A thoughtful article from Stanford University News, regarding a translation of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski’s “Manifesto.”
Unabomber’s writings raise uneasy ethical questions for Stanford scholar
French Professor Jean-Marie Apostolidès finds link between blood and ink in Ted Kaczynski’s “Manifesto” – but should we listen to a killer?
BY CYNTHIA HAVEN
Stanford Report, February 1, 2010
‘Our words have no power’
“It’s the problem of scholars, even artists: Our words have no power. We think we are changing the world – particularly on the left,” he said, and paused. “You accept your symbolic castration – that your writing will take time to have a modest influence on your contemporaries.” In other words, he accepts the compromises necessary to live a normal life, with an income, collegial support, home and family.
Yet Kaczynski’s writings and life have intrigued Apostolidès by emphasizing “the relationship between writing and killing, ink and blood.”
“From a cynical perspective, I write books without killing anyone – my writing will have no impact. The only way I can be listened to is to associate my writing to something.” That is, “either your own blood or someone else’s.”
For instance, he cited Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, whose meticulously planned seppuku in 1970 triggered an avalanche of interest in his works.
Kaczynski is following in these footsteps, rejecting the petit bourgeois alternative that Apostolidès has knowingly embraced and instead “linking blood and ink.”