Authors like J. D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho), Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange), J.G. Ballard (High-Rise), Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) and dozens of others
have been writing about alienation and isolation in modern society ever since modern society turned to activities other than engaging their entire society to wage war on a global scale. To a certain extent, the Unabomber, just like all those other authors, have a point. Modern society has evolved to a point where most of us work on tasks that have little to no tangible value outside of being part of a much larger and incomprehensively complex process. And that creates a lingering feeling of alienation for people as the needs of that complex social system takes precedent over their own needs.
The three signs of a miserable job are anonymity, irrelevance and immeasurability. And that probably describes 90% of the jobs people do these days. There is a reason people romanticize the “old ways” of aggrarian or industrial society or even warfare and combat. Even if those jobs are mundane, dangerous and repetitive, they are at least measurable and on some level they are relevent in a visible and tangible way. You know if you have successfully raised your crops or forged your widgets or survived a battle. That is your affirmation of a “job well done”.
I mean how does a college student decide what they “want to do” when they graduate? Almost nobody really “wants” to reconcile accounting ledgers, built corporate IT systems or generate marketing reports for the rest of their life. Most people just float around trying to find something they like, or they engage in the system to try to get (what they think is) as much power out of it as they can.
Is it? Sure, on a personal level I’d rather be too fat than staving to death. But on a global level, is it really a good thing to create better and better technology that ultimately just allows more “consumers” to simply exist for the purpose of consuming as much as they can?