Stewart Brand

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Stewart Brand in 2010

Stewart Brand (born December 14, 1938, in Rockford, Illinois) is an author, editor, and creator of The Whole Earth Catalog and CoEvolution Quarterly.


  • A realm of intimate, personal power is developing - power of the individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested.
    • Whole Earth Catalog (1968)
  • 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
  • Information wants to be free. (Excerpted from: "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."[1])
    • Whole Earth Review, May 1985, p. 49.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Redundancy of function is always more reliable than attempts at perfect, which time treats cruelly.
  • Against the flow of constant entropy, maintenance people must swim always upstream, progresses against the current like a watchful trout. The only satisfaction they can get from their work is to do it well. The measure of success in their labors is that the result is invisible, unnoticed. Thanks to them, everything is the same as it ever was.
  • The house and its occupants mold to each other twenty-four hours a day, and the building accumulates the record of that intimacy.
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  1. Levy, Steven (21/11/2015). "Hackers" and "Information Wants to Be Free". Retrieved on 20/07/2015.