Review (Guest): Whole Earth Discipline

5 Star, Culture, Research, Environment (Solutions), Science & Politics of Science, Stabilization & Reconstruction, Survival & Sustainment, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Water, Energy, Oil, Scarcity
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most important — certainly the most thought-provoking — book in years

October 22, 2009

Review by Jesse Kornbluth

Book by Stewart Brand

I was interviewing George Soros as the Dow rapidly shed 300 points and crashed through the 10,000 level.

“Is this it?” I asked.

Soros shrugged — a very calm reaction from an investor who might have seen his portfolio shrink by hundreds of millions of dollars in a matter of minutes.

I lost much less that day, but I had a different reaction — panic. The thing to do, I concluded, was to trade my beloved Classic 6 in Manhattan for a self-sustaining house in the country. Ten acres would suffice, as long as they had decent water, land suitable for a large garden and enough sunlight for the solar panels.

I bought a URL for the web site I planned to launch: […]. This was no back-to-the-land hippie retreat. I would be stepping into the smart future: small town/rural purity (Woodsmoke) with the 21st century benefits of a fast Internet (Broadband) and Amazon.com’s free shipping.

Given all that, you will understand that I was quite stunned to read “Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto” — by Stewart Brand, creator of the 1960s and 1970s classic, the “Whole Earth Catalog” — and discover that the last place its author would have me go is back to the land.

Continue reading “Review (Guest): Whole Earth Discipline”

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Howard Rheingold

Alpha Q-U, Collective Intelligence
Howard Rheingold
Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold may well have been the first pioneer to fall down into the chasm of cyberspace and the write about it.  As Editor of the Whole Earth Review, following in the footsteps of founder Stewart Brand, he has consistently been on the bleeding edge of both righteous living for a Whole Earth, and the bleeding edge of technology and the human mind.  Below are links to his books, the first of which, Tools for Thinking, catalyzed deep soul-searching within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which at the time (1986) had nothing to offer such as Howard envisioned.  He was, with John Perry Barlow, one of the two speakers at OSS ’92 who challenged virtually every aspect of the secret intelligence paradigm.

A slice of life in my virtual community

Rheingold at OSS ’92

The Book
The Book

Continue reading “Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Howard Rheingold”

Whole Earth Review Archives on Public Intelligence (Historical)

Whole Earth Review

1992

US

Whole Earth RBrandArmy Green

1992

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Whole Earth RKapor et alWe Need a National Public Network

1992

US

Whole Earth RKleinerThe Co-Evolution of Governance

1992

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Whole Earth RPetersenWill the Military Miss the Market

1992

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Whole Earth RStaple & DixonTelegeography: Mapping the New World Order

1992

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Whole Earth RSteeleE3i: Ethics, Ecology, Evolution, and Intelligence

1992

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Whole Earth RTibbsIndustrial Ecology: An Environmental Agenda for Industry

1991

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Whole Earth RBrilliantComputer Conferencing: The Global Connection

1991

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Whole Earth RClayGenes, Genius, and Genocide

1991

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Whole Earth RElginConscious Democracy Through Electronic Town Meetings

1991

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Whole Earth RGarciaAssessing the Impacts of Technology

1991

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Whole Earth RGodwinThe Electronic Frontier Foundation and Virtual Communities

1991

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Whole Earth RKarrakerHighways of the Mind

1991

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Whole Earth RLovins & LovinsWinning the Peace

1991

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Whole Earth RMarxPrivacy & Technology

1991

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Whole Earth RMeeksThe Global Commons

1991

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Whole Earth RRheingoldElectronic Democracy: The Great Equalizer

1991

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Whole Earth RSchumanReclaiming our Technological Future

1991

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Whole Earth RWarren & RheingoldAccess to Political Tools: Effective Citizen Action

1991

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Whole Earth RWhiteEarthtrust: Electronic Mail and Ecological Activism

1991

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Whole Earth RWhitney-SmithInformation Doesn’t Want

1991

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Whole Earth RWittigElectronic City Hall

1990

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Whole Earth RBarlowCrime and Puzzlement: The Advance of the Law on the Electronic Frontier

1990

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Whole Earth RBrandOutlaws, Musicians, Lovers, and Spies: The Future of Control

1990

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Whole Earth RDodgeLife Work

1990

JP

Whole Earth RIshiiCross-Cultural Communications & Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

1990

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Whole Earth RJordon IIIRestoration: Shaping the Land, Transforming the Spirit

1990

JP

Whole Earth RKumonToward Co-Emulation: Japan and the United States in the Information Age

1990

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Whole Earth RMonschkeHow to Heal the Land

1990

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Whole Earth RShapardObservations on Cross-Cultural Electronic Networking

1990

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Whole Earth RVidalFounding Father Knows Best

1989

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Whole Earth RBermanThe Gesture of Balance

1989

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Whole Earth RGarfinkleSocial Security Numbers: And Other Telling Information

1989

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Whole Earth RHaightLiving in the Office

1989

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Whole Earth RHorvitzThe USENET Underground

1989

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Whole Earth RJaffeHello, Central: Phone Conferencing Tips

1989

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Whole Earth RJohnson`The Portable Office

1989

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Whole Earth RRheingoldEthnobotany: The Search for Vanishing Knowledge

1988

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Whole Earth RBaker, S.Gossip

1988

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Whole Earth RBaker, W.Gossip

1988

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Whole Earth RBrandThe Information Wants to Be Free Strategy

1988

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Whole Earth RCoateTales from Two Communities: The Well and the Farm

1988

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Whole Earth RFergusonGossip

1988

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Whole Earth RFieldsGossip

1988

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Whole Earth RHardinGossip

1988

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Whole Earth RHawkinsComputer Parasites & Remedies–A Catalog of First Sightings

1988

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Whole Earth RKeenGossip

1988

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Whole Earth RKleinerGossip

1988

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Whole Earth RLearyGossip

1988

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Whole Earth RNelsonGossip

1988

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Whole Earth RNewroeDistance Learning

1988

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Whole Earth RPertThe Material Basis of Emotions with Inset, Mind as Information

1988

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Whole Earth RRappaportGossip

1988

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Whole Earth RThurow & WalshGetting Over the Information Economy

1987

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Whole Earth RDonaldsonAn Incomplete History of Microcomputing

1987

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Whole Earth RHensonMEMETICS: The Science of Information Viruses

1987

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Whole Earth RHorvitzAn Intelligent Guide to Intelligence

1987

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Whole Earth RKrauseBio-Acoustics: Habitat Ambience & Ecological Balance

1987

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Whole Earth RRobertsElectronic Cottage on Wheels

1986

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Whole Earth RFend & GuntherWhat Have You Got to Hide: Iraq Iran Basra Abadan

1986

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Whole Earth RMinskySociety of Mind

1986

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Whole Earth RSandersEtiquette for the Age of Transparency

1986

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Whole Earth RScxhwartz & BrandThe World Information Economy

1986

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Whole Earth RThompsonA Gaian Politics

1985

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Whole Earth RBrand, Kelly, KinneyDigital Retouching: The End of Photography as Evidence of Anything

1985

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Whole Earth RHunterPublic Image

1985

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Whole Earth RKleinerThe Health Hazards of Computers: A Guide to Worrying Intelligently

1985

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Whole Earth RManderSix Grave Doubts About Computers

1983

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Whole Earth RIllichSilence is a Commons: Computers Are Doing to Communication What …

1982

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Whole Earth RBrandUncommon Courtesy: A School of Compassionate Skills

1982

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Whole Earth RKayesForce Without Power: A Doctrine of Unarmed Military Service

1982

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Whole Earth RMeadowsWhole Earth Models & Systems

Review: Clock Of The Long Now–Time And Responsibility: The Ideas Behind The World’s Slowest Computer

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Cosmos & Destiny, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Education (General)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Extraordinary–Core Reading for Future of Earth- Man,

September 29, 2002
Stewart Brand
I confess to being dumb. Although I know and admire the author, who has spoken at my conference, when the book came out I thought–really dumb, but I mention it because others may have made the same mistake–that it was about building a cute clock in the middle of the desert.Wrong, wrong, wrong (I was). Now, three years late but better late than never, on the recommendation of a very dear person I have read this book in detail and I find it to be one of the most extraordinary books–easily in the top ten of the 300+ books I have reviewed on Amazon.

At it’s heart, this book, which reflects the cummulative commitment of not only the author but some other brilliant avant guarde mind including Danny Hillis, Kevin Kelly (WIRED, Out of Control, the Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization), Esther Dyson, Mitch Kapor (Lotus, Electronic Frontier Foundation) and a few others, is about reframing the way people–the entire population of the Earth–think, moving them from the big now toward the Long Here, taking responsibility for acting as it every behavior will impact on the 10,000 year long timeframe.

This book is in the best traditions of our native American forebears (as well as other cultures with a long view), always promoting a feedback-decision loop that carefully considered the impact on the “seventh generation.” That’s 235 years or so, or more.

The author has done a superb job of drawing on the thinking of others (e.g. Freeman Dyson, Esther’s father) in considering the deep deep implications for mankind of thinking in time (a title popularized, brilliantly, by Ernest May and Richard Neustadt of Harvard), while adding his own integrative and expanding ideas.

He joints Lee Kuan Yew, brilliant and decades-long grand-father of Asian prosperity and cohesiveness, in focusing on culture and the long-term importance of culture as the glue for patience and sound long-term decision-making. His focus on the key principles of longevity, maintainability, transparency, evolvability, and scalability harken back to his early days as the editor of the Whole Earth Review (and Catalog) and one comes away from this book feeling that Stewart Brand is indeed the “first pilot” of Spaceship Earth.

It is not possible and would be inappropriate to try to summarize all the brilliant insights in this work. From the ideas of others to his own, from the “Responsibility Record” to using history as a foundation for dealing with rapid change, to the ideas for a millenium library to the experienced comments on how to use scenarios to reach consensus among conflicted parties as to mutual interests in the longer-term future, this is–the word cannot be overused in this case–an extraordinary book from an extraordinary mind.

This book is essential reading for every citizen-voter-taxpayer, and ends with an idea for holding politicians accountable for the impact of their decisions on the future. First class, world class. This is the book that sets the stage for the history of the future.

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