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Anti-Tech Library & Resources

The ATC Library is a collection of resources (mostly non-fictional writings) recommended by the community for their contribution to technological criticism.

 

If you are entirely unfamiliar with anti-tech ideas, this is a wonderful place to begin. We have attempted to curate the Library with self-learners in mind. This means that we have begun attempting to group and rank works according to our assessment of their ease of access, contribution to and influence on the overall discussion, their overall revolutionary value, and so on: in a word, their estimated essentiality for understanding the Technological Question and proposed solutions. To say that some works are less essential than others does not mean that nothing is gained in reading the 'less essential' works. We are viewing the most essential works as 'fire starters' and the less essential ones as progressively 'adding fuel to the fire'... in our opinion, of course.

Most of the items include notes or summaries written by current or past internal ATC members or the authors themselves to pique your interest and aid in your learning journey.

 

If you already have some familiarity with anti-tech thought, this library is still a wonderful resource for further developing and bolstering your understanding of the Technological Crisis. Other articles and essays, including mostly recent ones, not amounting to entire books are included in the "Further Readings" section under the main Library for those already familiar with basic AT theory. Links to active groups and websites beyond ATC but which are either anti-tech themselves or are amicable to anti-tech are found in the "External Resources" section.

If you, as a member of the community, have suggestions for inclusions to the library or if you have criticisms of the works already included, please share them with us by contacting ATC through antitechcollective@protonmail.com.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Not all works listed here advocate for revolution against the technological system a la Kaczynski. In fact, the majority do not. However, all take the issue of Technology seriously, promote a tech-critical worldview, or otherwise can contribute to one's understanding of the Technological Crisis. Not all internal ATC members have read everything listed or endorse the inclusion of each piece. However, on the group level, we have decided that each piece can contribute something to your understanding, even if only through presenting a different perspective on, approach to, or opinion about the Technological System. It never hurts to understand your opponent's arguments and it certainly never hurts to bolster your own.

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The Anti-Tech Collective does not claim ownership of any of the works listed unless specified. All credit and ownership belongs to the original authors and works are cited purely for educational purposes.

Industrial Society and its Future

In 1971 Dr. Theodore Kaczynski rejected modern society and moved to a primitive cabin in the woods of Montana. There, he began building bombs, which he sent to professors and executives to express his disdain for modern society, and to work on his magnum opus, Industrial Society and Its Future, forever known to the world as the Unabomber Manifesto. Responsible for three deaths and more than twenty casualties over two decades, he was finally identifed and apprehended when his brother recognized his writing style while reading the 'Unabomber Manifesto.' The piece, written under the pseudonym FC (Freedom Club) was published in the New York Times after his promise to cease the bombing if a major publication printed it in its entirety.

Technological Slavery

Logical, lucid, and direct, Technological Slavery radically reinvigorates and reforms the intellectual foundations of an age-old and resurgent world-view: "Progress" is a myth. Wild nature and humanity are fundamentally incompatible with technological growth.

In Technological Slavery, Kaczynski argues that: (i) the unfolding human and environmental crises are the direct, inevitable result of technology itself; (ii) many of the stresses endured in contemporary life are not normal to the human condition, but unique to technological conditions; (iii) wilderness and human life close to nature are realistic and supreme ideals; and, (iv) a revolution to eliminate modern technology and attain these ideals is necessary and far more achievable than would first appear.

Drawing on a broad range of disciplines, Kaczynski weaves together a set of visionary social theories to form a revolutionary perspective on the dynamics of history and the evolution of societies. The result is a comprehensive challenge to the fundamental values and assumptions of the modern technology-driven world, pinning the cause of the rapidly unfolding catastrophe on technology itself, while offering a realistic hope for ultimate recovery.

Note: Theodore John Kaczynski does not receive any remuneration for this book.

Tier 1: A-T 101

101

Tier 2: Metaphysical A-T

The Technological Society

As insightful and wise today as it was when originally published in 1954, Jacques Ellul's The Technological Society has become a classic in its field, laying the groundwork for all other studies of technology and society that have followed.
 
Ellul offers a penetrating analysis of our technological civilization, showing how technology—which began innocuously enough as a servant of humankind—threatens to overthrow humanity itself in its ongoing creation of an environment that meets its own ends. No conversation about the dangers of technology and its unavoidable effects on society can begin without a careful reading of this book.

