Monthly Archives: October 2011

America, the New World

The name America is widely believed to derive from Amerigo (Americus in Latin) Vespucci, a contemporary and eventual friend of Christopher Columbus who not only explored unknown regions of the “New World” but who also invented a system of computing exact longitude and arrived at a figure computing the earth’s equational circumference only fifty miles short of the correct measurement. Quite a feat in the early 16th century!

While no one knows for sure where it came from, the first documented use of the name America was in 1507, when Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the new continent America after Vespucci’s first name, Amerigo. More on this fascinating story can be found here: http://www.uhmc.sunysb.edu/surgery/america.html.

Tracing the etymology of Americus, I found the Middle English “yreke”, where its context was something like “as if to rake up the dying embers and thereby release a flame.”

The USA spiritually reawakened the freedoms of belief, speech and assembly associated with higher philosophical/ethical aspirations, among other things. For when people get together and converse openly, wisdom evolves, self-awareness develops, and there is potentially more time spent in the states of Observer and Flow.

We raked up the dying embers of idealism and released the flame in American hearts. While we have no exclusive lock on that product category, America’s purpose was and is to be the house on the hill — the moral high ground. We are the heroes, the good guys in this movie.

Today, having overspent for decades, it is finally catching up with us. Remember all the good times we had? Weren’t they all great? Weren’t they all worth it?

What is “it”? Why, it’s the current comeuppance of suddenly discovering that credit card bills have been piling up in some mailbox we forget we had and now we owe 55 trillion dollars and the number is growing every second.

We are not looking very heroic right at the moment as we use TV and all other media to keep up on how our leaders are solving this crisis.

Most of our leaders and other officials we see head-shots of in the media seem to be yelling at each other and jockeying for position in such a blatant way as to intentionally send the signal to the people that they better get used to it. There is no accountability, it’s all too complex for us so if you were to revolt you would find yourselves back where you are now with nothing more than tragedy as your gain.

The candidates who seem to be different from that norm are the true heroes and many of us vote for such folks whenever we see them. We need to be more informed to vote better, studying more about the lesser players who need our votes too. This will do some good in the long term but will not help with the current economic crisis.

This is a world-wide interconnected economic crisis different from any before, although we like to classify it into the familiar pigeonhole of recessions and The Great Depression. In fairness there are similarities and there are differences.

The important difference this time is in the forecasting of the next 20 years.

Government forecasts have turned out to be too bullish all too often. Happens as frequently there as in business. People make assumptions about how hard they are going to work, how effective they are going to be, how well everyone else is going to help them, etc. After all, what is the alternative? If you put out a realistic (negative) forecast sometimes you lose the investors entirely, or get replaced by other people.

The realistic forecast going forward is that we are going to pull a rabbit out of a hat and get out of relative restriction on our capabilities including enjoyment (that is what economic cutback equates to) in less than 20 years. That is the challenge. That is the game.

If we are in Flow half the time the chances are we could do it in 5 years. Just a SWAG.*

We have to start considering entirely new ideas because we have made the dead horse floggingly unrecognizable on the stale ideas we constantly go try to resuscitate.

Totally new ideas.

If not now, when?

Minds must be opened. Zero-based thinking.**

Examples below are just to prime the pump. Maybe some of what follows could be refined into workability, but my point is to get everyone pitching in with new ideas to get out of the economic hammerlock in the shortest time and with least suffering.

Scenario A: Government creates an innovative plan and assembles the richest people in the USA. Presents its plan. How they benefit. How the people benefit. Reminding them of Thomas Jefferson’s belief in enlightened self-interest. Yes, the richest people bail out the USA. What they get out of it is more than just a fair return — the psychic diet from their citizenry brethren turns from nearly homicidal to respect and nearly awe — because they handle it with grace and turn back a percent of their gain, to the people. Possibly in the form of grants/investments on a Digitally efficient basis (i.e. Internet-based process like Facebook with spreadsheets) to vetted people below the poverty line who have entrepreneurial ventures in mind.

