A first-time author has little idea of what might become of his passionate but uncertain project. Accordingly, I am especially pleased and somewhat amazed to be writing this preface to a revised and updated edition of In the Mind's Eye. When I started this project, I really did not know where it would lead, but I did feel strongly that there was a story to be told and a point of view to be explained that were not being provided by others. It is a source of surprise and gratification that readers have responded to my story and perspective over recent years. According to one writer, most books, after a brief flurry of interest, "drop like a stone." I am pleased that In the Mind's Eye is still afloat and that Prometheus Books has continued to reprint it, although they confess to be a bit puzzled as to why this book should still be a steady seller. Indeed, I feel privileged to be in a position to have provided something that seems to be of special interest and value. However, I suspect that mainly I chanced upon a topic, or set of interrelated topics, whose time had come. As our technology, economy, and society are transformed at ever greater rates, while our institutions hold ever more tightly to outmoded ideas, perhaps it is time for some really fresh thinking--especially from a quarter where it might have been least expected. The old measurement scales do not quite fit, as many have long known, in spite of what they were told. And many have suffered for no good reason as a consequence.
Although we have called this an updated edition, remarkably few changes have been necessary in the main text. We have corrected the errors that inevitably turn up, but mostly I have found, to my surprise and delight, that the text does not date quickly. This doubtless shows the advantage of dealing with a lot of historical information via primary sources and discussing technical issues on a fairly high level. The details may change, but the main ideas and trends endure--if you are on the right