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jerryking : community_builders   4

Opinion | The Man Who Changed the World, Twice - The New York Times
May 8, 2018 | NYT | by David Brooks.
This column is about a man, Stewart Brand, who changed the world, at least twice. I want to focus less on the impact of his work, which is all around us, and more on how he did it, because he’s a model of how you do social change.....In 1965, Brand created a multimedia presentation called “America Needs Indians,” which he performed at the LSD-laced, proto-hippie gatherings he helped organize in California.

Brand then had two epiphanies. First, there were no public photos of the entire earth. Second, if people like him were going to return to the land and lead natural lives, they would need tools......launched the the “Whole Earth Catalog.”....the Catalog....was also a bible for what would come to be known as the counterculture, full of reading lists and rich with the ideas of Buckminster Fuller and others........When a culture changes, it’s often because a small group of people on society’s margins find a better way to live, parts of which the mainstream adopts. Brand found a magic circle in the Bay Area counterculture. He celebrated it, publicized it, gave it a coherence it otherwise lacked and encouraged millions to join.....The communes fizzled. But on the other side of the Bay Area, Brand sensed another cultural wave building-- computers!! Brand and others imagined computers launching a consciousness revolution — personal tools to build neural communities that would blow the minds of mainstream America. [See Fred Turner says in “From Counterculture to Cyberculture,” ].......Brand played cultural craftsman once again, as a celebrity journalist. In 1972 he wrote a piece for Rolling Stone announcing the emergence of a new outlaw hacker culture..... Brand is a talented community architect. In the 1970s, he was meshing Menlo Park computer geeks with cool hippie types. The tech people were entranced by “Whole Earth,” including Steve Jobs....In 1985, Brand and Larry Brilliant helped create the Well, an early online platform (like Usenet) where techies could meet and share. .......Brand’s gift, Frank Foer writes in “World Without Mind,” is “to channel the spiritual longings of his generation and then to explain how they could be fulfilled through technology.” Innovations don’t just proceed by science alone; as Foer continues, “the culture prods them into existence.”....... Brooks argues that the computer has failed as a source of true community. Social media seems to immiserate people as much as it bonds them. And so there’s a need for future Brands, young cultural craftsmen who identify those who are building the future, synthesizing their work into a common ethos and bringing them together in a way that satisfies the eternal desire for community and wholeness.

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Third, the age seems to reward procedural architects (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc. , people who can design an architecture/platform that allows other people to express ideas or to collaborate. Fourth, people who can organize a decentralized network around a clear question, without letting it dissipate or clump, will have enormous value. Fifth, essentialists will probably be rewarded--the ability to grasp the essence of one thing, and then the essence of some very different thing, and smash them together to create some entirely new thing. Sixth, the computer is the computer. The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
David_Brooks  Stewart_Brand  community_builders  product_launches  counterculture  community_organizing  Silicon_Valley  '70s  trailblazers  social_change  role_models  via:marshallk  hackers  social_media  Steve_Jobs  books 
may 2018 by jerryking
The Arduous Community - NYTimes.com
December 20, 2010 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS.
Erica Brown leads Torah study groups and teaches adult education classes
in Jewish thought....Brown has what many people are looking for these
days. In the first place, she has conviction. For her, Judaism isn’t a
punch line or a source of neuroticism; it’s a path to self-confident and
superior living....In her classes and groups, she tries to create
arduous countercultural communities. “We live in a relativistic
culture,” she told me. Many people have no firm categories to organize
their thinking. They find it hard to give a straight yes or no answer to
tough moral questions. When they go in search of answers, they
generally find people who offer them comfort and ways to ease their
anxiety.

Brown tries to do the opposite. Jewish learning, she says, isn’t about
achieving tranquility. It’s about the struggle. “I try to make people
uncomfortable.”
Judaism  education  tough_love  David_Brooks  community_builders  convictions  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  self-confidence  candour  arduous  counterculture 
december 2010 by jerryking
Indoor malls build community - The Globe and Mail
Chris Atchison

Special to The Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Dec. 01, 2009
BIAs  community  shopping_malls  retailers  community_builders 
december 2009 by jerryking

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