Stewart Brand, The Whole Earth Catalog, The Well, and the World Wide Web/From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner

It never occurred to me how much Stewart Brand and the counter-cultural ethos of the’70s-80s WEC shaped the internet as we know it today. A belief in decentralization, of freedom of information, of access for anyone to communicative media, these idealistic concepts seeded in the ’60s formed the foundation of the internet and the web before Big Biz and the Greedy Ones could tie it all up in the oligopolistic name of profit. Remarkable.

Here is an excerpt from an article in Science magazine dated 3/9/07 by Henry Lieberman, titled “From Whole Earth to the Whole Web,” in which he reviews the new book From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner:

“That we happened to get such an open network was a miracle. But it wasn’t an accident. The technical community that built today’s digital infrastructure did so around a certain set of cultural values, among them openness, sharing, personal expression, and innovation. These were core values of the early digital pioneers (the hackers), embodied in what we proudly call the “hacker ethic.” Today, we take the digital revolution for granted and seldom appreciate to what extent these values were sparked by the 1960s counterculture, which preceded the digital revolution: counterculture begat cyberculture.

Because of the happy coincidence that the corporate and bureaucratic establishments of the time understood digital technology so poorly, the hackers were able to pull off the revolution before the bureaucracy knew what hit them. Like the fall of communism, it happened so fast that we haven’t yet really taken the time to fully celebrate its victory and examine how it happened.”

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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