Scenario B: Government creates an innovative plan and assembles the leaders of all of the nations of the Western Hemisphere. Presents its plan. How they benefit. How the people benefit. The neighbor countries and the richest people in them bail out the USA. What they get out of it is more than a fair return — their countries get the highest technology not only today but forever, and their economies and quality of life are destined to shoot up. The individual robber barons do not lose their seat if they and their people can establish fond relations. In a few cases, Cuba for example, they might decide to go their own way and not be part of a new sovereign meta-nation called either THE UNITED STATES OF THE AMERICAS or THE UNITED NATIONS OF THE AMERICAS or simply AMERICA.

It might become known colloquially as The New World for a time in the press until the term is over-used.

The name America was after all, first applied to mean the entire landmass with surrounding archipelagos — which in this scenario becomes a single nation — and was on the first map to include the name America, actually specifically applied to what is now Brazil.

The Naming of America

From http://www.uhmc.sunysb.edu/surgery/america.html#vesp-map

Imagine the complementarity of all of the Western Hemisphere united. The economies of every nation in the world would benefit.

The leading question of the New Founding Fathers would be, “Now that we are back into manufacturing, how do we optimize this driver?” Roboticizing plants south of the previous border will be one obvious part of that future choice.

Good companies in other countries will be provided favorable terms to invest in new plants and offices in the new America.

There will be a billion citizens in the new nation.

What a market to sell to! The New China.

Pan-Western Hemisphere networks such as CNN will be the first beneficiary of The New National way of looking at media advertising. The beverage companies will probably be the first to make buys across the Americas with a single deal. Everyone else will follow. Other networks hasten to catch up.

What buying power in terms of taste for foreign goods, and what self-reliance on everything from oil to metals of all kinds. We will be winding down use of oil anyway, in a specifically staged wind-down with tax breaks given to whoever can help it along.

Of course the new meta-nation still has debt. Not just the USA, whose ratio of external debt to gross domestic product (GDP) is 99.9%. Canada’s is 71%, while Mexico’s is only 23% and Brazil’s is only 19%.

The US debt share to the average citizen in the US today is $47,559 and rising every minute. Diluted by far lower debts per citizen in the rest of the “New World”, the average US citizen share after the merger will be probably half or lower.

But those are abstract concepts anyway. What really counts is getting people back to work, and the excitement of new opportunities for business and trade suddenly abounding as there are fellow citizens you never had before who want stuff you have, and you want what they have, and the rest is details to be worked out.

When companies cannot grow by internal revenue growth and increased efficiency, they grow by merger and acquisition. Perhaps there is a lesson in that for nations too. Mergers where all parties are in favor of the merger — in sharp contrast to Imperialism.

These are but the first two crazy ideas. I have more crazy ideas as to how to bail out the US debt.

Scenario C: Individual productivity bails out the US debt. The US government goes on an efficiency tack in all departments and nooks and crannies. Instead of cutting jobs people are able to accomplish much more. New business management processes ensure this is not wheel spinning but instead benefits the people. The efficiency is so great and the desire to not let people go provides opportunities to move people out of cubicles into “the field” where they can become case workers to help other people hands-on — teaching them marketable skills such as computer capabilities even including software development. People go back to work and the jobs problem goes back into the yellow zone again.

Scenario D: Crime bails out the US debt. Just by decriminalizing opiates (a small fraction of the total market for criminal drugs, gambling and prostitution) $65 billion could be diverted out of the underground economy and this would choke off “The Taliban’s principal and most lucrative source of income in Afghanistan [is its control of the opium trade].” By decriminalizing all “victimless” crimes (drugs, gambling and prostitution) — we would exclude gambling involving animal violence or human violence (beyond pugilism and martial arts, etc.) — the total savings that would accrue for other uses in The New World could be significant.

This scenario could essentially bring our economies back to life much faster than in the current “wait it out” scenario, which is the path we are now walking until somebody has a better idea. It could be you: explore your mind and see what you find. Happy to publish your ideas here unless they are too crazy even by my standards, which would be going pretty far. All ideas contain some seeds of positive possibility, even the terrible ideas we have played with in history — we went there because we saw the germ of good in them but didn’t realize the downside fallouts. The same could apply — must apply to some degree — to all ideas including my scenarios above, which are intended as illustrations more than proposals. Illustrations of how we must take off the shackles and blinders and let ourselves envision many options that otherwise will never be considered.

