Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

18 11 2007

That was the farewell message on the last page of the final issue of the Whole Earth Catalogue. I seem to be the only person on the planet who has never seen one of these, although Thomas Howe has agreed to remedy that situation by lending me one of his old copies. (Note to self: research definition and origin of the words loan and lend.)

Thursday’s breaktime conversation at Walt Hull Ironwork somehow turned from ellipses, parabolas and hyperbolas to the Whole Earth Catalogue. Just the day before, I had been discussing an open access training site with Mary, so the open access concept was fresh in my mind. Anyway, Walt and Mary agree that Whole Earth was the hippy’s (oops!) bible and a very popular publication while it was in print from 1968 to 1972. Walt later sent me a link to the Wikipedia explanation, which I found fascinating.

Of particular interest: It was getting a little late last night, but I could have sworn that Mary mentioned that Stewart Brand, one of the Whole Earth founders, is now involved with a site I’ve mentioned before, called Cool Tools. Don’t you wish you were one of those people with the intellectual horsepower, combined with an amazing ability to overcome inertia, who are always doing something incredibly interesting?

Second, the Whole Earth Catalogue was at least partially written by its readers. Essentially, if a reader discovered a source for some wonderfully useful item, or simply wanted to share some knowledge that others might need, they could submit it to the catalogue. Does this sound sorta like the internet? Well, Steve Jobs, in a commencement speech at Stanford University, compared the catalogue to Google, “It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along…).

So, all of this reminds me of how much I would hate to lose access to the internet. I’m sure the Whole Earth Catalogue was intriguing, but not a day goes by that I don’t learn a fistful of facts via the internet.




2 responses

19 11 2007

OK, hon, it’s “hippie,” not “hippy,” which is more what I am now.

11 12 2009

Oh my god enjoyed reading your post. I submitted your feed to my reader!

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