Tomorrow, May 22, is Ted Kaczynski’s birthday! I had wondered when I would see fit to republish this 1996 post, composed shortly after his arrest. Back then, I did not know his birthtime. Now I do. Fittingly enough, it puts his thoughtful (Mercury), expansive/philosophical (Jupiter) and wildly discontented (Lilith) Mercury/Jupiter/Lilith conjunction on or close to the Ascendant of his natal chart, where he shows himself to the world. No wonder his Manifesto was published by both the New York Times and the Washington Post!
Since I did know the date of his birth back then, I could riff on the extraordinary triple conjunction in his chart that links Sun/Uranus/Saturn in an extremely tight, contradictory, convoluted knot, at 0°-1° Gemini. No wonder he was so revolutionary (Uranus); no wonder he was so determined and didactic (Saturn).
Donald Trump also has Sun/Uranus conjunct, also in Gemini. This aspect of their charts is eerily similar, minus Saturn. Big difference. Trump is another revolutionary, truly a wild card, unpredictable as hell. But: Trump’s karmic 29° Mars in Leo, conjunct the royal star Regulus, sits exactly on his Ascendant presenting a large-hearted, courageous (or foolhardy) leader who tends to get his way.
Kaczynski did not get his way. Nor, I imagine, did he expect to. Instead, he holed up in a tiny wilderness cabin with no windows, where he constructed intricate bombs to send through the mail, for seventeen years. His Moon, however, was in Leo. His little kid self DID want to be the center of attention. And he DID get his way in another sense. Given eight life sentences without parole, he is held at ADX in Colorado, with other famous convicted terrorists, where he carries on correspondence with thousands of people, all of it archived at the University of Michigan.
The beginning of this piece is highly technical astrologically. Skip that part, if you must.
P.S. DO read his 35,000 word Manifesto. It predicts, in an uncanny manner, what has already come to pass. Unless you prefer Technology to Nature, you will find yourself deeply uneasy, as should be.
I’m publishing the final section of my Meditation here, wherein I detail my own complicated, paradoxical response to this man of my own Saturn/Uranus in Gemini generation, born merely six months before me, with the entire post linked through a pdf.
I introduce this piece with a Time Magazine cover I remember well, from 1989, during the historic Uranus/Neptune conjunction in Capricorn.
Ted Kaczynski and the Paradox of Saturn/Uranus
First published in Welcome to Planet Earth, 1996.
Excerpt, final sections
The Message of the Manifesto
In his Manifesto, the Unabomber, who (along with the Freemen) we might argue represents the independent, martial Aries pole of the opposition in April’s Libra/Aries Full Moon eclipse, cries out to us that we have lost our personal freedoms through the rise of science and technocracy. It is a situation, he says, which will only get worse as they continue their insidious spread. His prediction: “In the future, social systems will not be adjusted to suit the needs of the system.” (In the future? What about now? What about Prozac and Ritalin given to children to render them docile for school? To take a single example.)
The average person, he says, is “a victim of the advertising and marketing industry, which has suckered him into buying a lot of junk that he doesn’t need and that is very poor compensation for his lost freedom.”
In his view, “The system cannot be reformed in such a way as to reconcile freedom with technology.” The model for freedom he finds is Nature: “Nature (that which is outside the system) is the opposite of technology (which seeks to expand indefinitely the power of the system).”
In a passage which perhaps gave a hint in the end as to where he would be found, Kaczynski noted: “There is no law that says we have to go to work every day and follow our employer’s orders. Legally there is nothing to prevent us from going to live in the wild like primitive peoples[my italics] or from going into business for ourselves. But in practice, there is very little wild country left, and room in the economy for only a limited number of small business owners.”
No matter what we think of his ideas (and it may be worth your while to read the entire document), what bothers us is his action, delivering deadly bombs through the mail. Whether this bothers him, we don’t know. “In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we’ve had to kill people.”
A Personal (and Generational?) Response
I quote him at some length because I feel that we are going to be hearing more of his ideas. I certainly hope so. I find myself devouring all the news reports on his life — where and how he lived, what books he read, his habits, his history. And I find myself furious at him — for his cold-blooded crimes, his lack of personal balance. I want to shake him hard, to knock some sense into him. “My God, don’t you realize the importance of what you’re saying? Don’t’ you understand that you sabotage your intent, that because you are murdering people your ideas are reviled? That people link the ideas to the violence?”
