Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand started a button campaign asking "Why haven't we seen an images of the whole earth yet?" He eventually enlisted the help of Buckminster Fuller. He talks about how powerful this image of a whole earth has been; how it shows how isolated we are. Some people think the earth is flat, because they treat it's resources as limitless. This image of the earth shows that our space and resources are finite.
Brand studied design at San Fransciso Art Institute and photography at San Fransciso State College. He feels that with the right tools, information, consciousness, etc. humans could reshape the world they had made, and were making into a world that was socially and enviromentally sustainable. This way of thinking led Brand to develop The Long Now Foundation, The Global Business Network, The Whole Earth Catalogue, WELL, and others. He has written several books, including How Buildings Learn, and The Clock of the Long Now.
I found the ideas of The Long Now very interesting. Their purpose is to "provide counterpoint to today's faster/cheaper mindset and promote slower/better thinking." I think this is great. If we as a species would have implemented slower/better thinking some time ago, maybe we wouldn't be in the predicament we're in. The Long Now Foundation also sponsors Long Bets, to help cultivate better long term thinking.
Brand is also trying to generate an academic sub discipline applied history. He feels that historians should be involved in shaping public policy, because those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Check out the link, because he can explain it better and more suscintly than I can.

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