The Technological System

Some 20 years after writing The Technological Society, Jacques Ellul realized how the totalistic dimensions of our modern technological milieu required an additional treatment of the topic. Writing amidst the rise of books in the 1970s on pollution, over-population, and environmental degradation, Ellul found it necessary, once again, to write about the global presence of technology and its far-reaching effects. The Technological System represents a new stage in Ellul's research. Previously he studied technological society as such; in this book he approaches the topic from a systems perspective wherein he identifies the characteristics of technological phenomena and technological progress in light of system theory. This leads to an entirely new approach to what constitutes the most important event of our society which has decisive bearing on the future of our world. Ellul's analysis touches on all aspects of modern life, not just those of a scientific or technological order. In the end, readers are compelled to formulate their own opinions and make their own decisions regarding the way a technique-based value system affects every level of human life.

Presence in the Modern World

Presence in the Modern World is Jacques Ellul's most foundational book, combining his social analysis with his theological orientation. Appearing first in French in 1948, it has reached the status of a classic that retains all of its relevance today in the face of the challenges that beset us. How should we respond toward such complex forces as technology or the state? How can we communicate with one another, despite the problems inherent in modern forms of media? Do we have hope for the future of our civilization? Ellul responds by describing how a Christian's unique presence in the world can make a difference. Instead of acting ""as sociological beings,"" we must commit ourselves to the kind of revolution that will occur only when we become radically aware of our present situation and undertake ""a ferocious and passionate destruction of myths, intellectual idols, unconscious rejections of reality, and outmoded and empty doctrines."" In this way, says Ellul, we become the medium for God's action in the modern world.

The Technological Bluff

The last book on technology written by Ellul. The author argues that "an easily distracted consumer society is caught up in a rapidly developing, uncontrollable technological system . . . . Every problem generates a technological solution; computers breed ever larger, more fragile, and vulnerable systems. But the solutions raise more and greater problems than they solve . . . . Responsibility, contemplation, civility, and spirituality suffer."

Metaphysics

Tier 3: Revolutionary A-T

Autopsy of Revolution

In this significant and very timely book, the author of The Technological Society, The Political Illusion, and Propaganda asks a tremendous question and shows that the answer we give it is decisive for the future of our society: Can we learn from history what revolution really is necessary for our survival? That is, can we distinguish between senseless, ineffectual revolt or rebellion and a genuine revolution that can alter fundamentals? In his basic, closely reasoned way, Jacques Ellul examines past and recent history in light of the current overwhelming preoccupation with revolution, which seems to have become the daily bread of Western man's thoughts and actions, the immediate explanation for every historical movement. Ellul insists on examining the possibility that today we are projecting onto past events a fairly recent and distorted image of revolution. The new image was created by Marx in the nineteenth century, and Ellul questions how long we can continue to live on his legacy. More important, he suggests that Marx may have brought about an abrupt deviation of the necessary revolutionary current and given a false meaning to the word revolution. Is all our talk about Marxian revolution talk about reality, or a way of filling a void with words? Finally, among so many social eddies and agitations, are we today caught up in a really revolutionary movement-or are we being led into blind combat by false lights that in reality are reflections in distorting mirrors? Are we capable of discerning the real Revolution, the needed Revolution? Ellul does not map out a route in detail: he clears paths into the future, making it possible for a route to be found. His masterly book should help to change our thinking, and therefore our future.

Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes

This seminal study and critique of propaganda from one of the greatest French philosophers of the 20th century is as relevant today as when it was first published in 1962. Taking not only a psychological approach, but a sociological approach as well, Ellul’s book outlines the taxonomy for propaganda, and ultimately, it’s destructive nature towards democracy. Drawing from his own experiences fighting for the French resistance against the Vichy regime, Ellul offers a unique insight into the propaganda machine.

Revolutinary

Tier 4: Environmentalism & Deep Ecology

Silent Spring

First published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. This fortieth anniversary edition celebrates Rachel Carson's watershed book with a new introduction by the author and activist Terry Tempest Williams and a new afterword by the acclaimed Rachel Carson biographer Linda Lear, who tells the story of Carson's courageous defense of her truths in the face of ruthless assault from the chemical industry in the year following the publication of Silent Spring and before her untimely death in 1964.

