Interesting 1995 article by Stuart Brand, about how the 1960s counterculture ideals of broad frontiers, personal liberation and expression, and anti-authority have played a part in the formation and structure of the modern Internet.
Newcomers to the Internet are often startled to discover themselves not so much as in some soulless colony of technocrats as in a kind of cultural Brigadoon– a flowering remnant of the ’60s, when hippie communalism and libertarian politics formed the roots of the modern cyberrevolution. At the time, it all seemed dangerously anarchic ( and still does to many), but the counter culture’s scorn for centralized authority provided the philosophical foundations of not only the leaderless Internet but also the entire personal computer revolution.
We are the generation of the ’60s- were inspired by the “bards and hot gospellers of technology,” as business historian Peter Drucker described media maven Marshall MacLuhan and technophile Buckminster Fuller. And we bought enthusiastically into the exotic technologies of the day, such as Fuller’s geodesic domes and psychoactive drugs like LSD. We learned from them, but ultimately they turned out to be blind alleys. Most of our generation scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized control. But a tiny contingent– later called “hackers”– embraced computers and set about transforming them into tools of liberation. That turned out to be the true royal road to the future.