Yesterday I came back home from a road trip to Northern California. When I get away from the city and home, I like to try to be as present as I can, this means to unplug from social media and the net as a whole.
As I ate dinner and unpacked, I fired up the computer and I saw this headline: John Perry Barlow, EFF Co-Founder and Author of 1996 Cyberspace Manifesto, Dies at 70. John Perry Barlow passed away quietly in his sleep this morning (2/7/2018). Barlow was a poet, a cowboy, a philosopher, visionary, and the founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Instantly I was shocked and numb, generally speaking, I try to be indifferent to the latest passing of a celebrity. Its a lost and it sucks, but if I never met them or really know them why invest too much time in it. So I may read or listen to their work and move on. I figure there is enough post about that person, and I'll leave it to the ones that know better than me.
But John Perry Barlow is a legit pioneer, visionary and a personal hero of mines. One of the first things I ever mashup into a video, in the early days of learning and experimenting with video editing, I sampled a clip of John Perry Barlow for this Minds promo video I made. Because it just made sense to me, John Perry Barlow, the man who co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Author 1996 CyberspaceManifesto, I had to use his voice and vision to guide me and this very new and young thing called minds.com
Something in me keeps pulling and pushing towards these ideas. And every time I listen and/or read Visionaries as Barlow and any other cyberdelic pioneer, I integrate them within. Ideas don't die they just multiply. They're a candle, They're a candle, Cut them down a million times, They still burn bright and stand, yo!
The EFF announced Barlow’s death in a blog post late yesterday, announcing that the organization would, “continue the work to fulfill his dream.” EFF is the leading nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation.
“It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow’s vision and leadership,” wrote the executive director of the EFF, Cindy Cohn.
“He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance.”
Barlow’s famous manifesto, “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” attempted to claim the internet as a new space that shouldn’t be regulated by governments.
Barlow wrote “a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth . . . a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.”
The lasting legacy that he devoted his life to making the Internet into this, and we are all better for it.
"I knew it’s also true that a good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls 'turn-key totalitarianism.'”
Barlow knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made a conscious decision to focus on dreaming up a brighter future.
I will hold on this vision and light so that it may shine brightly and guild humanity out of the digital darkness.