23 February 2007

The Bay Area and the Reinvention of Self

I'm on business travel this week, here in Silicon Valley with a client. I grew up close to the Bay Area and lived in Santa Cruz for awhile. I met my wife (a Canadian on vacation at the time) in Los Gatos and our first date consisted of me trying to find the waterfront in San Francisco (to this day I remain directionally challenged).

In my mind, there is a relationship between the beginnings of the free speech movement at Berkeley and the hippies in Haight Ashbury during the 1960s and the Esalen Institute and EST seminars through the 1970s and 1980s and the tech boom here in Silicon Valley in the 1990s.

I don't know if there is another place on the planet where people are so full of possibility - whether it be the possibility of reinventing themselves by a change in thinking ("excuse me while I slip into a more comfortable paradigm") or body ("I'm feeling bored, Barbara. I think I'll ran an ultramarathon this weekend out to Yosemite."), or starting a business with which they expect to change the world and become rich.

Of course, what else would one expect from a state that was largely defined by a Doctor Marsh in LA who was not actually a doctor and a Captain Sutter in Sacramento who was not actually a Captain? Americans who reach the end of the continent have no where left to go but where their imaginations will take them. California is the land of invention - technological, social, and personal.


Cody McKibben said...

I loved your post Ron! Here's my thoughts on it.

Ron Davison said...

Thanks for your kind words, Cody. I quite enjoyed your post (and enjoy your blog). I think that we're coming from the same place - literally. I lived in Yuba City until I was about 14 - very close to Sacramento where you lived (live?). The Bay Area has always fascinated me.