimed to protect democracy by preventing external powers from affecting what gets into the news and what doesn’t, how it is presented, etc. Overall, it was a way to ensure that civil society had a voice and that balanced political discourse could persevere.

The point: let truthfulness and accuracy reign in the media.

Photo by Thomas Charters

Regulation and the New Media

This was all well and good while traditional media worked relatively independently and with the established principles of ethics in mind. For instance, in the UK, the vast majority of publication houses (including the media giant Immediate Media Co) are regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). Thus, if there are accuracy issues, privacy breaches and such, these problems are addressed by IPSO, and media companies are held accountable.

While it may be true that such regulating practices have their limits, the new media landscape, especially social media, seems to lack such regulation altogether. At the moment, regulation is mainly restricted to matters of hate speech and (age) inappropriate content – even then, not all posts get flagged down.

So, what happens to all the fake news being posted online? Well, mostly nothing. It may get shot down by reasonable individuals commenting under such posts, but removing such information from social media has much broader and complicated implications. Ultimately, regulation policies and codes of ethics are lagging behind the rapid changes occurring in the news and media, changes we haven’t really noticed or paid enough attention to until recently.

The Irony of Democracy

Currently, the main debate taking place is: should we censor fake news? While some countries, such as Egypt, address that question head-on by saying “YES,” other states are in chaos, not knowing how to deal with the problem. The reason fake news censorship is considered so dangerous is that it gives the government, or some other regulatory body, the power to decide what constitutes true and false information. Taken to the worst case scenario, that could imply tyrannical control over speech – a big no-no for democracy.

Thus, we are now at a point where many of us want change, but we are afraid of it – and rightly so.

The concerns being brought up by free speech advocates and lobby groups, though often self-serving, are by no means blown out of proportion. The means through which governments would try to protect democracy, that is, through censorship, could fundamentally undermine democracy itself.

Photo by Randy Colas

Power to the People

There seem to be two paths leading forward: let states censor fake news or let fake news run loose. What many don’t realize is that there’s at least one more option – let the people take action.

Social media doesn’t abide by the rules of traditional media and presents challenges that are seemingly impossible to tackle in tandem with democratic values. Maybe social media, in its current form and with all its flaws, holds the key. Instead of relying on some authority to solve the problem, individuals can call out and denounce fake news posts and sources by themselves. For instance, we can report posts that contain false information – an action many are already taking.

What is more important, and necessary, to correctly identify fake news stories is to critically evaluate them and stop believing everything you read on the Internet. Instead of just blindly trusting whatever information is thrown your way and re-posting that shit, take a minute, do some more research – get your facts straight!

Until states and other regulatory bodies figure out how to deal with fake news (if that time will ever come), people can catch up to the rapid media changes of our time and adjust their mentality. It’s time to stop the trend of deceit, if not by reporting fake news, then at least by thinking about what you’re reading.

Abigail C. Keane Article TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOCRATS - December 2018

Influencing Our Ideas, Infecting Our Values

Written by Abi C. Keane

I think the time has come to talk about one of the most absurd recently emerged internet phenomena: social media influencers. The question that puzzles me the most on this topic is why the !@*# can someone get away with making money for doing nothing?

Before you chew me out, listen to what I have to say. I know that not all “influencers” are stupid or terrible people – that is not the issue. The issue is the concept of an influencer itself. How do you even define that? What is an influencer?

When I try to answer that question on my own, I think “Well, it’s someone trying to influence you to do something, duh.” But what are these people trying to influence you to do? They post pictures of themselves doing cool activities, going to cool places, and wearing cool things. Though it may seem that they’re just rubbing their “better”, “richer” lives in your face, they’re actually doing so much more – they’re trying to sell you their life.

The way I see it, that happens in several different ways. First, you need to convince others that you’re interesting enough for others to be interested in you. Once you accomplish that, you need to convince others that you’re important enough to keep paying attention to. So what is really happening here is the promotion of a certain lifestyle.

However, that is by no means the end of it. The next step, the thing that really makes someone an “influencer” is making money. The ultimate purpose of being an influencer is to market the products of different companies through social media (and make money off it). If you ask me, that’s the epitome of consumerism.

So once again, what is an influencer? So far, it seems all they influence one to do is buy new stuff.

Photo by Jake Weirick

I’m going to take that a step forward and say: they influence us to perpetuate the overbearing presence of advertising and to distort our value system, with the latter being more of a side-effect, rather than a deliberate ploy.

