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RUSHKOFF: The internalized parent, the filter, the part of us that says, "oh, wait a minute, maybe you really shouldn't do that." When I was younger, I thought the superego was a restrictive force, amplified by those who sought control us — our churches, our bosses, our schools, those who want to keep us in a state of fear and shame. Timothy Leary saw things this way.

JB: You talk about forces trying to control us; in the same breath you use words like "fun", and "renaissance." Do you see a need to change things, or is everything just great the way it is?

RUSHKOFF: Until about three years ago, I thought that we should just let 'er rip. Let technology develop at its own pace and in its own way. I thought that this rapid acceleration of culture would allow us to achieve the kind of turbulence necessary to initiate a dynamical system. And I saw everyone who called for us to put on the brakes, or to put new governors on the development of culture, as the enemy to our evolution forward. Their vigilance would prevent us from reaching the next level of complexity.

I was buying the Wired line of techno-utopianism. I would read stuff by John Barlow and Terrence McKenna and think, let's just evolve. But something kept nagging at me. Maybe it's because I am Jewish. I couldn't help thinking that when you eliminate fear and simply follow your bliss, you don't always get the best results. In the worst case, it can even be a recipe for fascism. Over the past few years we just let the Internet go, and we've got an electronic strip mall as a result. We thought government was the enemy, and kept them out of our network. That's what gave market forces free reign.

I started to explore whether there might be something in-between reckless, unbridled enthusiasm and being a Marxist Jewish mother about things. There is a way to foster growth, new thought, cultural innovation, and even markets without getting absolutely carried away and losing all sense of purpose.

JB: Let's talk about your writing.