Thursday, 3 February 2011


I like counterculture. The assumption we can draw from it is, as Terence McKenna asserted,   culture is not your friend. I blogged earlier about the counterculture nature of Stanford computing in the sixties though I still need to elaborate a lot more on the Mother of all demos as that's the fascinating output of the experiment, and one that remains with us today. The mouse in your hand for example.

I'm not a huge Stewart Brand disciple. Maybe it was the presentation I saw by an ex planner in San Francisco a couple of years back that was a bit too worthy. I'm also not entirely in accord with Stewart Brand's apparent submission to materialistic science. However he's a good guy and has a written an interesting piece and it's too good an opportunity to let a great Marshall McLuhan quote go by from that text.

JI: The last chapter of Whole Earth Discipline is on statecraft. You start it with the Marshall McLuhan quote: ‘After Sputnik there is no nature, only art’. What significance does that statement have in relation to the responsibilities of governance and policymaking?

SB: It’s probably the most radical comment he ever made. Sputnik was shorthand for acting at a planetary scale. We consequently bear a completely different relation to everything on Earth and can no longer treat it, meaning nature, as existing independent of our own artifice – our own purposeful intentions.