Submitted by Ishkah in Writing

Hey all,

I've written some short travel stories and philosophical essays before, but I'm more of a researcher and librarian who enjoys creating whole archives of files with indexes related to a person’s life. Then what I do is extract quotes from those documents and organize them into the timeline of the person’s life which gives you a detailed view of the time they lived through.

The first biography I edited together was done like this also, it was all the persons own writing through her letters to her childhood friend, with a short introduction, and I simply called it 'The Unfinished Autobiography of Aileen Wuornos'. And obviously I made sure to get the letter owner’s permission.

Then the next project for me has been cataloguing documents on Ted Kaczynski, with the aim of simply getting a clear timeline in my head of all the key moments that lead up to him going off the rails and committing violence.

I've created two timelines, in the way that I described above, of both Ted and his brother David Kaczynskis' lives, but I'm less optimistic about getting their or their copyright heirs permission to publish. So, I'm contemplating how to write a book that is partly a biography and partly how this person’s life relates to my own philosophy and experiences. As there have been lots of biographies sticking closely to his life, I think I'm less interested in trying to give a detailed explanation of the timeline of their lives.

One subject I'd like to touch on in my book is that sadly I met a primitivist who had bought into the same violent ideology as Kaczynski, who after many years of feeling lost and hopeless died of a drug overdose.

I grew up in a hippie corner of North Wales and took myself off on my own to an Earth First Gathering when I was 17, then went on to joining activists who were trying to block open cast coal mine planning applications. It was here that I met the primitivist friend who would go on to overdose. I have also helped open squatted social centers, and volunteered in kitchens to feed the 5000 in Calais. I've been fairly reclusive the last few years, just living very rurally and devoting lots of time to learning website building and going from one online hobby project to another.

But yeah, knowing that I had been friendly with someone who went from open cast coal protest sites to being an eco-extremist in ideas at least, and then basically committed suicide through a life of drugs is a disturbing reality. Obviously I wish I could have saved him.

So, I like to try and study all the rabbit holes that lead people down paths like this and therefore the best arguments for pulling them out. I’ve had a good podcast with one of the most renowned anti-tech philosophers on the subject of violence, and I've written an article on the journey some people take to anti-tech philosophy.

I'll stop here, as I'm sure I've gone on long enough, but my main problem at the moment is what subjects in the Kaczynski book to focus on, so how to lay out a clear structure to the book.

These are the main subject headings that are motivating my writing at the moment, but I'm aware they're not all going to have mainstream interest, so would need reframing to appeal to a larger readership:

  • The weakness of religious arguments
  • The burden on the family and friends of both good and evil revolutionaries
  • The call to revolution – Healthy vs. unhealthy outlets
    • Unhealthy outlets
    • Ted Kaczynski’s Unhealthy Outlet
    • Healthy Outlets
      • Everyone has to deal with the absurd
      • How getting hurt as a child lead me to have a strong skepticism of unjustified authority
      • Activism
  • Pragmatist vs. Idealist Strategy
  • Calling for anarchists on the radical fringe to not abandon all left-wing mass movements
    • Introduction
    • The term anarchist often evokes ridicule today
    • Why can we not just only be friendly with vaguely anti-authoritarian people who are easier to win over to anarchism?
    • Wouldn’t that mean sometimes walking shoulder to shoulder with left-authoritarians?
    • The importance of voting
    • Having solely anarchist organizations that use solely anarchist tactics is important too

And if you'd like to read or skim read the full document of main concept ideas I've written about so far, you can click here.

All the best :)



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Ishkah OP wrote

The Truth versus Lies book that I would be quoting from extensively was copyrighted by Kaczynski, even though it was never printed on mass. I would have liked to put up a perfectly re-typed up version on the anarchist library for free, but Kaczynski never responded to my letter, and his publishers sent me a cease and desist email. The rights to use the Aileen Wuornos prison letters were also the property of the friend she gave them to, and copyrighted in a book that she signed a deal on.

And no, my interest in true crime simply has to do with my interest in psychology and political activism to try and bring about a better society where less unjustified violence occurs.

I’m fascinated by outcasts like Aileen Wuornos and Ted Kaczynski because of their desire to find healing in unorthodox lifestyles, before everything goes wrong for them and others.

The surface level fascination is I’m convinced that profound changes in lifestyle are needed, for instance I live a low-impact vegan lifestyle myself, so unpicking the knot of what went so wrong for them is important for me, in order to understand the way it may have negatively impacted their lives, so as to better advise people to avoid those pitfalls.

The deeper level of fascination is to understand what meaning they were deriving from their life and unpicking that knot of how can any person get so lost. Finally, we all walk around with naive assumptions that people we know well could never act in evil ways, if we're ever forced to come face to face with the fact that they are, we have this realization of the ways we were blind to being able to help those people.

