And good luck to us all with such giants departing.
His long-ago “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” proved to be a failed prophesy. But if it can’t make your heart sing even now, it’s possible you’ve misplaced your heart:
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.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions. …
That not your style? Then how about Barlow’s “25 Principles of Adult Behavior,” written in 1977 and released by him on his 60th birthday? WRSA has a lovely graphic presentation of those principles.
In addition to all that, Barlow was a down-to-earth Wyoming rancher. Great thinkers and great spirits like that don’t come along often enough. There’ve been some sad RIPs in the last few years, but few as mournful as this one.