Let’s step forth and be the ones who start the new positive constructive spirit with open minds and all-inclusive hearts.

Some might see it as a new spirit. Some might recognize it as the original American spirit. It might be the spirit that existed before time.

The spirit that steps out in the direction of the ideal with the intention and conviction of success.

That spirit is in all of us.

Let’s tap it.

Now would be a good time.

Best to all,

Bill

 

* SWAG = Scientific Wild Ass Guess

** Like zero-based media planning, meaning you ignore what you did last year.

Source: “Warlord, Inc. Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan,” Report of the Majority Staff, Rep. John F. Tierney, Chair, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives (Washington, DC: June 2010), p. 39. [http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/38]

Make the Best Use of your Fine Brain

Even Bill Gates could not afford to buy this supercomputer. That is, if we could make one. The more science discovers what our brain can do, the more respect one has to have for the “random forces” that supposedly “collided” to make this brain.

On the other hand, those forces might not have been random, and may have been far smarter even than this fine brain you and I have.

As the ancient texts of India, all religions and esoteric schools, Jung and many others have postulated, we all appear to be connected somehow. Perhaps where we are all connected is the sum of everything, itself a brain made out of energy, manifesting to our senses as a three-dimensional material universe. But perhaps if our senses were cleansed of cultural conditioning, they might be as remarkable as our brain is, in the more complete universe they might then show us.

Although our cultural perceptual filters keep us from noticing, our fine brain gives us foreknowledge of certain events. Recently replicated experiments have shown that samples of college students, and occasionally other/broader population samples, can guess what the next image on a screen is going to be, even though that image is randomly generated. In other words, nobody can know in advance what that next image is going to be, not even the computer which is selecting the image, were that computer self-aware, even it wouldn’t be able to know which image is going to pop up next.

Typically a choice of perhaps five classes of images is offered, and the subject has the task of guessing which of the five categories the image is going to be in. If the guesses were entirely random, studies like this would show that the average subject is right 20% of the time, in the six-figure sample sizes now cumulated for this kind of research. Instead of 20% right guesses the average is 21-22% in the typical study, and with certain population segments such as meditators and monks the levels go higher.

Read Dean Radin’s The Conscious Universe (yes he came up with the same phrase as I use in The Theory of The Conscious Universe) for science’s current tallies of sample sizes, numbers of studies, and exact odds against the results being a result of chance, for the main classes of ESPtelepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and telekinesis. In short, the evidence is in and the odds of these phenomena being explainable by chance is in the millions to one and sometimes higher. Major universities are involved in this research, as well as the military.

You too have these powers. But you probably ignore them all too often, goofing when you knew an instant ahead not to do a certain thing but ignored the hunch, and thus goofed.

Meditation, contemplation, and any other form of focusing the mind appear to be associated with success rates across the studies higher than the 21-22% average.

Some of the techniques in my book are gamelike. For example, here are some ways to enjoyably get the highest performance out of your fine brain, not only in terms of getting a lot more out of your intuition as we have just been discussing, but in every area of your functioning — intuition, intellect, feeling and perception (Jung).

It’s Always a Good Time for a Mind Cleanse

When you have nothing else to do, enjoy an interesting mind cleanse.

Give your self a report (I know “yourself” is one word, but you look at it differently when it’s two words.) How are you feeling? Everything great? Any complaints? Good. The fun is in the complaints. That’s where it’s interesting, and we can use the fine brain for its supreme problem-solving prowess.

Start to enjoy the way you no longer waste time on your supercomputer. You appreciate the great feats of which it’s capable therefore you wouldn’t think to burn minutes of its time in simple whining, playing old tapes, running on unconscious autopilot rather than the conscious Flow state kind, or whatever else diminishes the functioning of your fine brain.

