Dying to communicate : the unabomber's determinism

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Modern communication technology is changing how humans relate in response time, tone, written language, and imagery with resulting life changing acts in individual and public life. Many modern people have been all too willing to accept that technological innovation is a good choice for the future. In this thesis, social and technological history of Medieval through post-Industrial Revolution communications are analyzed drawing in part on Theodore Kaczynski's theory on the effects of technology to our bodies, psyches, and the environment. Kaczynski's theoretical frame suggests that computing technology has changed how we write, what our response times and the tone of our writing is, and what words look like in the last quarter century. The spoken word promoted with the advent of moveable type helped promote literacy among the masses. Computer technology then again changed printing and expectations around writing. Humans have gone from verbal, to printed words, to using images to communicate. As the look of words migrated to the symbolic, the ease of message delivery and the introspection of composing thought is shortened, words are written that often would not be spoken to the reader, and people no matter their age are touched by this technology. This thesis uses Ted Kaczynski's, (also known as the Unabomber) ideas to challenge the core of our views of these modern devices and the choices we make to adopt or reject them. Whether the choices we make are an expression of freedom or of necessity we must become more aware of how technology changes the way we live, work, and respond to these instruments as models of choice. Historical perspective helps us to analyze whether we are chewing up time or getting beyond unabashed acceptance of technology in the twentieth century.




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