Donkey on the Edge

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[Image source: electronic reprint]

Stewart Brand’s a visionary.

His publication, the Whole Earth Catalog, which started in 1969 and took knowledge of complex processes and tools to groups of people trying new ways of living together, all over America, building where they lived and living in what they built, he opened with these words:

“We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”

It’s truer now than it’s ever been. It amazes me that my company, only four permanent people on staff, can produce an electronic model of all of Manhattan just to try out an new idea with maps. Or we can make gadgets out of plastic and electronics. I mean, we’re tiny.

So I think, you know, we need macroscope ideas – like the dandelions which are like MP3s, and like the tomato which happens outside Spaceship Earth – we need macroscope ideas because when the world changes, what we invent – as designers – needs to change too, or it won’t be relevant.

Especially this year, you know. The world has changed in bigger ways than we can really see or comprehend. The financial system came close to complete collapse. Even the cleverest people in the world – literally, seriously, the cleverest people, by any measure you can think of – the cleverest people in the world can’t tell us a cohesive story about the collapse of the banks. So what do we do? It’s too big.

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