It aids the focus to have paper and pen/cil, feeling free to draw or write whatever one feels like without having to make it neat or to conform to any rules whatsoever.

Sometimes you see your self drawing schematic diagrams with arrows and circles to depict some phenomenon that you would rather not have in your life. Let your self go, knock your self out — you will definitely learn something practical out of contemplating whatever is going down on paper or just flowing through your head. Pay close attention as if you were a detective studying someone else, not your self, someone you had never seen before — look with new eyes, willing to strip away all the old rhetoric about your self and opening your mind to reconsider everything — no buttons locked down on the keyboard.

Another thing that will happen is that you will start making a list. This is when there are so many things going round and round in your head they just are dying to leap through the ink onto the paper, so you let them. You may see a mix of relationship challenges and shopping lists. That’s okay, all of them have some level of importance in cleansing your mind. Just when they stop flowing freely for a minute, put priority numbers next to them and eventually you will have it as a list in your computer that will be in priority order, and probably in categories to keep the shopping lists out of the life changing hypotheses.

Go into it with the conviction that there are always solutions — even if you are acting to some degree, do it experimentally to see what the true results are in your case. Your fine brain got you into this, it can get you out of it.

On the other hand, also leave open the possibility that this thing you are trying to get to stop happening in your life, make believe for a few minutes that you could get to like it if you looked at it differently and performed differently when it is happening, and that it might be happening for a good reason — perhaps you even caused it by something that you wanted.

Look at the situation from as many points of view as possible, keeping an open mind.

Recognize your own powers without exaggerating them. How can you use whatever control you do have over the situation to gently nudge it a step at a time into the comfortable sustainable zone?

You don’t have to solve every challenge in one sitting. Just keep creatively attacking your list with strong intention and solution orientation every day — glance at yesterday’s list and then put it out of your mind. Go do something else until you feel a flow of ideas and then if possible get writing implements and seal your self off from any possible interruption to the extent that you can do so even for a very short time — take a biobreak if necessary to escape from the world for a few minutes.

Today’s flow of ideas might or might not have anything to do with yesterday’s list. If you find your self impatient for instant dramatic solutions, add that subject to the list. The highest part of you knows intuitively that dramatic sudden improvements are rare, and that some lower part of you is being childish. The goal is to move your center to the highest part of you at all times.

Let’s take the happy assumption that you, my special friends to whom I send this weekly missive, already know all this and therefore you don’t have anything to complain about. These same mind techniques apply to you too, because you have a purpose in life, currently expressed as a job (or sideline), in which these techniques of focusing make you more effective and give you more pleasure while you creatively make a success out of your business/profession, volunteer work, parenting, lovegiving, caregiving work, or other life activity.

In that sphere, the same sense of solution orientation applies just as strongly. Most companies and the people in them, and most other teams as well, spend too much time in problem definition, which is not as much fun as shifting more time to solving the problems (which is of course also more productive). Solving problems is fun. When they are not your own problems it is even more fun.

I was a consultant for many years. It was tremendously enjoyable. Always being creative about someone else’s problems — and even getting paid for it! It’s even more enjoyable now that I am focused on a single day job. However you do it, solving problems is fun. Because of Acceleritis, we often have to remember to enjoy it. We get sucked into “our problems” like a horror movie, as if morbidly fascinated, and then hypnotized into taking it all too seriously, getting too attached to certain outcomes, generating that unhealthy and torturous thing called negative emotions.

As a consultant and in whatever position you’re in professionally, your fine brain yields the best results if you “think about the client’s whole business, not just the one department he/she wants your help on.” Broaden your perspective as much as possible while focusing all of your attention on it. As you get better at this, singlepointedness comes easily and naturally to you, words in the mind come infrequently and this speeds up the flow of ideas as you see in your mind’s eye fleeting images that race by and change much faster than you could explain the logic to your self by use of words in the mind.

It’s in this wordless observer state that you’re likely to experiences periods of Flow state. In these higher states that Accelertitis suppresses, hunches are far easier to pay attention to, because the Acceleritis-driven words in the mind no longer distract attention from the subtle and often fleeting appearance of a hunch in the mind. I use the word “fleeting” repeatedly here because it is a genuine characteristic of the phenomenon. Hunches and Flow state ideas both come at speeds that in any other state you would have an impossible time keeping up with. This suggests they are probably always there — even in EOP — except they are drowned out from attention by being too subtle for the grosser state you are in when in EOP.

Another key point of these techniques is prioritization, mentioned briefly above and deserving of more emphasis. You cannot be singlepointed if you are distracted knowing you might not be working your fine brain on the optimal thing at the moment. So always know the optimal sequence based on how much of a positive difference you can make in the world at any given point in time. You might be seen as a person who takes a lot of bio breaks, but there are worse things. :-)  

Best to all,

Bill

Science Has Accepted Consciousness

We live at an exciting turning point in history. The first great turn has already occurred. Quantum Mechanics, the most successful theory in the history of science, has put the observer back into the picture of the universe collectively known as science.

Einstein started it with relativity theory, but Quantum Mechanics (QM) has institutionalized it.

At the moment, all this has really done is to cause a number of prominent physicists, the world’s most respected, to characterize the universe as consisting of not matter and energy but information (John Wheeler), thought (James Jeans), idea (Werner Heisenberg), and mind (Robert Wald). Gerald Schroeder, in his excellent book God According To God, provides a unique exegesis of the Bible to show that the ancients were on this same wavelength but lacked modern verbal thought tools.

Jeans expresses exactly what I have extrapolated further in the Theory of the Conscious Universe — a theory I have begun to excerpt in this blog since earlier this year — when he says “each individual consciousness ought to be compared to a brain-cell in a universal mind.”

So far this early trend has not fully played out through the scientific community, which continues to work in the same Acceleritis-infected, therefore fear-driven culture as you and I, dear reader. Individual scientists fear ridicule and loss of job opportunity just like the rest of us — except when individuals flash through the higher states of consciousness (observer state, Flow state) that quarantine the Acceleritis infection. In these higher states the high-end long tail of physicists such as Wheeler et al. emerge from the dark mental cloud and see the connections in all the bits swirling through their minds. They are able to bring back wisdom from those states and enlighten the rest of humanity by common language verbalization of what must be the truth based on all the evidence available to physicists today.

Just the other day the latest Nobel Prize-winning physicists Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Reiss won that prize by discovering that the universe expansion is accelerating as a result of dark matter further out attracting it from all directions. This overturns the widely held theory that the universe would reach a point where the Big Bang driven expansion would be tethered by gravity and would then fall back to an eventual Big Crunch, perhaps triggering another Big Bang.

An infinitely expanding universe is quite consistent with the modern Big Idea that “consciousness is fundamental” (Jeans). Also, just what is that “dark matter” that apparently constitutes 95% of the mass/gravity of the universe? Is it really matter at all or something else that has mass and therefore gravity? The previous concept of an expanding-contracting universe is closer to a mechanistic thermodynamic gas balloon model. We shall see where this all goes.

Physics continues to blow its own mind on a regular basis.

While this is going on, there is a culture around this physics cadre that continues to act as if the universe is purely materialistic, a picture that is decades if not a century behind the front edge of science.

The accelerating flood of distractive information around us each day also continues, creating forever-unanswered questions in our minds. The latest stat from Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner is that “the data equivalent to the total volume of information created from the beginning of human civilization until 2003 can now be generated in the space of just two days.” This Acceleritis condition is a strong shaper of the way our minds operate. Unless we employ psychic shielding techniques, such as in my book, it carries us along in a reactive state, not autonomous but believing that we are.

The state we are in leaves us very vulnerable when we lose a loved one.

In our gut we have a strong assumption that we shall never be in contact with these individuals again. Anything else seems beyond naïve and foolish. We are lacerated with pain, from which some of us never recover.

The last 15 years of my father’s life gave me an opportunity to get to know him in ways that I treasure. Before that I was a child and in awe of him. He was a celebrity in the world of New York showbiz and to other celebs known worldwide, whom I met in brief bright moments in the photo album of my life.

My first word that he had died was over the phone from the stage manager at the Concord where Ned (my father) was the orchestra leader, MC, and exec in charge of both bands. I was in a phone booth in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm.

I trudged back to the car with a desolate feeling about my own life. It was going to be flat and empty, of no value, going through the motions. “Why did it have to be now?” I heard myself ask him, “I wanted you and Sandy to see me make it.” Sandy was my mother, who had passed away years earlier. I had just returned to New York after living in California for two years and was at a trough in my career.

“Sandy and I can see you fine from up here. We’ll be waiting in the wings when you get off.”  I heard his voice — it was his voice — clearly say this in my mind. My mind flashed to a picture of Ned and me performing together onstage, with Sandy just barely visible in the wings stage left. While I was still stunned he said “Take care of Nat.”  Nat was his brother, who has more recently passed away. This surprised me, came out of nowhere — my mind flashed to other people he had not said to take care of. Then I thought perhaps he figured they could take care of themselves.

My mind has gone back to this and other strange incidents in my life which do not fit in a materialistic universe. This was the impetus for the Theory of the Conscious Universe, in which I attempt to fit together all of the evidence, the licit and heretofore illicit, the common experiences we all share, and the cutting edge of physics. The theory will be published as a book.

At Ned’s funeral I was asked to say a few words to the hard-bitten, cynical showbiz crowd. Most of them had not seen me since I was a child and therefore all of them called me Billy. Ned, Sandy and Billy were our names all through my childhood until people started to call Ned “Chief”.

“We come into this life, we know not from where,” I said. “Where we go when we leave, in fact, nobody really knows. We assume it’s all over.” I told them what the Chief had said in my mind, and then offered this explanation: “Science says that nothing in the universe can either be created or destroyed, it can only be changed into something else, some other form. Matter and energy are both conserved. If Nature considers both matter and energy important enough to conserve, why wouldn’t Nature also conserve consciousness, which has to be much more important than mere matter and energy?”

Standing by the grave, Morty Gunty — a comedian well-known within the community and whom had been given his chance by Ned, as so many performers had — edged closer and said to me, “You know your remarks… were really great.” In the manner of saying that he liked my act, which is not a bad thing, since it’s all showbiz.

Our own consciousness can change. We can change our acts. We can be in control of our minds and our emotions without becoming heartless unfeeling creatures. We can open our minds to the possibility that our consciousness in some form will be conserved. Just be open to that possibility. Don’t believe anything you can’t prove experientially. This includes not believing in permanent death, since it has never been proven either. Keep an open mind.

Aside from the heartbreak and depression emanating from loss of loved ones, there is another reason to keep an open mind about death.

We ourselves lead lives that can slip into a form of craven fear. It is a mood brought about by the belief in the unproven superstition that death is permanent — it may or may not be. There is no evidence either way. Zero evidence. Zero.

Add Acceleritis to the belief in death and you have a cocktail of mind poisons guaranteed to impel you into a life of hidden background fear at all times. Money worries are just an extension of that insecurity about security. All worries and concerns about reputation, image, standing in your community, not taking chances, not just letting yourself have fun, not saying what’s in your heart spontaneously but putting up the proper façade — all of that has death belief at its core.

What’s important is enjoying every moment, now. When you look back in the end — whether it’s a permanent end or a temporary one — it will be the enjoyment moments you’ll count up as what you got out of this life. Enjoy all of them then. Enjoy the getting to wherever you’re going.

I predict that someday science will empirically prove that consciousness is conserved. Just like matter and energy. Why wouldn’t it be, if it is the fundamental stuff of which matter and energy are built, as stated by the great physicists of our time? When that day comes, if not before, we can all shed our death belief and get on with living life to its fullest.

Best to all,

Bill

Tom Paine, Viral Marketing Pioneer

Pamphlets from hand to hand were a mainspring of the American Revolution.

Who was Thomas Paine, the writer of Common Sense, a single pamphlet that changed the world, and The American Crisis, a series of pamphlets that widened his reach and influence still further?

He was also involved in the French Revolution. A serial revolutionary.

Using clear common language to reach the common man and woman. Using shortform media with pass-along capability. The act of passing was endorsement from a disinterested party: the most powerful form of advertising and/or propaganda and/or idea promulgation.

We consider our own media to be far ahead and yet no one has really used Digital to change the world for the better as profoundly as Tom Paine did, working with the other Founders. Perhaps there’s a clue.

Inspired by Paine, June 10, 1975 (back in the days when I was Wild Bill) found me in the back of a station wagon en route to Washington DC on a self-assigned mission to employ the Paine methodology within the highest ranks of our own government. In the car was a box of reports called “A Plan for America: Report to the President and Domestic Council”. The report’s author was listed as the Human Effectiveness Institute (then called something else).

No one had ever asked us to deliver such a report. (Hence, Wild Bill.)

Our plan was to pretend to be delivering a report that had to be distributed at the beginning of the meeting of the Domestic Council, which the news had reported would be convening that day in the White House to deep dive into domestic problems existing then (similar to the ones existing now) — budget problems, jobs, inflation.

In the back of the station wagon I sensed the spirit of Tom Paine. Guess he wanted us to know that he “got it”.

My friend RR was the sometimes-actor, sometimes-writer who would carry out the actual contacts with guards to get the report inside. His mood was cheerful and excited and he did not seem nervous at all. He was dressed as sort of a messenger except for his battle-scarred short leather jacket.

My colleague Ina was driving and was in similar high spirits. She made first contact at the gate of the White House, and was told that the meeting was going to take place at the Executive Office Building. She got directions and we headed to the new location.

At the Executive Office Building, RR had no trouble getting himself and the box inside and X-rayed. He was gone a long time while we waited in the car. It crossed my mind that perhaps they have arrested him and we’re next, though I did not mention this to Ina.

He came back in an obviously high mood and let us know, “I got into the room.” Turns out someone took the box from him once he was in the room with the President and other recognizable figures and ordered it distributed, whence it was slit open and a copy placed in front of each personage. Before he had to leave he saw that a couple of people had picked it up and flipped through it before the meeting started.

In the following weeks we received letters of thanks from President Ford, Mrs. Ford, Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, George Wallace, Carl Albert, Senator Charles Percy, Birch Bayh, Donald Rumsfeld and many others. That was better than getting arrested.

What was in “A Plan for America” that generated gratitude letters?

While covering many areas, its focus was on developing the people resource.

This is still our recommendation today.

Our 300,000,000 Americans, if properly led and organized, could be the most powerful team the world has ever seen.

It is in all of our interest to think this way and to get to that “team” state.

We are not talking about submerging individuality but rather the exact opposite: developing the individual’s talents and innate desires in order to deliver the highest value, the highest social good and the highest ROI. Adding to the net value of the Universe.

In 1975, the first page of “A Plan for America” said:

There will be many Future Plans to discuss. Each Future Plan will be based on a particular way of stating our national purpose.

This Future Plan states our national purpose as follows:

TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN OURSELVES.

This is the way to state our national purpose if the object is to inspire and unite the people behind a common goal they can see themselves participating in and enjoying.

This is the new promise we propose AMERICA make to each of her people:

I, AMERICA, WILL HELP YOU DISCOVER WHAT YOUR UNIQUE HIGHEST POSSIBILITIES ARE, AND I WILL HELP YOU ACHIEVE THEM.

This was the proposed platform for communicating the Plan to the people, and to other countries. It was also the driving and focusing idea for the specific mechanisms recommended later in the Plan. Developing people and plugging them in. A tweak on “pursuit of happiness”, a bit more methodologically specific.

Whereas “pursuit of happiness” as the summum bonum (highest Good) or ultimate goal describes a targeted end state, “developing people and plugging them in” describes a means to that end state.

Visions of what defines happiness are all over the lot — hedonistic, amorous, comfort-oriented, and especially security-oriented — and often after a moment’s reflection one realizes there is no meaning to life unless one is working at something one loves that is ultimately of some perceived value in the eyes of others. Our happiness depends on this as much as on the conditions listed above being met. Work, love and play must all be optimized, as echoed by the Qabala, Freud and Maslow among many others. Leave out the work and you will not be happy.

All of us can continue our life’s work until the very end. Here, I am using the word “work” interchangeably with “purpose” and “mission”. I’m not talking about the work you do for money but rather about the work you would be doing if you had your druthers. The system has not made it easy for most of us to get to our ideal work. This is the first thing to fix. Digital offers efficient means for massive movements to be set in motion in this regard. Governments have been slow on the uptake to use Digital for anything more than tax forms and getting elected. The whole bureaucracy could be shrunken and would perform better by leveraging Digital. At the same time, the people no longer needed for some government jobs need to be efficiently plugged in where they can do the most good for themselves and others. It is a people development and redistribution optimization equation.

Page 2 of “A Plan for America” described two scenarios side by side. In Scenario A, the June 10, 1975 meeting changes nothing — the Domestic Council is business as usual, unemployment and inflation worsen and drag on, other nations surpass us, we become insecure and thus even more concerned about security, and backbiting increases. In Scenario B, in the June 10 meeting the President and Domestic Council decide to announce a vision of the future based on the philosophy of the Founding Fathers (especially Jefferson), in which each American can see himself/herself playing a real part, beyond being a cog in the machine. The people become reinspired and they reunite behind the goal of developing themselves to their highest capacities. All of the specific issues are then approached and individually solved with knowledge of that overall goal in mind.

It appears that since 1975 we have been following Scenario A.

There is still plenty of time to shift to Scenario B.

Page 5 of the Plan looked like this: 

 A Plan for America U.S. budget

What we are saying is that government needs to efficiently come to an understanding of the highest performance that might come out of each individual on the huge American team. Without Digital the very thought would be laughable. With Digital it’s doable.

Then the education/training and in some cases resources the individual needs must somehow be delivered to him/her in a way that is economically sensible to everyone. This again is an equation.

The thing about taxes is that the current system is hugely labor intensive and invites cheating. Meanwhile far vaster pockets of wealth are sitting around nearly dormant, producing value only for the hoarder (earning interest) who clearly is the last person that needs it. Rich people have started coming to their senses and philanthropy has voluntarily increased. This is a trend that ought to continue. People with more money than they need should find sustainable ways to invest that money in people — starting with their fellow Americans. In the next few years I hope rich people come up with hundreds of ideas to invest in people in ways that make sound business sense. I would bet that every single one will involve Digital.

Just as a pebble in the pond, to get even better ideas started, here is one.

BEST PLANS

A Digital Destination in Virtual Reality

Scenario: a rich person or corporation or grant-giving organization — or a group of all these types — creates a new website similar to Worlds.com and Second Life — or in one of these virtual worlds. If you’ve been there you know: you choose an avatar to represent you, and then you go where you will, speak with whomever you like, and can buy and sell things using virtual money. (Neal Stephenson’s latest novel REAMDE is based on a cyberspace in which the virtual economies blend with the real economies of the world.)

Now picture (perhaps you have seen it) the TV series Shark Tank, in which investors decide whether or not to back entrepreneurs based on their business plans. Now translate that into virtual reality. What have we here? A way of test marketing business plans with virtual money.

The idea would be a process by which to organize and optimize — entertainingly! — the investing of billions of dollars into a new mutual fund called BEST PLANS. The fund invests across entrepreneurial opportunities that have scored high in virtual reality pretests — many people bought their product or service and stayed with it and the process was profitable in getting enough people to spend enough virtual money to pay the people doing the virtual jobs and still turn a tidy profit.

Just a for-example.

Again, readers of this blog are a hand-picked lot because of your minds. We have every confidence you can think of better ideas than this one to reoptimize the work we each do and the way we find our jobs and the ways of compensation so that the tweaked system is better than ever before. Why not let your daydreams drift in that direction and see what happens?

Thank you in advance for sharing your daydreams.

Best to all,

Bill

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