For Ted he romanticized nature as a boy in the library, reading books about neanderthals, and wishing he could escape into that life.

For Aileen she had set off hitchhiking and began living on communes from the age of 15 with the hope of doing some psychological healing away from the circle she was stuck in in Troy, Michigan, where she grew up.

This was also a very romanticized road to take at the time, although I don’t think Aileen bought into all of that, as she was simply homeless from the age of 13, and traveling further afield was a nice break from relying on friends in Troy. But, she loved the hippie music of the era and cherished every commune she stayed at for the people who attempted a new more compassionate way of relating to one another.

So for me, that was activist circles, the way people romanized the activist life on the road, and my participation in it was partly to heal wounds from childhood. So, it left me with the understanding that you don't get a choice in the strange situational reasons that different people will be alienated from society enough to join this or that campaign, but you can make the best of the journey all the same.

The idea of people being commended for being part of nomadic culture today is; if you’re able to plug the gaps in various local campaigns, like helping out with cooking for activist soup kitchens and giving workshops, etc.

I set off at 16 for Malaysia on a month long outdoor expeditions trip and got to live with poor rice farmers, and at 17 for earth first gatherings and climate camps, and then was on the road from 19 for many years, going from protest camp to protest camp.

I was looking at environmental groups from tree sitters in California, to food not bombs groups in Indonesia. And seeing this movement learning from each other internationally, that had different social and moral norms, that I was really wanting to explore and see if I could make that my adoptive community.

The same way some people have the willpower to put up with horrible bosses in order to pursue a passion at work, I was OK with putting up with physical hardships in order to get to explore this more co-operative culture in its grassroots form, still developing, trying to become the mainstream culture and politics.


Ishkah OP wrote (edited )

I wrote cease and desist email, first you give me unasked for BS advice, and then you call me a liar, another amazing convo on If I tried to publish someone else's book with just paragraphs moves around, and adding my own commentary, without permission, I wouldn't be surprised if I got fined in court for it not being deemed fair use, I just don't much like risking that possibility is all.


Ishkah OP wrote (edited )

Alright fuck it, I'm editing it now to include a bijillion references which will likely take a month to finish working on part-time. If I get fined you have to tell me a place where we can meet so that I can travel to meet you and slap you with a dead fish that I'll find in a dumpster.


Ishkah OP wrote (edited )

I'm not adding a tonne of commentary, that's the concern, that the copyright holder will say readers can pick up my book and have read their book without the content having been substantially transformed, so simply costing them the profit on their book.

I'm just presenting it in a slightly different way, with paragraphs moved around into the timeline of his life, with light commentary, some boring paragraphs missing and some other sources added.


pishandvinegar wrote

The weakness of religious arguments

The burden on the family and friends of both good and evil revolutionaries


Ishkah OP wrote (edited )

Obviously you can relate to someone as having character vices and virtues without it having any religious component. I'm an existential nihilist, but I wish I had the language of applied ethics to describe subjective ways people desire to act and relate to others earlier on in my life: My Virtue-Existentialist Ethics


Ishkah OP wrote (edited )

You people who caricature reasonable anarchist arguments against religion make me ashamed to call myself an anarchist.

Here is an actually coherent egoist anarchist acknowledging the usefulness of applied virtue ethics language:

However, if postanarchism questions this sort of moral foundationalism, can it still maintain a commitment to ethical action? Not according to Benjamin Franks, who argues that postanarchism leads to a radical subjectivism – a moral relativism where the individual, in a solipsistic fashion, determines his or her own moral coordinates – thus, making it unsuitable for developing ethical and political relations with others. This subjectivist position is attributed to Stirner, who, Franks argues, rejects the universal moral and rational discourses embodied in Enlightenment humanism and proposes in their place the supreme individualism and amoralism of the selfcreating egoist:

"However, the alternative [to consequentialist and deontological anarchisms] adopted by some egoist individualists and postanarchists, i.e. radical subjectivism, is inadequate on similar grounds. If subjectivism is right, then it restricts the possibility of meaningful ethical dialogue, recreates hierarchies between the liberated ego and the rest, and cannot adequately account for the creative ego, without recourse to the other social forms it rejects." ...

As an alternative to both Stirnerite ‘subjectivism’ and moral universalism, Franks proposes a situated ethics: an understanding of ethics as situated within, and contingent upon, specific social practices, communities and organisations. Different situations demand different ethical relations and rules, rules which can nevertheless change over time, and are open to dialogue and critical negotiation. I fully agree with this application of ethics, and I see it as a useful way of thinking about ethics in terms of autonomy and pluralism.

- The Politics of Post-Anarchism by Saul Newman


pishinginthewind wrote

That doesn't say what you said it says.

You people who caricature reasonable anarchist arguments against religion make me ashamed to call myself an anarchist.

You people who make anarchism into Christianity make me ashamed to call myself an anarchist.