Deep Eco

Tier 5: Primitivism &  Anarcho-Primitivism

The Retro Future

To most people paying attention to the collision between industrial society and the hard limits of a finite planet, it's clear that things are going very, very wrong. We no longer have unlimited time and resources to deal with the crises that define our future, and the options are limited to the tools we have on hand right now.

This book is about one very powerful option: deliberate technological regression.

Technological regression isn't about 'going back,' it's about using the past as a resource to meet the needs of the present. It starts from the recognition that older technologies generally use fewer resources and cost less than modern equivalents, and it embraces the heresy of technological choice, our ability to choose or refuse the technologies pushed by corporate interests. People are already ditching smartphones in favor of 'dumb phones' and land lines and eBook sales are declining, while printed books rebound. Clear signs among many that blind faith in progress is faltering and opening up the possibility that the best way forward may well involve going back.

A must-read for anyone willing to think the unthinkable and embrace the possibilities of a retro future.

Primitivism

Tier 6: Spiritual & Esoteric

Revolt Against the Modern World

With unflinching gaze and uncompromising intensity Julius Evola analyzes the spiritual and cultural malaise at the heart of Western civilization and all that passes for progress in the modern world. As a gadfly, Evola spares no one and nothing in his survey of what we have lost and where we are headed. At turns prophetic and provocative, Revolt against the Modern World outlines a profound metaphysics of history and demonstrates how and why we have lost contact with the transcendent dimension of being.

The revolt advocated by Evola does not resemble the familiar protests of either liberals or conservatives. His criticisms are not limited to exposing the mindless nature of consumerism, the march of progress, the rise of technocracy, or the dominance of unalloyed individualism, although these and other subjects come under his scrutiny. Rather, he attempts to trace in space and time the remote causes and processes that have exercised corrosive influence on what he considers to be the higher values, ideals, beliefs, and codes of conduct--the world of Tradition--that are at the foundation of Western civilization and described in the myths and sacred literature of the Indo‑Europeans. Agreeing with the Hindu philosophers that history is the movement of huge cycles and that we are now in the Kali Yuga, the age of dissolution and decadence, Evola finds revolt to be the only logical response for those who oppose the materialism and ritualized meaninglessness of life in the twentieth century.

Through a sweeping study of the structures, myths, beliefs, and spiritual traditions of the major Western civilizations, the author compares the characteristics of the modern world with those of traditional societies. The domains explored include politics, law, the rise and fall of empires, the history of the Church, the doctrine of the two natures, life and death, social institutions and the caste system, the limits of racial theories, capitalism and communism, relations between the sexes, and the meaning of warriorhood. At every turn Evola challenges the reader’s most cherished assumptions about fundamental aspects of modern life.

Spiritual

Tier 7: Modern & Misc.

Re-Engineering Humanity

Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger

Every day, new warnings emerge about artificial intelligence rebelling against us. All the while, a more immediate dilemma flies under the radar. Have forces been unleashed that are thrusting humanity down an ill-advised path, one that's increasingly making us behave like simple machines? In this wide-reaching, interdisciplinary book, Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger examine what's happening to our lives as society embraces big data, predictive analytics, and smart environments. They explain how the goal of designing programmable worlds goes hand in hand with engineering predictable and programmable people. Detailing new frameworks, provocative case studies, and mind-blowing thought experiments, Frischmann and Selinger reveal hidden connections between fitness trackers, electronic contracts, social media platforms, robotic companions, fake news, autonomous cars, and more. This powerful analysis should be read by anyone interested in understanding exactly how technology threatens the future of our society, and what we can do now to build something better. 

Misc.

Tier 8: Fiction

Darwin Among the Machines

An article published in The Press newspaper on 13 June 1863 in Christchurch, New Zealand, which references the work of Charles Darwin in the title. Written by Samuel Butler but signed Cellarius (q.v.), the article raised the possibility that machines were a kind of "mechanical life" undergoing constant evolution, and that eventually machines might supplant humans as the dominant species.

The article ends by urging that, "War to the death should be instantly proclaimed against them. Every machine of every sort should be destroyed by the well-wisher of his species. Let there be no exceptions made, no quarter shown; let us at once go back to the primeval condition of the race."

Erewhon

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Fiction

Further readings

A piece critical of Kaczynski. We've included it because it provides a common argument in defense of the technological system which everyone should know well in order to counter.

Johnatan B. Gymwell

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The Unabomber and the Origins of Anti-Tech Radicalism

Sean Fleming

Further Readings

External Resources

External Resouces
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