The Unabomber Manifesto has fueled alot of discussion between myself, Ardua Ad Astra, and Deus ex Vita in recent months. A blistering critique of modern civilization that really leaves no room for rebuttal. I’ve been forced to revisit the system of value judgements that have guided my opinions for so long, pushing me towards a more religious worldview simply as respite from the confusion.
But what if it’s not just a critique of modern civilization, but civilization as an ideal? When evaluating human wellbeing from the perspective of minimizing evolutionary mismatch, what does civilization do but maximize it? One might rebut but noting that previous civilizations were able to stabilize for long enough for the human condition to adapt, but in the long term, it seems that civilization might be progressive by definition (civilization is a yoke on mankind, only alleviated when the pie is growing).
Politically, I’ve always anchored my values in civilization. I support anything that advances high civilization: culture, technology, complexity in general. A recent twitter thread reminded me of my growing misgivings about this anchor. In some ways, civilization is like a yeast culture, or a self-terminating free radical reaction. Like Ardua Ad Astra recently wrote about, civilization paradoxically sows the seeds of its own debasement. Put simply, civilized men are not robust enough to do the hard work of maintaining a complex society. This is evident in the natural life cycle of civilizations throughout history. The energy and vigor that fuel civilization is borne in the barbaric wilderness, and eventually runs out.
Solution to this predicament? Transcendent value system, perhaps. Kingdoms on earth are superfluous and doomed to failure; only the Kingdom in Heaven is permanent.
Consider this a rough, rough draft.