The first part of that assertion is quite intuitive – after all, it’s near impossible to avoid ads these days, whether it’s on billboards, TV, Spotify, Facebook, or Instagram. With that list being only the tip of the iceberg, it’s hard to understand why people would further cultivate this trend by supporting (following) these “influencers.” I think the reason lies in the second point I made: a distorted value system. Not only do these “influencers” appeal to the masses through their style and glamour, they entice impressionable young people with the possibility of leading such lives themselves. If other random, previously unknown individuals can gain popularity and wealth through the Internet, then why can’t I? In a sense, this is quite similar to the 7-year-old “I wanna be a Youtuber” phenomenon.

Photo by Mliu92

This leads into a cycle whereby these pseudo-jobs are lauded over regular hard work. While it is true that not all individuals buy into this American Dream-esque fantasy, it is astonishing how many people support “influencers” and want to become “influencers” themselves. So to answer the original question of how these people get away with making so much money by doing nothing, I say: it’s their followers who are at fault.

The sad truth is, as long as people blindly follow and worship “influencers,” without questioning what they stand for or acknowledging what their real purpose is, the field of influencer marketing will continue to grow.

I guess what I really want is for people to start thinking more deeply about who or what they want to support. You need to decide for yourself whether you want to be one of the sheep who blindly buy into consumerism or one of the conscious individuals who refuses to fall into the new marketing trap.

Article Max Muller TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOCRATS - December 2018

The Unabomber: A Story and A Theory

Written by Max Muller

Over the years, technology has become an increasingly pervasive aspect of our lives. Some regard these developments as largely positive, they are enamoured with the possibilities it has brought us: flying from Amsterdam to New York in under nine hours, for instance. Others, however, are more cautious and point out the dangers of greenhouse gasses being flung into the air by the machines we so heavily rely on.

In this article, I will write about a man who was so furious with the rise of technology that he wanted to destroy it all. Both his curious life story and his theories on technological development (or lack thereof) will be described. The latter will be subjected to a thorough analysis. I aim to show that his theory has substantial flaws. Some aspects of it however ring true, especially nowadays with the advent of artificial intelligence of ever-increasing sophistication. In that regard, his theory will hopefully serve as a warning to us all.

A Brilliant Bomber

Anarcho-primitivists, a subset of all anarchists, believe that technology is inherently evil. The prime example of an individual who adhered to this separate strain of anarchism is Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber.

Ted Kaczynski was a precocious student who skipped two grades in high school and afterwards obtained several university degrees in mathematics. By 1967, he became the youngest assistant professor in the history of the University of California, Berkeley. He could have gone on to become a successful academic, but after a few years he suddenly resigned from his position.

Later, he would embark on a mission to live completely self-sufficiently in a remote cabin he had built in Montana. Over there, Kaczynski at a certain moment had an intense experience. He saw that a road had been built right through a plateau that had a view of a waterfall. The experience led him to formulate an irredeemably negative view of the whole industrial-technological system.  From then on realized the system had to be taken down violently.

He sought to do so by constructing letter bombs and sending them to people who were, one way or the other, connected to the development, manufacture, or sale of technological products and knowledge. He initially targeted those affiliated with universities and airlines. Hence the FBI used the acronym UNABOM (UNiversity and Airline BOMber) to refer to his case while his identity was still unknown. The media popularized his name under the phrase “the Unabomber”.

Writing A Letter

Constructing and sending bombs were not the only thing Ted Kaczynski did in his cabin. He also wrote. By 1993, the FBI had been looking for him for 17 years. Despite 500 agents being on the case and a $1 million reward being offered for his capture, they had no tangible leads whatsoever.

Then, all of a sudden, the Unabomber anonymously contacted the FBI to offer a deal. If they found him a major newspaper or journal that would publish a lengthy essay he had written, he would agree to stop the bombings. Although the FBI did not want to yield to blackmail, they had few other options. They therefore decided to agree to the terms of the deal by publishing his essay “Industrial Society and Its Future” (ISAIF) in both the New York Times and the Washington Post in 1995.

In his 35,000 word essay, Kaczyinski argues that technology is a totalitarian force, which consumes and degrades all aspects of society while simultaneously destroying the environment. David Skrbina, author of The Metaphysics of Technology, summarizes Kaczyinski’s argument as follows:

  • Humans evolved under primitive, low-tech conditions. Our bodies and minds are designed to live and thrive under precisely these conditions.
  • Present technological society is radically different from our natural state, and imposes unprecedented stress upon us.  
  • Technologically-induced stress will only continue to worsen. Humanity will either be utterly debilitated, or reconstructed and transformed to meet the demands of the system.  
  • Such an outcome is undignified, abhorrent, and profoundly dehumanizing.
  • It is impossible to reform the system so as to avoid this nightmare.

Although Kaczynski gained a wide readership with the publication of his tract, it also led to his imprisonment. His brother recognized his writing style and informed the police, leading to his incarceration in 1997. The UNABOM was finally dismantled.

Photo by David Neubert

Analyzing The Theory

We should also delve deeper into Kaczyinski’s version of anarcho-primitivism. Ignoring his despicable actions for the moment, we can scrutinize the arguments that underlie his philosophy. Some have their merits. A key component is his line of reasoning in ISAIF is his contempt of stress-inducing technology. We certainly see examples of technologies that are increasingly putting stress on people nowadays. Many are so pressured by their employers to be available for communication almost all the time, especially via e-mail, that the French government has given workers the right to disconnect. Moreover, the excessive use of mobile smartphones has been linked to sleep difficulties, and social media is associated with (exacerbating) a wide array of mental health problems.

Not all is sound with his theory, though. For instance, Kaczyinski assumes that humans evolved under primitive, low-tech conditions. While this may have been true initially, it ignores the hypothesis that humans have co-evolved with technological and cultural changes. For instance, the development of livestock farming in Europe was paired with an increasing tolerance for lactose. Although scientists are not entirely sure yet, it seems that the use of tools and fire may have profoundly affected human cognition and language abilities. Technology did not develop in a vacuum, but was part of a complex interplay between human evolutionary development, cultural changes, and inventiveness. Therefore, our “natural state” is not as static as Kaczyinski had assumed.

What I find perhaps most striking in the former mathematician’s theory is his purported solution. Even if we were to believe that all technology somehow corrupts or degrades all human beings (which I certainly don’t) and it is for some reason impossible to reform the system, should we then just destroy it?

This is how I picture the scenario that would result from the execution, a large proportion of humanity would just perish. Modern society has largely become dependant on technology (not only digital and electronic), so removing it somehow would plunge it into chaos. Only those close to natural resources who possess survival skills could outlast the catastrophe, though they would constantly need to fend off others vying for precious resources.

When the dust has settled and there are a couple of thousand hunter-gatherer societies left throughout the world, it is almost as if history would be set back 100,000 years or so, when modern humans started spreading out of Africa. I believe these hunter-gatherers would not remain just that, though. History would repeat itself, albeit probably in a modified form. The broader developments would, however, still ensue. They would develop stone tools, agriculture, steam-powered machines, and, eventually, smartphones. Many humans are just too curious, and ingenious not to produce technologies.

A Word Of Warning

For all his intelligence, Kaczyinski’s reasoning and method seem to be rather crude. He wants to eliminate all technology for everyone, even though some technological devices have, in certain respects, vastly improved lives. We live longer than we used to by means of medical advances, and extreme poverty is a phenomenon that is rapidly being eliminated.

I think we need to carefully evaluate each piece of modern technology and how it affects different individuals in our society. This seems to be in accordance with the way most of the modern world operates. Governments and NGOs assess the (possible) negative effects a certain piece of technology has of might have, and policies are implemented in accordance with those assessments. A reformist approach seems to be the way to go in most cases.

There is only one major exception, and that is artificial intelligence. This part of technology has the potential to become self-aware and, furthermore, a major threat to humanity. Once created, we will have opened Pandora’s Box. It differs from, say, biological weapons – they have existed for a while, but are rarely used nowadays due to the self-imposed restrictions governments have set (due to a widespread taboo on this type of warfare).

With regards to AI, developments do seem to be unstoppable and Kaczyinski’s alarmism has a point. Despite warnings of numerous luminaries, including Elon Musk, we seem to be heading towards a world in which a robot with superhuman intelligence could be roaming the earth.

But how do we destroy a type of technology that isn’t there yet? This might be the biggest challenge mankind has yet to face. To do so, we must restrain the very ingenuity and curiosity of which we are so proud. It requires a level of maturity and insight that humanity perhaps has not obtained yet, but this option seems vastly more attractive than the technological wasteland Kaczyinski has in mind. Let’s prove him wrong and show that we can develop the technologies that actually aid our world, instead of destroying it.