Friday, November 18, 2011


Here's a wacky fun fact for you: Ted "The Unabomber" Kaczynski, while enrolled in Harvard from 1958-62, was subject to several of Professor Henry Murray's early "personality tests" involving stress and LSD. That's right, one of the most infamous domestic terrorists in United States history was involved in a program with deep links to the CIA and MKULTRA. As documented in the book Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist, Kaczynski served as a subject in some Murray's highly controversial experiments involving acid, psilocybin, and Personology over there at the Harvard Psychological Clinic Annex back then, and concrete details about these practices went to the grave with Murray in 1988.
Hm. As this 1999 article in Counterpunch puts it, "What did Murray give Kaczynski? Did the experiment’s long-term effects help tilt him into the Unabomber’s homicidal rampages? The CIA’s mind experiment program was vast. How many other human time bombs were thus primed? How many of them have exploded?"

Interesting indeed, the possibility that early studies in mind-control-via-psychedelics could have unhinged Kaczynski in such a manner, leading him on his ultimate path to anti-technological mass murder--after all, isn't our old friend Lysergic acid diethylamide often credited with quite a bit of that late-60's/early 70's "mind expansion" that gave birth to the Computer Age?

But I digress. I'm getting ahead of myself once again, and there's probably a pretty fair chance that some of our readers have never even heard of the Unabomber. Wikipedia, do your thing:

"Theodore John "Ted" Kaczynski, born May 22, 1942, also known as the "Unabomber" (a portmanteau of university and airline bomber), is an American mathematician, social critic, anarcho-primitivist, and Neo-Luddite who engaged in a mail bombing campaign that spanned nearly 20 years, killing three people and injuring 23 others.

Kaczynski was born in Chicago, Illinois, where, as an intellectual child prodigy, he excelled academically from an early age. Kaczynski was accepted into Harvard University at the age of 16, where he earned an undergraduate degree, and later earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley at age 25, but resigned two years later.

In 1971, he moved to a remote cabin without electricity or running water, in Lincoln, Montana, where he lived as a recluse while learning survival skills in an attempt to become self-sufficient. He decided to start a bombing campaign after watching the wilderness around his home being destroyed by development. From 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs to targets including universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23. Kaczynski sent a letter to The New York Times on April 24, 1995 and promised "to desist from terrorism" if the Times or The Washington Post published his manifesto. In his Industrial Society and Its Future (also called the "Unabomber Manifesto"), he argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization.

You can also study up on ol' Ted's side of the story by reading the "Unabomber Manifesto" in its entirety.

This snippet of a German (with english subtitles) documentary on Murray, Kaczynski, LSD, and MKULTRA is pretty helpful, too:

Also: "Harvard and the Making of The Unabomber" by Alston Chase, Atlantic Monthly

Some sweet photos of The Unabomber's digs right after the FBI nabbed him:

Good evening, ladies.

Can I interest you in a light snack?

A cocktail, perhaps?

Whatever the involvement of the CIA/OSS (Henry Murray was a main innovator in the establishment of the Office of Strategic Services, the direct predecessor of the CIA, by the way), or acid, or psilocybin, or "stress tests", on Kaczynski, it's safe to say that he had a definite, deep-seated hatred for industrialism and technology--and every coin has a flip side.

The "flip side" to the Unabomber's particular coin can be found in futurist, tranhumanist, author, inventor, trancendentalist, and synthesizer enthusiast Ray Kurzweil (above right).
Kurzweil is probably best known for his deep explorations of "The Singularity": the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than-human intelligence through technological means. According to most educated guesses, The Singularity will occur at some point in the 21st century, when computing power finally matches the abilities of the human brain, and we are all fused into massive, biomechanical, exoskeletal war machines, armed with surface-to-air missiles, lazer guns, and an unquenchable bloodlust knowing no bounds.

Consider this graph:

Click HERE for full size--trippy shit.

It won't be long, friends. Kurzweil's vector implies some pretty crazy, spooky things--things that Kaczynski sent 16 letter bombs to destroy. Although Mr. Kurzweil has nothing but optimism for the approaching Singularity and the fusion of human and AI, there are many who have their doubts--after all, what are the Robot Overlords' motivations to keep us around after they gain the ability to govern themselves? I don't know, man... I'm a big fan of Kurzweil's prescient 1990 book The Age of Spiritual Machines and all, but we all know what happens when the robots get too smart for their own good...

Don't we?

It's all just a matter of extremes, I guess.
Kaczynski acted out of fear for the loss of our humanity at the hands of technology, while "futurists" like Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge believe it will be our salvation. The concept of artificial intelligence and technology evolving beyond our ability to control it can indeed be a terrifying one, but the cold, hard fact is that eventually it will, and, barring some sort of massive, Kaczynskian "pre-emptive" strike against technology itself anytime in the near future, most of us will live to see it. And we will live beyond it as well... Toiling as slaves in the vast, cavernous Energy Mines under the watchful eye of the ruthless Cyborg Kings.

So what's my point here? I'm not sure, really. I actually just meant to write a post about Ted Kaczynski's tenuous ties to the MKULTRA program and got sidetracked. I fell down this whole "Kurzweil vs. Kaczynski rabbit hole" and blew my own mind.
I dunno... We live in a world of nanotechnology and evangelical Christians, of remote nuerosurgery and Holocaust deniers. The possibilities are endless, exciting, and frightening. The extremes are ugly and freaky.

Whatever, man. If you need me, I'll be in my shack.


Anonymous said...


Aegipan said...

Isn't that the shack on the corner of W. Del Norte in Eureka? Or maybe, I'm getting my shacks mixed up?

Anonymous said...

Okay, you know what, this guy's life, alone, is blowing my mind right now:

'Had NO IDEA he was the same dude as the synths!!!!!

The TK+MKUltra connection makes me feel a bit ill. After reading so much Hoffman, it kinda makes me wonder "How Many Unabombers Were There?" Did "Wicked King Wicker" set THEM off, too? (Zodiac Killer, Son of Sam, etc., ad nauseum, et al.)

Shelby Cobras said...

Aegipan: I know the exact shack you speak of. The craziest looking dude used to live there in the late 90's--he always wore sunglasses and a beanie, and had SO much facial hair that you couldn't even see a square inch of skin on his face... Sooo creepy.

Anonymous said...

You mean the shack at DN and the 101?
Someone LIVED THERE?!? Wow.

Isn't it interesting how "everbody hates Nazis" and yet most of the America we now deal with is simply the continuation of their horrifying experiments?

bloodler said...

once skynet gets rolling were all fucked.
dont wait till its too late. plan ahead.
theres some lovely sheds here...

Shelby Cobras said...

I was thinking of that weird little shack on Del Norte and 14th(?) I think....

these a beast said...