Homeless after high school, I set off to “find the anarchists,” got involved with ecological and antimodern factions of anarchism, and right before enrolling in university came across Kaczynski’s infamous manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future. While at first troubled by the authorship, I later found many respected and well-known members of society admitting that the manifesto’s arguments had real merit, and I wrote an article defending the ideas for the environmentalist publication Dark Mountain: “Ted Kaczynski and Why He Matters.”
Eventually I wrote the man and became involved in an effort to outline a scientifically and philosophically informed critique of civilization, which all involved parties hoped would provide a basis for a radical anti-industrial politic for the 21st century. Nearly all of my freetime during my university career was dedicated to research and writing for this project. The products of the work were two student magazines, The Wildernist and Hunter/Gatherer, which featured original works from several well-known environmentalists and my own investigations into human and cultural ecology, conservation, and technological development.
In my junior year I felt the research had reached a point sufficient enough to warrant a book, so I synthesized my work for the magazines over a period of a few weeks, typeset it and distributed it online, put out a publicity article for it, and dropped out of university to join a primitivist commune in Western North Carolina, hoping to explore the possibility of living a primitive life in the modern age as an alternative to revolution. The project predictably failed, but confirmed the central contention motivating my work: there is no escape from industrial society and its consequences; the only way out is a miracle or collapse.