The Editors / Paul Kingsnorth
From the Editors:
Paul Kingsnorth’s article Dark Ecology outlines an internal struggle that arises from his reading of Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. “The Unabomber.” A third of the way through Kaczynski’s book, Kingsnorth finds his arguments “worryingly convincing.” Kaczynski was a modern Luddite, seeking to destroy a system that he felt was destroying us. Although his actions were reprehensible, his thoughts on technology are worth considering. Dark Ecology does more than attempt to label certain technologies as good or evil— a conversation that stagnates quickly. Rather than dwell on an unstoppable force, Kingsnorth puts forth a more engaging, worthwhile discussion:
The coming decades are likely to challenge much of what we think we know about what progress is, and about who we are in relation to the rest of nature. Advanced technologies will challenge our sense of what it means to be human at the same time as the tide of extinction rolls on. The ongoing collapse of social and economic infrastructures, and of the web of life itself, will kill off much of what we value. In this context, ask yourself: what power do you have to preserve what is of value—creatures, skills, things, places? Can you work, with others or alone, to create places or networks that act as refuges from the unfolding storm? Can you think, or act, like the librarian of a monastery through the Dark Ages, guarding the old books as empires rise and fall outside?1
Technology is the mechanical extension of biological evolution. It appears that any power (tool) one might wield to preserve what is of value to counteract unintended social repercussions is created by the cascade of advancing technologies. The emergent system is complementary; each force balanced with the other, yin and yang, shadow and light. Yin-yang is harmony– an interdependent wholeness that cannot be destroyed. In the equation of advancement versus preservation there is no victory.
Photography is an increasingly sharp tool for preservation. In this context we ask, what will you preserve?