Someone Else’s Acid Trip (Ep. 193)
At first glance, Kevin Kelly is a contradiction: a self-described old hippie and onetime editor of hippiedom’s do-it-yourself bible, The Whole Earth Catalog, who went on to co-found Wired magazine, a beacon of the digital age.
In our latest edition of FREAK-quently Asked Questions, Kelly sits down with Stephen Dubner to explain himself; the episode is called “Someone Else’s Acid Trip.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)
Kelly argues that there is in fact little contradiction between his past and present. In fact, he says, the hippie origins of the personal computer represent one of the great untold stories of our times. “A lot of the earliest entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley … lived on communes and learned some small business skills, making candles or macramé, or whatever,” he says. “They were trying to augment human cognition, not trying to make a new industry.”
Kelly believes he may have been the first person ever to be hired online when Whole Earth took him on in 1983. He was a blogger long before that term entered the English language.
Today, at 62, with his gray Lincoln-esque beard, Kelly still looks more Amish farmer than state-of-the-art. Nonetheless, he spends much of his time pondering (and writing about) the intersection of technology and modern life.
In this episode, Kelly talks about his big, cool book Cool Tools (and the companion blog), a catalog of everything from a garden fork to the Longform iPhone app; his biggest indulgence: a personal two-story library a mile from the Pacific Ocean; oh, and that one time — just once — that he dropped acid.
(You may also want to check out our previous edition of FREAK-Quently Asked Questions, in which London mayor Boris Johnson reveals all).