John Perry Barlow

800px john perry barlow  mill valley  california  usa  at home 17dec2010
is an American poet and essayist, a retired Wyoming cattle rancher, and a cyberlibertarian political activist who has been associated with both the Democratic and Republican parties

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JohnPerryBarlow273 karma

The jury's well out on the great man thing. On the other hand, I'm willing to accept it when someone calls me a good man. I've been working on that one quite consciously for a long time. And, outside of being a good ancestor, it's my primary ambition.

In fact, the night before I turned 30, I found myself so surprised to have reached an age of indisputable adult that I wrote up a set of "adult principles" that I've been trying to live up to for 35 years.

In fact, here they are:


1 Be patient. No matter what.

2 Don't badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn't say to him.

3 Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.

4 Expand your sense of the possible.

5 Don't trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.

6 Don't ask more of others than you can deliver yourself.

7 Tolerate ambiguity.

8 Laugh at yourself frequently.

9 Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.

10 Try not to forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.

11 Give up blood sports.

12 Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don't risk it frivolously.

13 Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)

14 Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.

15 Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.

16 Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.

17 Praise at least as often as you disparage.

18 Admit your errors freely and quickly.

19 Become less suspicious of joy.

20 Understand humility.

21 Remember that love forgives everything.

22 Foster dignity.

23 Live memorably.

24 Love yourself.

25 Endure.

JohnPerryBarlow230 karma

Well, folks... I've been at this for about two and a half hours. I hope you all found reason to support the cause I did this to support. But my fingers are starting to get all rubbery and my sentences unfilled with numerous missing words. I"m really grateful to all of you for coming. It felt cool to have you "here." I'd love to do this again sometime.

And now I'm off to attend the wake of a friend who hasn't died yet. He knows he's done for, and very soon, so he thought he get his friends together to say all the nice things we'd ordinarily say over his unappreciative coffin.

Truck on, y"all...

JohnPerryBarlow152 karma

Tough question. You can also donate to my more recent foundation, The Freedom of the Press Foundation which I co-founded with Dan Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, John Cusack, Xeni Jardin, and Trevor Timm and Rainey Reitman from EFF. We're funding WikiLeaks and other initiatives of its sort and trying to inspire new ones. Let a thousand leaks spring. Let so much be revealed that the government gives up on secrecy as a way of assuring power.

JohnPerryBarlow146 karma

Wow. That's almost 50 years worth of memories... There are a lot to choose from, but I'm pretty fond of the time we were playing the football stadium and the University of Colorado and one of those biblical Front Range thunderstorms popped over the ridge and walked toward us on legs of lightning. The stage and sound system had been designed by Bear to be a ""floating ground" so immediately there was St. Elmo's fire all over everything.

JohnPerryBarlow124 karma

Lightning struck all over around the stadium. Killed one fan. And the rain formed in this great canopy over the band. It was about to fall and crush everybody when I and another guy jumped up and started cutting holes in it. I got mine where the water could get to the ground, but one of his dumped onto the stage. Suddenly the stage had 2 inches of water on it and the band was still playing.

JohnPerryBarlow122 karma

THEN, somebody in cutoffs came onstage with a Skilsaw, knelt down in the water and started cutting holes in the stage while everyone around him jumped for cabinets. I don't know why he wasn't electrocuted. Or, for that matter, why the band, which went on playing, was electrocuted either.

JohnPerryBarlow94 karma

I'm actually guardedly optimistic that we will prevail in the long run. Gradually the institutions themselves will see the completely disproportionality of the threat and the responses.

JohnPerryBarlow76 karma

Depends on the weapon. He can, has, and always will beat the living shit out of me in the song-writing category. No contest. The only reason he hasn't driven me to commit ritual suicide is that I always knew that it would be a monoculture without other voices. And I don't like mono cultures.

On the other hand, if we were competing with handguns, it would be over quickly. I'm a very accurate shot with a S&W .357 Magnum.

JohnPerryBarlow58 karma

Actually, I got a phone call from Phiber Optik, who is now back to being Mark Abene. He now lives in San Jose, has one small child and another soon to arrive, a successful Infosec company and a life. It was so great to hear from him. We are very excited to get together again. Meanwhile, we're still fighting exactly the same war we were then. It's just a lot bigger and more complicated than it was in those halcyon day.

JohnPerryBarlow53 karma

Actually, I don't seem to be doing a great job of highlighting the causes I mean to promote here, all of which are extremely worthy and on the edge. Clear Path International helps the victims of wars that go on long after they're "over". Somebody gets his leg blown off every day by munitions that were buried in anger against against a cause that no longer exists.

MAG or the Mine Advisory Group does similar work, though they're still in the business of finding and neutralizing mines. I'm sure most of you know about.

And the Freedom of the Press Foundation is a really innocuous name for a very edgy organization that exists to fund WikiLeaks and do things like putting an audio clip of Bradley Manning's testimony online, despirte that we courted a contempt of court charge in doing so. We also funded a stenographer for his trial since the government refused to provide them. In addition, two of us, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras are at the very center of distributing Edward Snowden's revelations about the Surveillance State. All these outfits deserve your support.