14 Things Everyone Needs From Government

Originally posted May 29, 2011

In The May 16, 2011 issue of The New Yorker (an especially fine issue even by that iconic publication’s standards), a Pakistani storekeeper doing business in the neighborhood where Osama had been hiding, says he doesn’t care about that particular struggle, or any other fight going on in the world. He doesn’t want weapons, he says, he wants “light, water, health and education”.

Most people everywhere would echo those words. A huge percentage of the history of the world being written every day, and a huge percent of the money spent each year, is tied up in competitions and power struggles going on over our heads. The people with power are shaping the lives we must live, and we appear to have zero control over that reality.

We the People

We live in a democracy, we like to think the world’s best, and certainly the world’s first in modern times (thinking of Athens in the Golden Age as USA-like in a very few respects). We vote – those who still feel it makes a difference or that we would be cowards not to try to make a positive difference. But that’s just it: more than half of us have given up voting, mostly because we are sure that there is nothing we can do that makes any difference whatsoever.

Robert A. Heinlein once mentioned a scale plotting the strength of an individual’s will (and so the probability of that individual’s survival) where the lowest point is named apathy. Giving up, believing that one has zero control, is the very definition of apathy.

Each of us has the potential to move the world. I have seen a little bit of this first hand, in a small microcosm of the Earth called the advertising business. I set out to change it and have already made some markups on it.

Moving an industry takes vast effort every day and is worth it. I recommend it to everyone. Just figure out what would make it better and cautiously make tentative suggestions for a few decades and see what happens.

If one person can change an industry, then with a little bit of gung ho cooperation among a bunch of people, it should be possible to change the world.

And now we’ve got the Internet. When I first started thinking about what were called “online services” in the late 60s, the word “democracy” just kept popping up in my head all the time. I saw webcams becoming a part of a new type of social television – something which I am sure will happen at some point in the sequencing of media revolutions still to come.

I hoped to be one of those bringing together positive thinking, socially aware advertisers as sponsors with similarly aware networks to create a new screen programming, totally interactive and melding Town Hall with Delphi techniques, to actually influence the thinking of politicians, and to provide a platform for bringing forth inventions and ideas from the entire citizenry to public attention at large.

I reasoned to myself that even just based on the people and ideas I knew were available, the programming would be entertaining and super informative and would garner a huge rating. People like Norman Cousins, Eric Sevareid, Walter Cronkite and Jimmy Carter, to name just a few, gave positive feedback to some of these ideas, and kept me charged to continue another step in the journey. And then another. I continue to this day, and hope you will join me in the co-creation of democracy social screen programming.

Taking a step back, there is another matter, another toolset we will need along the way. Taking some share of screen audience each day to play a game of running the world, and actually having impact, that’s one thing. But will it go far enough? What are the root causes of the ills we’re trying to cure?

They come back to the need for evolution of the minds of the people at the top. Those who are having the biggest effect on history. They are still getting into wars like the petty kings and dukes of yesteryear. They have not mentally, emotionally, and spiritually evolved far enough to rise above the emotions within that cause them to get us into wars.

So whatever kind of Television/Internet (I have been calling it “screen” to cover all screen media – yes, even cinema) we create, no matter how many great ideas we bring to light, the people who control our lives will only move inches and not miles per year as a result, unless we can get into their heads and make the necessary adjustments. And before we can say this justifiably, we have to get into our own heads and make sure of our own motivations.

If we act out of pride and self-aggrandizement, we are right there with them. Only by taking the long view and the big view – that we are grateful to the Universe for having us, and we want to give back in that spirit by taking care of as much of the world as we can nurture – only by being ourselves nobly motivated can we help make the shift at the top.

This is what I call psychotechnology. It is the subject of my books and videos, which are designed to get the reader/viewer to objectively look inside and consider certain adjustments to get into a higher, more effective state of consciousness.

With psychotechnology and new media we can change the world for the better. It will not be easy nor quick. But it would be cowardly and apathetic to shy away from the task. Let’s do it together.

