Technology and the Hippies – Overview

“Forget antiwar protests, Woodstock, even long hair.
The real legacy of the sixties generation is the computer revolution” – Stewart Brand in an article from Time Magazine
(Article is reprinted here on our site)

Many of the articles, FAQ and presentations on this site will detail further about how personal computers, the hacker and maker ethics, open source software, online communities and the internet blossomed directly from the counterculture. Art, science and technology combined into the brew that created much of our modern and connected world.

Some well known books on the subject are linked below:

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry

Here’s a  link to a well written review

——————————

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism

——————————

Specifically, the personal computing and networking world was born out of visions – NOT just visions to sell more things, but visions of how to connect the world and give us all access to information and knowledge. As chronicled in the books above, much of this grew from worldviews which were influenced by psychedelic drugs.

Using Steve Jobs as an example:

“Steve Jobs grew up in a lower-middle class suburban neighborhood in the 1960s. When he was a young adult, in theearly 1970s, he delved into eastern mysticism, Zen Buddhism, and hippie ideals.”

* “I have no words to explain the effect the LSD had on me, although, I can say it was a positive life changing experience for me and I am glad I went through that experience.” – Steve Jobs

* At another time, Jobs said “taking LSD was “one of the two or three most important things” he did in his life.”
Article Link: Did Taking LSD Make Steve Jobs more creative?
Apple - Founders
One hardly needs to say more – the defining persona of the entire personal computer revolution was a hippie! LSD and other drug experimentation was just one of his many counterculture habits. He was known to walk around barefoot or with small tattered sandals, eat raw or vegan foods and even eschew frequent bathing!

Steve Wozniak was also, as the pictures show, a long hair, prankster and hacker. As a drop of the University of California Berkeley, he certainly fits the definition of a counterculture member. His ethics are pure “hippiedom” – i.e. he’s not in it for the money, he enjoys nothing more than helping people, etc. – and, as a bona fide of his hippie roots, he paid for and organized the US Festivals, some of the largest post-Woodstock rock festivals ever created.
US Festival Link
US Festival Link2

Although the two Steves are famous examples, many of those working hard on the code and hardware had lofty ideals of changing the world. This site will document many of the unsung (and sung) heroes of the baby boomer generation who took part in the technology and other recent revolutions.

*by no means is this site promoting the use of illegal drugs, walking barefoot in the modern world nor avoiding showers or baths. These are just indications from the past that Steve and others were members of the “counterculture” in various ways. We would, as a matter of recommendations, suggest healthy eating and lifestyles as well as meditations and other spiritual pursuits.

 

 

The Farm – perhaps the most vibrant commune of the “counterculture” era

Note – as is mentioned in some other posts here, my wife and I lived on a commune called The Farm for a few years in the mid-1970’s. I will write up some of my own stories and outlooks on the experience, but for those who want to know what we were about, the following story by a fellow “farmie” should answer….
—————-

The Farm: A Case Study in Creating a New Consciousness and Culture
by Milt Wallace

In the dance between developing individual consciousness and a newly evolving culture, small groups that are in some way isolated from the larger culture can play an important role in creating, incubating and beginning to stabilize the new ideas and values. As the Post Modern paradigm emerged in the 70’s and 80’s, The Farm, a hippy spiritual community was one such group. Because of its size, outreach, and spiritual depth, The Farm’s impact was significant.

Post Modern Culture had its beginnings more than a century ago, but the turbulent years which included the Cold War, the Vietnam and Korean Wars, the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, the Kent State killings, and much more ignited a cultural revolution that led many baby boomers to question the status quo, and to search for some new meaning to life. Travel any highway and you would find young people and some not so young along the road, leaving their middle class homes or aborting their college educations and looking for something new. Modern Consciousness and Culture had a long run with its roots in the 16th century, but as we passed the middle of the 20th century, many came to feel that things weren’t working so well any more.
Continue reading The Farm – perhaps the most vibrant commune of the “counterculture” era