“Someone once called me ‘just a dreamer,’” Engelbart recalled. “That offended me, the ‘just’ part; being a real dreamer is hard work. It really gets hard when you start believing in your dreams.”
Engelbart’s curiosity and inventiveness flourished in a childhood surrounded by Nature with freedom to experiment and explore. Later, as a WWII veteran and young engineer, Engelbart wasn’t interested in solving simple problems with simple solutions. He dreamed of a better way.
“Every problem facing humanity on a global scale is complex, and so, the solutions to those problems are also complex. Solutions themselves often bring on new unforeseen problems,” he hypothesized. “Models for problem-solving do not address the needed complexity. The solutions are too big for any one individual or any one discipline.”
Engelbart created a multidisciplinary philosophical framework––integrating social-cultural strategies with new technology to create a way to portray information. The goal was to include, view, and aggregate as much information as possible in order to enable humans to act strategically to solve global, complex problems.
In the following sections, Engelbart describes his early years.