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Stewart Brand’s Optimism

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Stewart BrandStewart Brand, founder of the Long Now Foundation, looks to the future more than most. But unlike many futurists he sees better times ahead, based on the best available evidence. This interview from The European gives a good overview of his perspectives on topics ranging from nuclear power to population density.

On the topic of political violence in the modern world he observes:

“We like to think that we are living in a very violent time, that the future looks dark. But the data says that violence has declined every millennium, every century, every decade. The reduction in cruelty is just astounding. So we should not focus too much on the violence that has marked the twentieth century. The interesting question is how we can continue that trend of decreasing violence into the future. What options are open to us to make the world more peaceful? Those are data-based questions.”

(via Arts & Letters Daily)


Update – Brand’s ideas about the history of violence are based in part on the research findings of psychologist Steven Pinker, whose A History of Violence appears on


Written by Mesocosm

June 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Links

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