Empty Days

Monday, July 12, 2004



Unabomber as a time-machine.

Towards the end of his manifesto (paragraph 222), Ted mentions Eric Hoffer - a self-thinking individual from the 1950's. Some people have rightly remarked that Unabomber has remained in a sort of a time-wrap through effective withdrawal from society for so long - his strongest influences come from his school and university years in the mid-50's to mid-60's.

This is likely true. He might have kept up with some of the later developments, but once you retire to a mountain cabin your period of active learning and absorbing ideas from an intellectual environment are over. On the other hand, this retirement from the world affords the kind of distance one may need to start evolving one's own thinking. This is what Kaczynsky's been doing, all the while sending out bombs (which he describes in his diaries as "experiments"). I haven't heard of Hoffer before (because I am not american, let's say) but a cursory look at what Hoffer is about does ring quite a few bells regarding Unabomber. This here is probably not wrong:
Hoffer, a San Francisco longshoreman-turned-philosopher and essayist who died in 1983, was a cultural icon of Bay Area intellectuals when Kaczynski was teaching at Berkeley in the late 1960s. Like the Unabomber, Hoffer consecutively numbered paragraph groupings in "The True Believer," published in 1951.

Hoffer's book and the Unabomber's manifesto parallel each other in subject and phrasing. Both wrote about hatred, fanaticism, "true believers," the power of "mass movements," the French and Russian revolutions and the development of modern Asia.

Hoffer sometimes led an itinerant life working as a migrant worker in California, and he held library cards in many towns. Kaczynski also appears to have been an itinerant at times, and FBI agents have been checking libraries where he may have visited, including at UC Berkeley.

The marked copy of Hoffer's book was turned over to the FBI by UC Davis. Investigators have previously said that Hoffer's book was one of those they have been studying for Unabomber clues. Federal sources have said they are amassing evidence that Kaczynski, who lived like a hermit in Montana, traveled to Northern California and stayed for weeks or months at time.
I am not entirely privy to the history of intellectual currents in the USA through the past century. There seems to exist some connection between Hoffer and Ann Ryand - probably something along libertarian individualism line. What I know of Ryand doesn't sound very interesting, but Hoffer might be worth a look. Curiously, there doesn't seem to be any e-texts online - but I will have to look better, I guess.





/ 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 / / 11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003 / / 11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003 / / 11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003 / / 12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003 / / 12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003 / / 12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003 / / 12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004 / / 01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004 / / 01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004 / / 01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004 / / 01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004 / / 02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004 / / 02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004 / / 02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004 / / 02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004 / / 02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004 / / 03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004 / / 03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004 / / 03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004 / / 03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004 / / 04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004 / / 04/11/2004 - 04/18/2004 / / 04/18/2004 - 04/25/2004 / / 04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004 / / 05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004 / / 05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004 / / 05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004 / / 05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004 / / 05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004 / / 06/06/2004 - 06/13/2004 / / 06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004 / / 06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004 / / 06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004 / / 07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004 / / 07/11/2004 - 07/18/2004 / / 07/18/2004 - 07/25/2004 / / 07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004 / / 08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004 / / 08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004 / / 08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004 / / 08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004 / / 08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004 / / 09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004 / / 09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004 / / 09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004 / / 09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004 / / 10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004 / / 10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004 / / 10/17/2004 - 10/24/2004 / / 10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004 / / 10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004 / / 02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005 / / 02/27/2005 - 03/06/2005 / / 03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005 / / 03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005 / / 03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005 / / 04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005 / / 04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005 / / 04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005 / / 04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005 / / 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005 / / 05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005 / / 05/15/2005 - 05/22/2005 / / 05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005 / / 05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005 / / 06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005 / / 06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005 / / 07/03/2005 - 07/10/2005 / / 09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005 / / 09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005 / / 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005 / / 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005 / / 10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005 / / 10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005 / / 11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005 / / 11/27/2005 - 12/04/2005 /