Impressed by the words of the Pakistani shopkeeper, I made a straw man list of 14 things we should expect from our government. I started where he started and added the rest by stream of consciousness. What you see below is how it came out, not in any systematic order yet.

Of course safety (protection) is on the list, and people who know me know of my great respect for our military. I am not against defense when I write about the need to wind down on wars. I have given many workshops to the military over the years and have met great-hearted and super intelligent people there. People who glom onto psychotechnology without a moment’s hesitation.

I didn’t put protection on the top of the list because, if we do our job right, within a century the world will be run by highly evolved human beings and the need for protection will gradually move down the list. So it came out near the bottom because I was thinking of the future ideal state – the one our children’s children’s children will inherit. Alas it cannot be removed from the top of the list yet – a sad statement about the leadership of the world in general.

That is not a blanket statement about all of the world’s leaders. I think we have some of the smartest – yet they need to look inside to better resolve their emotions into more Solomon-like action reflecting true wisdom.

The following list, being a pro forma, contains items some of which really fall into the bucket of another item on the list – “A Good Economy” would give us many of the others. But for the people who have not, it is worth spelling out even if duplicative.

The list in itself is something we can refine over the next hundred years. Meanwhile let’s get to work on building the screen superhighway through which democracy will flow healing ideas into the minds of those at the control switches.


  1. We need Light
  2. Water (clean, please, including oceans)
  3. Health
  4. Education
  5. Clean Air
  6. A Good Economy
  7. Jobs
  8. Fair Pay
  9. Fair Costs of Living
  10. Safety (protection)
  11. Facilitation of Individual Development (I would put this one on top)
  12. Freedom
  13. Democracy (sharing of control)
  14. Equality

Best to all,


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Originally posted 2011-05-29 06:56:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Old Wounds Can Eventually Heal

Volume 4, Issue 25. Originally published September 4, 2014

Young Bill on stage with his dad Ned and mom Sandy in wingsThe year was 1954. My parents, whom I called Pop and Sandy at that time (later Ned was renamed “The Chief” by a Native American horn player in his band and I then switched from Pop), took me out to dinner in Manhattan, which I loved. (We lived in Brooklyn.) Gallaghe’s Steakhouse or perhaps it was Joe Marsh’s Candlelight Clurb, which isn’t there anymore. I had a steak. We had a terrific time. I was in a warm glow by the end of dinner when they revealed to me their secret purpose for me that night.

Joel Grey’s “Star Time Kids” was shot at the CBS studio around the corner and I was to be on live TV that night, in fact, right after dinner.

I went from cloud 9 to hell in one second flat. I couldn’t explain why the idea was out of the question, I was too upset to think clearly.

They had always gotten what they wanted out of me in terms of onstage performances. They inculcated in me from my earliest memories that I had been born in a trunk and there was no question of me not getting up there and doing whatever the act was at the time. I don’t remember ever putting up any resistance to it until the night in question, since resistance was futile. Nevertheless, suddenly I was in a situation where for reasons I could not even articulate to myself, this trouper was going to let the public down. “The show must go on” (years later my father said this with a choke in his voice, the night he went to the club the day Sandy died) but in my case the show would not go on.

They tried to compromise with me, first saying, “Okay, just sit in the peanut gallery and you won’t even have to say anything,” but I would not hear of it. The best they could do was to get me to peek in at the studio, hoping that I would relent at the last minute and show what a trouper I really was. But one look at the blinding battery of klieg lights was it. I had my fill, and we went home in a sad cloud.

Sandy tried to make us all feel better. She explained what had happened, saying, “Billy is a trouper. But he is a perfectionist and wants to prepare fully to give his best performance every time. This time we forgot that and thought it would be easier on him to not have him know about it until the last minute. It was our fault.”

Ned agreed she was right but it never made me feel any better. All my life, whenever I was having a bad moment for any reason, this was one of the regretful memories that I would beat myself up with once again.

Separately I wondered from time to time how my life might have been totally different if I had gone the other way that night.


One night I was dreaming that Lalita and I were at an advertising/media industry conference somewhere, not in NY. I would be speaking that night. We were meeting people before the conference. Yana, my editor (who puts in all these commas), would be joining us but was late as the conference was about to begin. At the last second she came running faster than I have ever seen her move, down the long empty corridor with a red face and a big smile.

The conference started and a gent got up and gave a tepid 5-minute opening remark. Then the MC — of all people, the late Ben Wallach, who had been the Athletic/Social Activities Director at the Hotel Brickman — called me to go on next.

In the dream I suddenly realized we had forgotten to bring the slides. I didn’t even know what the conference was about.

In previous dreams of this kind there was a hideous moment and then I would wake up.

This time was different. I realized I had no idea what I would say, but something in me felt perfectly willing to go up there and see what would come out of me. I started for the stage.

And then I woke up.

When I told the story to Lalita she said, “You woke yourself just in time to not have to experience making a fool of yourself.”

But it wasn’t like that at all. I woke up feeling exhilarated. I didn’t know exactly why at first. I knew I was pleased with myself for the total acceptance of the challenge that traditionally had been my Waterloo: being unprepared for public performance. I knew that the way I react in dreams is exactly what I would do in the future. I felt liberated, released.

Then it hit me: this was the erasure of the Star Time experience. Closure of that karma. Full circle. After a lifetime of disappointment in myself for how I’d handled that moment, I had redeemed myself. I am a trouper.

So what’s the point of my sharing this story? What do you, the reader, get out of it?

We all have deep wounds. Some are papered over by repression and some may be with us all the time. Whatever they are, if we take them out and look at them from time to time, and make it an active intention all our lives to become that which we hold as our own ideal self in real everyday life, inevitably in time — sometimes decades as in this case — we get there.

Best to all,


Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2014-09-04 12:05:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Role of Feelings in Decision Making

Originally posted July 14, 2015

Negative feelings not only bring us down, medical evidence shows they also weaken our immune system, making us more prone to disease, and they distract our cognitive concentration, thereby reducing our effectiveness.

Bad feelings can also serve a positive function — as an alarm system to quickly get us to pay attention to a problem. Ironically, if bad feelings continue unabated while we are grappling with a problem on a rational level, it will take longer to solve the problem because we are stuck in a cycle of negativity. Most of us have experienced this cycle.

Are you more driven by thoughts or feelings

Are we generally more driven by our feelings than by our thoughts?

Freud established that thoughts are more likely to be rationalized in support of feelings, rather than our being able to use our thoughts to control our feelings. And yet, how valuable it is to be able to do just that — to have the mental self-discipline to focus our thoughts effectively even when our feelings are in an uproar?

Feelings are urges that arise within us, within our minds and within our bodies. Feelings are experiences, states of consciousness resulting from our motivations, sentiments, preferences or desires. These terms all really mean the same thing: what we value, what we want, what we are trying to get, what we want to avoid.

Feelings are how we respond internally to outer and inner events, based on what we are trying to get and avoid, and how current events can help or threaten our desired outcomes.

We feel positive if current events appear to favor our targeted outcomes, and we feel negative if events seem to be heading away from what we want to have happen.

Positive feelings are valued universally. There’s no argument: we all like them, and would like to have more of them!

Generally speaking, feelings are also a manifestation of our motivations colliding with the external world. What would we feel if we had no motivations?

You can discover this by meditating. While there are many meditation techniques, all of them have a mind/gut mirror effect of showing us what our motivations really are, where they have gotten us, and why we have each of our experiences. Through practicing meditation we can achieve this objectivity, turning off certain motivations at least for the moment and seeing what that feels like. What visions of future possibilities arise now that X motivation is gone?

The perspective we gain through meditation can give us a unique vantage point on our feelings and our motivations. Meditation helps us consider deeply our own feelings and their consequences in the world. It also generates positive feelings, so it’s good for our overall health and well-being. Practicing meditation and becoming aware of the role our feelings and motivations play in our lives allows us to better understand the value of both in our decision making process.

My best to all,


Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers .

Originally posted 2015-07-14 10:41:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Ten Minutes in a Life

Originally posted December 20, 2012
Volume 2, Issue 36

He looked up from the gas pump to where a moment before he had an intimation she would be, and high in the sky was the moon behind a pale shimmer of cloud, one day past full. Down and to the left was an American flag. Trees were all around. He suddenly realized the time was pretty good now. There was nothing to be concerned about that he could feel at the moment, no time pressure, everything was going fine. Then it came to him that he always assumed there was something wrong, some unrightness he would constantly have to steer against. He was thrilled at having uncovered a bad lens he could discard.

A minute later, starting up the car, the lyrics of a song on the radio triggered a vision.“The dearest thing in all the world is waiting somewhere for me” (“Waiting Somewhere For Me” by Rodgers and Hammerstein). He saw a scene of indescribable beauty, something between a fractal and a huge mural, a panorama of infinite detail and intense color, the parts in constant unfolding and rotational movement everywhere. He couldn’t hold it all — it was overwhelming, filled with light, luminous, numinous. The words “Oh my God” began in his mind but all wording was pressed out by the overwhelming emotional wave enveloping him in awe, love, victory, beauty. His feelings united with the scene so that he was the scene, the beauty, the happiness, the realization that not “he” — now “it” — was past the need for words forever, past the possibility of unhappiness forever.

He contemplated the vision as he drove to catch his train. Several minutes later on the cold train platform he watched himself hurriedly extract a mint, his body still assuming time pressure, always assuming the need to get done an important job that had to be done at top speed because suffering would be relieved for more people faster that way. He knew this assumption was also a bad lens to be removed. More good would be done without that lens, too. And besides, in his day job he was not relieving suffering directly, more like paying for the time spent in nonprofit work.

That was the ten minutes.

An hour and forty minutes later in Manhattan he wondered if the shock — that is, the heightened sensitivity — he was feeling would incapacitate him. Being in Manhattan with its concomitant information pressure could pull him into some ineffective state of consciousness if his skills were not all available. He did not worry yet as he was merely curious about it at this point. Next he automatically told the cab driver where to go before he could miss a beat. The rest of the morning unfolded that way, with actions being taken in natural confidence. Soon he stopped being concerned that he might be in a degraded effectiveness state.

What was it that he had seen? It couldn’t be the whole of what the consciousness of the universe sees, since that perspective would include what was going on inside each of the parts he had seen from the outside. He had been seeing some abstraction of the whole of what there is to be seen, but he had seen people striving, other life forms striving, the very cosmos striving, its movement the necessary means to some end. The dimensions of error/evil had been visible as wrong turns taken out of synch with the rest of the whole, there were great movements in history explained by the turnings of the wheels inside the driving bio-mental Platonic Forms gearbox whose meshing appeared to be a higher reality underlying the explicate order visible to human eyes.

Would science classify this as an hallucination? It was a vision, its complexity and the intelligence of its designs far beyond the negative connotations of the word “hallucination”. Also it was not seen with the external eyes, so if it were a hallucination, it would have to be classified as an interior one. Is that what science thinks a vision is? Or did I actually see something real?

Perhaps cutting-edge science would say that ideas long evolving in my head combined intuitively by themselves to present me with a visual representation. If so, this is a testament to the power of our subconscious minds, and to the function we call intuition, when for ten seconds we find ourselves in Flow state.

Best to all,


Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers .

Originally posted 2012-12-20 13:48:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Hardest Game Worth Playing

Originally posted June 23, 2015

Happiness is the meaning of life

Staying happy in every moment is the hardest game worth playing. Maybe a million years from now, or even in a couple of hundred thousand years, it will not be so.

But we can’t wait.

We need to develop methods and tools to advance ourselves mentally and emotionally that far into the future, now. The actual survival of the human race may well be at stake, but more importantly, our own individual happiness — yours and mine, and that of the people we love and those around us — is at stake for sure.

