Machines of Loving Grace: Technology and the Unabomber

Episode 47 · May 22nd, 2019 · 1 hr 7 mins

About this Episode

Made in 2003, Lutz Dammbeck's documentary The Net: The Unabomber, LSD, and the Internet is a film about many things, but the gist of it is something like what William Burroughs called the doctrine of control. We live in a world governed by technologies designed with a particular idea of society in mind, one that has its roots in the trauma of global war and the utopian dreams of modern thinkers. The viability of this ideal is, of course, an important question, and it was made all the more urgent by recent developments at the intersection of technology and politics. In this episode, JF and Phil discuss the doctrine of control as imagined by one of its fiercest -- and most insane -- critics: Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber. Kaczynski's thoughts on technological society form the through-line of Dammbeck's film, which in turn serves as a through-line for this jam on everything from one-world government and cybernetics to the archetype of the magus and the Whole Earth Catalog.


Lutz Dammbeck (director), The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet (2003)
Chuck Klosterman, "FAIL" in Eating the Dinosaur
Jacques Ellul, French theorist
Suzanne Treister, HEXEN Tarot Deck
-- Seven of Swords
-- Justice
-- The Sun
Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine and The Human Use of Human Beings
Bertrand Russell, The Scientific Outlook
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants
Weird Studies Episode 2: Garmonbozia
Stewart Brand, writer and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog
Ursula Le Guin, Always Coming Home
Gary Snyder's idea that "we are primitives of an unknown culture" is explored in Phil Ford, Dig: Sound and Music in Hip Culture
Richard Brautigan, "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace" (poem)
San Francisco Oracle
Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology