Resistance Protocols

On preserving cultural achievements

This article is written in response to the claim “Arts are considered by most people to be true and important achievements of humanity.” I doubt that many people would publicly disagree that arts are important. But how often do most people visit an art museum, listen to classical music, or read serious literature? Very seldom, I think. Furthermore, even if we include commercial graphic art, television, light novels, and the like among the arts, only a small minority of people today participate actively in the arts, whether as professionals or as amateurs. In Techno-Industrial society, most people participate only as spectators or consumers of art. Primitives too may have specialists in certain arts, but active participation tends to be much more widespread among them than it is in the modern world. For instance, among the African pygmies, everyone participated in song and dance. After describing the dances of the Mbuti pygmies, their “angeborene Schauspielkunst” (inborn dramatic art), and their music, Schebesta writes: “Here I will go into no further detail about Mbuti art, of whatever kind, for I only wanted to show what significance all of this has for their daily life. Here opens a source that feeds the life-energies of the primitives, that brightens and pleasantly adorns their forest life, which is otherwise so hard. That is probably why the Mbuti are so devoted to these pleasures.”[155] Compare Techno-Industrial society, in which most people participate in the arts only to the extent of watching Hollywood movies, reading popular magazines or light novels, and having a radio blaring in their ears without actually listening to it. Admittedly, much primitive art is crude, but this is by no means true of all of it. You must have seen reproductions of the magnificent paintings found on the walls of caves in Western Europe, and the polyphony of the African pygmies is much admired by serious students of music.[156] Of course, no premodern society had a body of art that matched in range and elaborate development the arts of present-day industrial society, and much of the latter would undoubtedly be lost with the collapse of the system. But if we continue on our present course, we humans will probably be fully erased by the TIS within the next 300 years. What use do you think the machines will have for art, literature, and music? If we aren’t fully erased, we’ll certainly be changed profoundly. If the TIS retains ‘networks of DNA-based brains’ or ‘dumb, super-obedient humanoid part-transporters’, what reason do you have to believe that human remnants within the TIS will still be responsive to the art, music, and literature of the past? Already the arts of the past have been largely superseded by the popular entertainment media, which offer intense kicks that make the old-time stuff seem boring. Shakespeare and Cervantes wrote, Vermeer and Frans Hals painted [157] for ordinary people, not for an elite minority of intellectuals. But how many people still read Shakespeare and Cervantes when they’re not required to do so as part of a college course? How many hang reproductions of the Old Masters’ paintings on their walls? Even in the super-unlikely scenario that the TIS doesn’t get destroyed and human race still exists 300 years from now, will anyone still appreciate the classics of art, music, and literature? I seriously doubt it. So if we continue on our present course we’ll probably lose the Western artistic tradition anyway, and we’ll certainly lose a great deal more besides. When I was a little kid, my father told me of a trick for catching monkeys that he had read about somewhere. You take a glass bottle the neck of which is narrow enough so that a monkey’s clenched fist will not pass through it, but wide enough so that a monkey can squeeze his open hand into the bottle. You put a piece of bait—say, a peanut—into the bottle. A monkey reaches into the bottle, clutches the peanut in his little fist, and then finds that he can’t pull his hand out of the bottle. He’s too greedy to let go of the peanut, so you can just walk over and pick him up. Thus, because the monkey refuses to accept the loss of the peanut, he loses everything. So maybe it’s better to let go of the peanut than to lose everything by trying to hang onto it. Especially since we don’t have to give up the whole peanut. If the system collapses before it’s too late, we’ll retain our humanity and our capacity to appreciate art, literature and music. It’s safe to assume then that people will continue to create art, literature, and music as they always have in the past, and that works of high quality will occasionally appear. If one takes the position that certain cultural achievements must be saved, then one will be tempted to make compromises when it comes to destroying the TIS, with the possible or probable result that one will not succeed in destroying the TIS at all. If the system breaks down, what will happen to the art museums with their priceless paintings and statues? Or to the great libraries with their vast stores of books? Who will take care of the artworks and books when there are no organizations large enough and rich enough to hire curators and librarians, as well as policemen to prevent looting and vandalism? And what about the educational system? Without an organized system of education, children will grow up uncultured and perhaps illiterate. Clearly, anyone who feels it is important to preserve some cultural achievements will be very reluctant to see a complete breakdown of the system, hence will look for a compromise solution and will not take the frankly reckless measures that are necessary to knock our society off its present technological-determined course of development. Hence, for ATRs to be effective, they must be prepared to dispense with the cultural achievements of civilization. 155. Paul Schebesta, Die Bambuti-Pygmäen vom Ituri, Institut Royal Colonial Belge, Brussels, II. Band, I. Teil, 1941, p. 261. 156. See Louis Sarno, The Song from the Forest. 157. Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. 24, article “The Netherlands,” p. 891. *Most of this article’s content is salvaged from Ted Kaczynski’s “Letters to David Skrbina”