Happiness cannot remain up the trail somewhere, an elusive thing we are working toward. That’s an outdated idea. It’s time for the new idea. Happiness now, in every moment. Now. And now. And now. Happiness all the time, internally controlled, internally generated, by an act of will. Infernally difficult but we cannot abandon this game, believing it’s just too difficult and out of our reach. Now is the time to face it — fight it — and win. And keep winning, because the game is not won once but continuously. That’s what makes it so hard.

As you go through your day, keep coming back to your birthright to be happy, right now, and use your focus, your will, and your creativity to bring about your happiness each moment. Let inner impulses float downstream if they are not conducive to your happiness in this moment. Allow such unhelpful thoughts and feelings to occur, and then watch them float away without holding onto them.

An impulse to be unhappy is one such feeling. The typical reaction is to get stuck in it. Instead, practice allowing that unhappy impulse to float away. Perhaps as it goes you might realize where it came from, or not. But you can choose not to listen to it, obey it, or be taken over by it. It was just a thought, you can let it go.

Take notes on stuff you let float away if you feel it is worth coming back to later, but let it go in the moment. This is remarkably conducive to Flow state. There is a perceptible drag on Flow state caused by looking backward at the supposed imperfections of what you did a moment ago. In martial arts, one is trained to not gloat or sulk over one’s own last (good or bad) move. It’s a good practice for all of us. Let go of everything downstream of this moment, now.

In some version of this universe, it’s natural to be happy doing whatever we are doing at the moment, or not doing anything but just being. By an act of will and focus we can indeed learn practices that allow us some degree of control over our mental and emotional state.*

Keep working at this most difficult and most vital game, become conscious of it, keep coming back to these practices.

Beyond our own individual lives, I feel we all have a duty to posterity to spread awareness of how consciousness works, and how to make it work better. We need to start using and teaching methods such as “float downstream” in the upbringing of our children, in school curricula at all levels, and in our workplaces. That’s our mission and this blog is one of our means to that end.

My best to all,


*Chemical imbalances at the root of e.g. clinical depression need to be treated properly, and we are not suggesting we can “think away” such imbalances.

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at MediaVillage.com. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-06-23 12:19:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are you balancing activity and stillness?

Originally posted June 16, 2015

If we are always pushing toward our goals, we are inadvertently setting ourselves back from reaching them.

There is a stage in the creative process in which it is wise to turn away from the challenge and do other things, for it is during this turned-away phase that the Aha! moment comes.

not creating may be essential to creativity

Certain batteries get recharged when we take ourselves temporarily off the wheel that is always driving us. This can happen when we are entertained — on our screen devices, reading, watching stage or other performances, spectator sports, vacations, making love, being with family and/or friends.

The subtlest batteries, however, only get recharged when we are alone with ourselves. This can take the form of sitting meditation but it doesn’t have to. We can be alone in nature, alone at home, alone on an airplane, anywhere. As long as we are not working down the TO DO list, there is a greater chance that we will slip into the Observer state (the precursor to Flow state) effortlessly.

To help bring on Observer state — a mindset in which you are able to simultaneously observe and analyze your emotional reactions to situations somewhat impassively — this works for me:

  • Look more closely at the place from which thoughts/feelings arise.
  • Don’t add to what you observe inwardly/outwardly, i.e. stop interpreting everything.

If we spend too much time doing, our conscious mind will block the functioning of our subconscious mind, and we’ll interfere with the stream of consciousness. If we spend too much time not doing, we will under-actualize our own goals. The movement associated with creative energy is a good thing, but stillness in body and mind is also valuable.

Balancing movement and stillness is optimal for maximizing effectiveness toward all our goals in life for love, creativity, and ultimately spiritual fullness, intuitively knowing and feeling connected with all beings and all things.

Strive to achieve the right balance between times spent doing versus time spent not doing.

L’chaim! (Hebrew toast “to life”)

Best to all,


Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at MediaVillage.com. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-06-16 14:04:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter