Stewart Brand on Starting Things and Staying Curious

From psychedelics to cyberculture, hippie communes to commercial startups, and the Whole Earth Catalog to the Long Now Foundation, Stewart Brand has not only been a part of many movements—he was there at the start. Now 83, he says he doesn’t understand why older people let their curiosity fade, when in many ways it’s the best time to set off on new intellectual pursuits.

Tyler and Stewart discuss what drives his curiosity, including the ways in which he’s a product of the Cold War, how he became a Darwinian decentralist, the effects of pre-industrial America on his thought, the subcultural convergences between hippies and younger American Indians, why he doesn’t think humans will be going to the stars, his two-minded approach to unexplained phenomena, how L.L. Bean inspired the Whole Earth Catalog, why Silicon Valley entrepreneurs don’t seem interested in the visual arts, why L.A. could not have been the home of hippie culture and digital innovation, what libertarians don’t understand about government, why we should bring back woolly mammoths, why he’s now focused on maintenance and institutions, and more.

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