[iDC] Re:From Counter Culture to Cyber Culture: The "Utopian" thing.....

Samuel Rose samuel.rose at gmail.com
Sat May 5 13:51:23 EDT 2007

It's important to really define what you mean by "Digital Utopianism".

Are we really trying thoroughly and accurately examine whether these people
are operating on "Utopian" fundamental assumptions? Or, are we really just
trying to build a "brand" of intellectualism that has as it's basis an
"anti" digital socio-techno bent?

So far, my conclusion is that I think it's quite unfair, and definitely not
accurate, to label these people discussed in this book as "Digital

A "Utopian" view is generally defined as a non-realistic view of
perfection.  I  think this word is misused to describe the
social/technological/cultural phenomenon this book is covering.

I am part of the networks that have emerged from the "Whole Earth
Network"(and also part of many other networks that have nothing to do with
this network). The visions and concepts discussed by people like Kevin
Kelly, Howard Rheingold, Alan Kay, and others referenced in Fred's book are
grounded in reality, and are generally workable, usable theoretical
constructs. The works these people put out take into account the pros and
cons of technology. Calling them "Digital Utopians" seems to steer me
towards the conclusion that these people are are irrationally one-sided in
their conclusions about technology, and that they espouse the view that the
world will be a perfect place, if people only were to adopt their
techno-social visions.

I'd like to get down to direct references. Hard evidence of why we should
consider these people "Utopians". Who are the "Digital Utopians", exactly,
and why exactly should we regard them as illogical and unrealistic
"Utopians" vs. theorists, or designers? Where is the evidence? And, if there
is no evidence, then why are we talking about this?

Are we saying that these people discussed in Fred's book have somehow
foisted a lifestyle and culture upon the Western world based on a
counter-culture Utopian vision of digital human perfection? If so, should we
think the same way about anyone who tries to improve human existence through
technological design? Especially if their patterns are rapidly adopted and
used on a mainstream scale? Were they "Utopians", or were they pragmatic
thinkers? Where is the inherent sinister evil in these "Digital Utopians"
that I am missing here? Where were the "Digital Utopians" misguided, and how
has reality shown them to be wrong?

> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 20:52:29 -0700
> From: Andrew Keen <ak at aftertv.com>
> Subject: Re: [iDC] Hello out there
> To: Fred Turner <fturner at stanford.edu>
> Cc: idc at bbs.thing.net
> Message-ID: <463BFF7D.1030002 at aftertv.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
> Fred -- some questions that might help people understand your intriguing
> argument:
> -- What were the ideological and cultural roots of the Silicon Valley
> computer revolution?
> -- Why do think so many people in the counter culture were attracted by
> the potential of the computer to turn the world upside down?
> -- How do you define the concept of "digital utopianism" and how has it
> (re)shaped Silicon Valley and the computer industry?
> -- What role do you think digital utopianism has played in the cultural
> origins and development of the internet? Does it now represent an
> intellectual orthodoxy that is changing the counter-cultural assumptions
> of business and media?
> -- Can we now talk about a computer-military industrial complex?
> Fred Turner wrote:
> > Hi All --
> >
> > The ever-resourceful Trebor has asked that I get over my reticence and
> > let the list know I'm on it. I'm the author of From Counterculture to
> > Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of
> > Digital Utopianism. In that book, I talk a lot about the ways that
> > countercultural movements of the 1960s drew from and ultimately
> > enabled the growth and diffusion of military-industrial culture.
> > Trebor and I have been talking about the consequences of that turn for
> > contemporary digital collaborations and artistic activism -- I'm happy
> > to continue the discussion here.
> >
> > -- Fred Turner
> >
> > ___________________________________________________________________
> > Fred Turner
> > Assistant Professor
> > Director of Undergraduate Studies
> > Dept. of Communication
> > Building 120
> > Stanford University
> > Stanford, CA 94305-2050
> > O) 650-723-0706
> > Fax) 650-725-2472
> > http://fredturner.stanford.edu
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > (distributedcreativity.org)
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> >

Sam Rose
Social Synergy
Cel: +1-517-974-6451
AIM: Str9960
Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samrose
skype: samuelrose
email: samuel.rose at gmail.com

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