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- We are as gods and might as well get good at it.
- In our researches on the likely economic apocalypse it's become clear what is the prime survival tool for hard times: friends. Good friends. Lots of them.
- Whole Earth Epilog (1974), "History", p. 753
- On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.
- Whole Earth Review, May 1985, p. 49. (Cited as origin of the aphorism "information wants to be free" by Roger Clarke in "Information Wants to be Free".)
- Science is the only news. When you scan through a newspaper or magazine, all the human interest stuff is the same old he-said-she-said, the politics and economics the same sorry cyclic dramas, the fashions a pathetic illusion of newness, and even the technology is predictable if you know the science. Human nature doesn’t change much; science does, and the change accrues, altering the world irreversibly.
- Whole Earth Discipline (2009), page 216.
- Certain knowledge of what to fight for, and what to fight against, gives meaning to life and provides its own version of discipline: never give up. That kind of meaning is illusory, I now believe, and blinkered. Fealty to a mystical absolute is a formula for disaster, especially in transformative times.
- Whole Earth Discipline (2009), page 210.
- When environmentalists are wrong, it is frequently technology that they are wrong about, and they wind up supporting parochial Green goals at the cost of comprehensive ones. That happened with space technology, nuclear technology, and genetic engineering. If your default position on a new technology is suspicion, you forfeit the ability to deploy it for your own purposes. "The environmental movement has so far concentrated its attention upon the evils that technology has done rather than upon the good that technology has failed to do," says Freeman Dyson. But focusing on Green technological opportunity requires a shift in attitude toward novelty.
- Whole Earth Discipline (2009), page 226.
- Every interview with a public figure should include the question "What have you been wrong about, and how did that change your views?" The answer will tell us if the person is intellectually honest or a tale spinner with delusions of infallibility.
- Whole Earth Discipline (2009), page 230.
- Excessively precise economic analysis can lead to assessing everything in terms of its easily measurable melt value - the value that thieves get from stealing copper wiring from isolated houses, that vandals got from tearing down Greek temples for the lead joints holding the marble blocks together, that shortsighted timber companies get from liquidating their forests. The standard to insist on is live value. What is something worth when it's working?
- Whole Earth Discipline (2009), page 277.