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What do you think about utilizing people's weaknesses?

+2 votes
"Since this is the most critical juncture in the history of the human
race, all other issues must be subordinated to the problem of stopping
the technological juggernaut before it is too late. If advocate a break
with conventional morality, I do so not because I disapprove of the
herd mentality, but because conventional morality acts as a brake on the
development of an effective revolutionary movement. Furthermore, any
effective revolutionary movement probably has to make use of the herd
mentality. Imitativeness is part of human nature, and one has to work with
it rather than preach against it."

"It's possible however that faith in Marxism as dogma may have played
an essential role in the success of the Russian Revolutionary movement. I
read somewhere years ago that Lenin himself did not believe dogmatically
in Marxist doctrine, but considered it inexpedient to challenge the faith of
the true believers, and I suspect that the same must have been true of
others among the more rational and intelligent Marxists of Lenin's time. It
may be that a movement should not try to impose too rigid a rationality on
its adherents, but should leave room for faith. If the movement's ideology
has an underlying rational basis, I would guess that it should be able to
attract rational and intelligent people notwithstanding a certain amount
of nonrational or irrational ideological superstructure. This is a delicate
question, and the answer to it can be worked out only through trial and error. But I still maintain that a largely rational basis for its position should give a revolutionary movement a powerful advantage vis-a.-vis the system."

Ted Kaczynski, Letters to David Skrbina, Technological Slavery

What do you think about quotes i put? Would you try to destroy herd mentality, or utilize it for your own goals? Or is it ok for you to act together with true believers if they believe something useful to you?
asked May 9, 2015 by Metalist (780 points)

1 Answer

+4 votes

I think that these quotes are the logical conclusion of prioritizing a rational organization of rebellion into a revolutionary force over other approaches to the anarchy...

ra·tion·al·ize: make (a company, process, or industry) more efficient by reorganizing it in such a way as to dispense with unnecessary personnel or equipment.

Kaczynski expresses this urge quite well with the following statement:

"all other issues must be subordinated to the problem of stopping the technological juggernaut before it is too late"

If you can accept the premise that all other issues must be subordinated to X,Y, or Z, then you have allowed for yourself a well-defined goal and a value that transcends among other things, individual people. I reject that premise because it demands a degree of objectivity which does not exist. All values are ultimately bound by the limits of subjective concerns; evaluation itself is a fundamentally subjective activity. The project of presenting evaluations as conclusions supported by objective facts is an ideological project, perhaps the ideological project.

There is nothing objective about "stopping the technological juggernaut before it is too late." Too late for what? For who? There is no strictly objective path from the conclusion that "the technological juggernaut" is harmful to living systems to the conclusion that "living systems are important". Moreso, there is no objective path to the conclusion that my individual desires, well-being, projects, and interests are less important than "stopping the technological juggernaut". So why would I ever accept that my individual desires, well-being, projects, and interests ought to be subordinated to that project? And from that conclusion, to the conclusion that it is also more important than others' individual desires, well-being, projects, and interests (the question you are asking)?

However, this all says nothing about following from a subjective premise to a conclusion that "utilizing people's weaknesses" is something that should or shouldn't be done. Good luck with that approach to propaganda though! Without all of the ideological bullshit, it becomes much more difficult to convince people that they ought to subordinate themselves and their project to your own.

answered May 11, 2015 by Squee (2,430 points)

Elaboration to touch on some of the other aspects of your question:

Herd mentality. This is an interesting weakness to focus on, specifically considered as a weakness. I'd begin my personal evaluation of whether or not to wield the strengths of the herd by first trying to figure out what those strengths are: how herds are constructed (especially those I'm considering), what their potential activities include, and what skills on my behalf would be required for manipulating them. The sort of herd mentality that I believe you're referring to is constructed by powers competing with each other that have more-or-less sorted out the underlying mechanics of human motivation and applied what they've discovered to very large samples of the global population using advanced communications technologies, organized bureaucratic violence, etc. etc.

The social-psychological weaknesses that are amalgamated to construct mass societies (these herds) otherwise tend towards much smaller groups of social cohesion. The immediate problems we'd face while attempting to use the weapon of herds would be tied up with subverting the already existing mass societies that exist and aiming the capacities we want to pull out of them at our chosen targets. The difficulties we'd face are enormous, not only because it requires immense capacities for communication and conditioning, but also because the technological juggernaut consistently reinforces its own conditioning.

This sort of assessment has brought me to the conclusion that it makes a lot more sense to focus on the destruction of herd mentality and what you may be calling "act together with true believers" towards any positive projects. This ties into my anti-ideological perspective described above, but it's also a practical conclusion. I have serious doubts about the capacity for anything like anarchism to have a mass or herd appeal within the brackets of ...basically marketing skills. And I don't see anarchists rushing off to study interrogation techniques or racketeering strategies, or effectively applying them to increase numbers by way of threats.