Information wants to be Free

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Full Title or Meme

A description of Information is caught in between the thesis of cost and antithesis of freedom. The synthesis is still a work in process.[1]


  • Stewart Brand famously said:[2]
On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.

Brand's conference remarks are transcribed in the Whole Earth Review (May 1985, p. 49) and a later form appears in his The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT:[3]

But Robert Frost describes the fencing in of property as a struggle in this poem "Mending Wall" The narrator, a New England farmer, contacts his neighbor in the spring to rebuild the stone wall between their two farms. The core question is aobut the purpose of a wall "where it is we do not need the wall". He notes twice in the poem that "something there is that doesn’t love a wall", but his neighbor replies twice with the proverb, "Good fences make good neighbors".<ref>Robert Frost, North of Boston</ref?


  • Information is the coin of the realm of the information age, but money is still the metric of wealth. That cannot continue forever.
  • The internet has grown up with the morality of the Wild West where a man could take what he wanted and do with it as he pleased.


  1. Johann Gottlieb Fichte described self-consciousness and self-awareness as well as Thesis, antithesis, synthesis
  2. Roger Clarke, Information Wants to be Free
  3. Stewart Brand The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT| publisher = Viking Penguin (1987) ISBN 0-14-009701-5 p. 202