The Overview Effect
Stewart Brand was ‘chilling’ at a rooftop in San Francisco (1966), he thought that he saw the buildings of San Francisco diverging and he thought oh that makes Stewart Brand was ‘chilling’ at a rooftop in San Francisco (1966), he thought that he saw the buildings of San Francisco diverging and he thought oh that makes sense because the earth is round and they’re diverging based on the contour of the planet, then he thought wait why haven’t we seen a picture of the whole earth yet so he started a campaign – 25 cent/buttons, campaigning to NASA, “Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?” that’s it and he sold those buttons everywhere. He went to UC Berkeley, and was kicked off the campus, then he came to Stanford, but did not kick him off the campus, he went to MIT, Harvard… and after a year on November 10, 1967, NASA published this picture (above). This is just 50 years ago, 50 years ago we saw our planet for the first time ever, just started with some buttons. Steward thought this would be a unifying symbol for all of us and he was also very inspired by the overview effect, which is a cognitive shift that astronauts experience when they go into space and they see earth for the first time. They actually have this overwhelming feeling and they understand that it’s a living and breathing organism that is impacted but by both positive and negative things we do to it, so he thought that that will help us understand kind of what we are doing and put our actions or work in context. He was so inspired by that and he created the Whole Earth Catalog, which featured essays and articles that provided ‘access to tools’.
It happened before in the 70s with the Whole Earth Catalog
I have a copy of that from 1968, this thing is amazing, absolutely beautiful and ahead of its time. This catalog inspired a whole generation and some say that this was the start of the environmental movement. Others might say this was the internet before the internet. When Steve Jobs mentioned “Stay hungry, stay foolish” in his Stanford speech, he was actually just quoting the Whole Earth Catalog because that inspired him too.
You can do it – The key takeaway is that Stewart started all this on top of a rooftop in a city where I am living. You can do this too, he also not only this idea, but much more than that, most of them failed. Allow yourself to try different things. Failure is okay, confidence does not exist unless there’s failure. A person cannot be truly confident if they haven’t failed. Try different things, some of them may end up changing the world like this guy did.
Personal power is evolving – new tools and paradigms are on the rise: Web3 for decentralized control, Blockchain for distributed ledger and Proof of Claim for decentralized consensus and so on. At its heart, the purpose of these tools is the power of an individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested.