Theodore from the media and the FBI. After having

Theodore John Kaczynski, born May 22, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, is an acclaimed mathematician, author, scholar, and domestic terrorist more commonly known as the Unabomber. Kaczinski, a child prodigy, attended Harvard University at the age of 16, where he would become part of a highly controversial experiment in which he was mentally tormented for three years. After earning his PhD in mathematics at the University of Michigan in 1967, he acquired a position as an assistant mathematics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, which he abruptly quit after a mere two years to move into a remote cabin in Montana where he had no electricity or running water. He later decided that due to technology, it was impossible to live peacefully within nature and the only solution was to get rid of it all, thus starting his career as the Unabomber. His bombings went on for 17 years, gaining lots of attention from the media and the FBI. After having his “manifesto” published for the public to see, his brother, David Kaczynski, recognized his voice and personality in his writing and reported him to the FBI. He was eventually caught in 1995 and sentenced to life without parole. Kaczynski has been the topic of many debates over the past two decades, particularly because of the grim warnings he offered for mankind in his writings. These debates bring up a lot of important questions: What could cause a successful genius to abandon everything and decide to become self sufficient? Could the Harvard experiment have been the cause of his break from society, and could it be blamed for pushing him towards terrorism? Many wonder if his many writings are truly the work of a genius who knows what the future holds, or the delusioned ramblings of a madman. As a baby, Kaczynski was happy and healthy until he had a severe allergic reaction to a medication. He was hospitalised and put into isolation in order to recover. His mother stated that he did not show any emotions for months after the incident, and that it had a noticeable effect on his personality. From a young age, Kaczynski showed exceptional intellect. While attending Evergreen Park Central School, he took an IQ test and scored 167, labelling him as a genius and allowing him to skip the sixth grade. Kaczynski described this event as pivotal, stating that beforehand he was very social and often took leadership roles, whereas after skipping a grade he was much smaller than his peers and he did not fit in. He was labelled as “different” and was often bullied by other children. Many people around the neighbourhood recognized Kaczynski’s intelligence, with one neighbour stating she had “never known anybody with a brain like Ted’s”. Such high intelligence rendered him a loner, with very few friends, and not playing with other children. He also experienced anxiety when being pressured into social situations and often became unresponsive when facing them. Being extremely concerned about her son’s social development, Kaczynski’s mother had nearly entered him in a study for autistic children. In high school, he excelled academically and skipped yet another grade. Once again he was considered an outsider by his peers. Even his close friends considered him to be shy and quiet. During these years Kaczinski became extremely invested in mathematics. He was placed in advanced math classes where he would spend hours solving problems. He graduated at the age of 15 and was encouraged to apply to Harvard University. One classmate stated, “They packed him up and sent him to Harvard before he was ready … He didn’t even have a driver’s license”. Despite being very emotionally unprepared, Kaczynski headed to Harvard at the mere age of 16. Kaczynski studied mathematics at Harvard where once again, his peers described him as an antisocial genius. During this time he was exposed to many different belief systems and ideas. He became fixated on the evils of society and how technology has contributed heavily to them. To quote Alston Chase, a Harvard graduate and pen-pal of Kaczynski,It was at Harvard that Kaczynski first encountered the ideas about the evils of society that would provide a justification for and a focus to an anger he had felt since junior high school. It was at Harvard that he began to develop these ideas into his anti-technology ideology of revolution. It was at Harvard that Kaczynski began to have fantasies of revenge, began to dream of escaping into wilderness. And it was at Harvard, as far as can be determined, that he fixed on dualistic ideas of good and evil, and on a mathematical cognitive style that led him to think he could find absolute truth through the application of his own reason. During his time at Harvard, Kaczynski was a subject in a psychological experiment led by Henry A. Murray in which he was mentally tormented. This highly controversial experiment would in no way pass an ethics test today, and is widely considered to be a major factor in Kaczynski’s downward spiral towards becoming the Unabomber. In the experiment, the test subjects (who were referred to by a set of numbers) were instructed to write and submit essays stating their personal beliefs, philosophies and aspirations. They were told that they would be debating with a fellow student, but instead their essays were turned over to an unnamed attorney. This attorney would use the information gathered from the essays to put together personal attacks designed to belittle the subjects and the beliefs they hold dear. Murray himself described the attacks as “vehement, sweeping, and personally abusive”. Electrodes would monitor their reactions, and instances of extreme anger were recorder and repeatedly played back to them. The purpose of this experiment was to study how people react under stress. Kaczynski was subjected to verbal abuse once every week for a span of three years. With his newfound anti-technological belief system and hatred for society’s evil nature occurring at the same time as the experiment, it is highly likely that the verbal abuse affected his mental health significantly and sparked a thirst for vengeance and revolution. According to Sally Johnson, a forensic psychiatrist who met with Kaczynski following his imprisonment, he told her that it was during this time that he started to get the desire to break away from society.