Tag Archives: utopia

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace (February 8, 1996)

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.

wonderful attention to detail.

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

[…]

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

[…]

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

[…]

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland

February 8, 1996

by John Perry Barlow <barlow@eff.org>

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WELCOME TO UTOPIA

WELCOME TO UTOPIA.

Before dawn I emerge above deck to find Steve Quinto at the ship’s wheel, where I left him last night. Steve is a rich American businessman. He once owned an international airline, pioneered low-cost travel across the United States. Steve believes the world I know is in the second phase of certain self-destruction.

[…]

Beyond those mountains is Steve’s utopia, an 800ha living ark that he has spent the past eight of his 79 years creating, investing his life’s fortune in the shipment of 300 tonnes of materials from around the world to the very edge of human existence. Paradise. Salvation. A new world for when the old one dies. He calls it Edenhope.

[…]

In coming months Ruth and Steve will ­disconnect themselves totally from the civilised world. “You have found us at an extraordinary moment in our lives,” Steve says. “As we make our transition.” Ruth has left behind houses and cars and furniture and expensive ornaments and jewellery.

The errant baby tomato beneath her feet is more precious to her than any of it. “The world of man proceeds on a suicidal journey,” she says. “We’ve turned all of life into a commodity. Everything has a price. Everything is for sale … and it finally became impossible for us. We couldn’t go on participating in it.”

There is, Steve estimates, room enough on the ark for 23 people to live comfortably. And Australians are welcome. Singles, couples, families, believers. All that’s required is a $300 one way ticket from Brisbane to Luganville and a commitment that means forever.

[…]

The turning track straightens to a clearing and there it is: the dream, Edenhope, a new world among the trees, a network of wooden bridges and paths and staircases weaving through manicured garden beds and rolling orchards with fruit trees in the hundreds and a kitchen hut and 10 octagonal bungalows made of high-end red hardwood timbers. The wondrous dreamscape includes wild blue flowers and bird of paradise plants and trees so big their root ­systems form houses of their own. There’s a communal library; a warehouse filled with ­endless tools and hardware; a surgery stocked with enough medicines to last two decades.

It’s a staggering work of human endeavour. Steve brought an earthmover and a front-end loader here from Canada. He rallied workers, paid and paid for their services for eight years; organised thousands of nine-hour sailing journeys back and forth between civilisation and sanctuary, hauling floors and sacks of concrete and machinery and miscellaneous goods in preparation for the apocalypse. He walks to a patch of dirt in the centre of his village. “It started here,” he says. “It was nothing but Ruth and I in two hammocks tied to trees.”