And yet I hear his call to revolution, and my blood stirs. And no wonder. I am a member of Kaczynski’s generation, born during the second half of 1942 and 1943, when Saturn and Uranus were together in early Gemini. We are naturally intellectual revolutionaries (Uranus in Gemini), born in a nation whose natal chart echoes our original Uranus position, a nation of which Thomas Jefferson noted, “There should be a revolution every ten years.” The idea of critiquing society as a whole with a long sustained argument (Saturn in Gemini) such as the Unabomber attempted is natural to those of us born during 1942-43.
Those of us whose Uranian energies were consciously activated back in the revolutionary ‘60s were galvanized by the Uranus/Pluto conju ction in Virgo into a total analysis and annihilation of the foundations of Western society. Hey there, Ted Kaczynski, you’re not alone! We were all suckled on those same ideas you espouse, devouring Noam Chomsky, Paul Goodman, William Blake, Lewis Mumford, R.D. Laing, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Ellul, Rachel Carson, and the like; and we treasure now voices such as Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, Dave Foreman, Terry Tempest Williams, Barry Lopez, Susan Griffin.
It feels like we’ve always known that the world is dangerously out of tilt. And ever since Timemagazine’s Earth-in-Chains cover on January 1989, the mainstream press has also known it. I remember reading that issue and rejoicing. Now I look back with chagrin. The very popularity of, at least, the environmental aspect of the Unabomber’s ideas is the problem. So many people talking, so very few walking that talk. “Deep ecology,” “nature,” and “natural,” “organic,” “Gaia,” “Paradigm Shift” — these have have transmuted into fashionable, jingoistic catch words, politically correct, but rarely lived. Hell, they’re even co-opted in smooth, subtle corporate ads. In that vein, I applaud the consistency of Kaczynski’s simple life-style in rural Montana and his call for a return to nature, where we can live in villages again, eat organic vegetables again, walk and ride bicycles, re-member ourselves again. Put ourselves back together from this fission where we have been blown apart like atoms in the nucleus, like atomic bombs.
So yes, I do appreciate his drive to be heard and I can especially appreciate his frustration, his desperate defiant attempt to shout down the din.
But then I look closely at the picture published in the media of his cabin. No windows! Shut off from the world that completely? Why didn’t he recognize his comrades! Why the long section in his tome devoted to trashing “Lefties”? What personal animus animates him? I note his Moon in Leo: was he so self-centered that he couldn’t allow in his own Aquarian group?
True to my own Saturn/Uranus contradictory, prickly, paradoxical nature (in my case, aroused by a close opposition to natal Mars), in pondering Kaczynski my blood stirs (Uranus) and so does my judgment (Saturn). I am activated in perhaps the same kind of contradictory way he was, and it doesn’t feel good. It feels bad.
And then, I am moved to pity. What must it be like to be so filled with fury against a society which he can see so clearly is destroying both our humanity and our community? Reading slowly through that strangely wooden, preachy tract, my compassion grows as I feel the inner reality of this man who has, after all, been shaped by the very same forces he so despises. Here he is, 53 years old, twisted, lonely, utterly lost to both his own interior life and other human contact.
In my own chart (born 12/19/42), Uranus, conjunct Saturn by five degrees (and exactly opposite Mars) is exactly trine Neptune in Libra, which itself is angular, at the Midheaven. For me, Neptune’s compassion (now that I’ve worked through addiction) softens the Uranian call to arms. His Neptune, however, is at 27° Virgo, a difficult sign position for Neptune, and yet it istrine his Uranus/Saturn and Sun. Only three degrees of orb separate them from that same softening. So what happened? Or did his technical, precise Neptune in Virgo get siphoned off into meticulously crafting those bombs, built according to that fertile Neptune imagination?
Kaczynski decries those scientists who find themselves fascinated with bomb-building, and he is one of them. The U.S. Neptune in Virgo, an indicator of our nation’s addiction to technique and technology, is echoed in the life of this man born during the same Virgo transit of Neptune.
I identify with him, his revolutionary goals, his lifestyle. (I don’t live in a hut, but I do live in a 20-foot diameter Mongolian yurt.) I want to identify with him, to understand him, how he could have gone that route.And on the contrary: I want to distance myself from him, the horrors of his acts, the hatred in his heart. In short, my response is profoundly ambivalent.
I imagine I am not alone. This man fascinates; he serves as both hero and villain to many of us who found ourselves with the same critique of society when we were young, and he bursts into the public eye exactly at a time when it is possible for such ideas to gain a hearing. The ingresses of Pluto into Sagittarius and Uranus into Aquarius, and now, Saturn into Aries, all promise an atmosphere wherein all sorts of alternative and experimental and profound probing ideas will finally be seriously considered and discussed. And I have a feeling that his court trial will take us to the next step in deepening the philosophical questions raised by the verdict in the O.J. Simpson case. What is Justice? What is Truth? We now ask, in the aftermath of that trial which seemed to decimate so many middle-class assumptions about our legal system and its (complicated, and often cynical) interface with ethics.
I have a sense that the issues of racism, money, power, violence in male/female relations, the jury system of justice — all raised in the course of the O.J. Trial — will now be seen as symptoms of a deeper malaise which stems from what the Unabomber has correctly pinpointed: the unbalanced worship of science and technology, and how it undergirds every aspect of our lives, even when we don’t think so, especially when we don’t know it.
Kaczynski’s life (and possible death) is a sacrifice to the collective. Like O. J. Simpson, this flawed, all-too-human being is a scapegoat for the violence — and the loneliness, the anomie, the feeling of powerlessness he so decries — lurking within us all. The journey of Pluto through early Sagittarius this year and next, as it works on killing and/or transforming Kaczynski’s Gemini Sun/Saturn/Uranus by opposition, will take us down into ourselves, to (hopefully) dismantle the perceptual and intellectual (scientific) structures that were unconsciously constructed and passed on for hundreds of years, structures which dehumanize us, and wall us off from our souls. I predict that this dismantling will affect especially those born during 1942-1943, whose Saturn/Uranus conjunctions in Gemini are also activated by transiting Pluto in early Sagittarius.
I remember alternately writhing in agony and grinding my teeth as I watched the way the preposterous health-care debate played out early in the Clinton administration. Nowhere was there a discussion of the roots of disease, of non-allopathic approaches to health, of the mind/body/spirit connection, of the relationship among individual, collective and environmental pathologies. The entire situation — both problems and solutions — was couched in medical (read scientific, expert) and technological (read equipment, procedures, pharmaceuticals, insurance, HMO) terms. If ever there was an example of what the Unabomber is talking about, that was it. We of the scientific western world see even our bodies as machines. Technocracy has taken our bodies over, too.
So yes, I can understand Kaczynski’s frustration. And his fury. It simmers within me, too. In fact, I spent the entire decade of my 40s working to trasmute my fury, so that I could find peace within myself and stop projecting all my own problems onto society. I needed to take personal responsibility for my own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. I needed to learn to channel my Mars opposite Saturn/Uranus outrage in constructive ways. I wish our entire society would do that, and I wish the Unabomber had done that. For it is all too easy to see his extreme tactics as the mere acting out of an emotionally abandoned Leo Moon child’s need to be special, to be the center of attention. I am sad that he has not healed that inner child, that he has not come to terms within himself, with the emotional violence which was no doubt done to him.
But then, he would probably tell me, he would be “just conforming to what ‘the system’ wants of him. To be peaceful, to fit in. That this is reductionism, of his legitimate rage at our culture’s suicidal stupidity to some subjective condition within him. As if hewere the problem. As if the solution was just to give in.”
I want to say, “I hear you, I hear you,” on this, and yet I also want to say, “But it’s true, we must start within. As long as we rail against what we see outside us, we are merely projecting our own violence onto the outer world. We become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.”
“Bullshit!” He would probably answer. “All that mental health psychobabble about ‘projection’ is another manipulative tool that technocratic society uses to make us feel that the problem lies not in society, but in the individual. We then take the blame, and feel ashamed.” And once we are ashamed, as he puts it, in that same tract, we feel “inferior, powerless, and oversocialized, concerned with fitting in.”
I have no way of combatting his argument intellectually. All I can do is tune into my own life as a whole, how I have worked with these same issues, how I continue to work with them. I ask myself, where am I now? Where have I been? Where am I going? How can I take responsibility for my life, how I have created it? And how can I be of service to the world? The process unfolds, grows richer and deeper with time. I coax meaning from events, from dreams, from the zen of daily life. I cherish mystery. And I honor the Mars opposite Saturn/Uranus conjunction, that violent, searing paradox, as it continues to rip open my soul.
I had wondered what cultural events would transpire when transiting Pluto and transiting Uranus began to oppose and trine the Saturn/Uranus conjunction of those born during 1942 and 1943. I had wondered who, among those of us born then, would be featured in the headlines, who would grab our attention. Now I know. Thank you, Theodore Kaczynski, for your unflinching look at our soulless society. May the peace you seek in the outside world illumine your own troubled soul.