Tag Archives: Democracy

Now Is the Time to Heal the Rift in America through Creativity in Compromise

Volume 2, Issue 30

The election is over and Obama has a second term. Both parties’ base constituencies came out to vote, signifying high motivation that their side must win, which means a lot of people feel they have lost. Some of these people are not going to agree to bring the country back together, yet that is exactly what would be best for everyone as we move forward. It is all about how we handle the situation now.

Romney won among white males and in many States. Obama won the popular vote by about three million votes. In CNN exit polls more people want to repeal Obama’s healthcare program than to keep it, possibly largely based on hearsay, some of it purposeful disinformation. The consensus pattern suggests that Obama’s actions to date should not be predictive of what he aims to do from this point forward. His best move would be to acknowledge the arguments of the other side and seek new creative ways to postulate compromise concepts and action programs that can bring both sides together — enabling processes of refinement of initial concepts, where everyone gets to add creative elements to the final solutions so that everyone can feel parentage.

Romney’s speech in accepting defeat for his bid emphasized the right notions of how America can succeed, calling upon job creators to step forward and invest in growth. That would be the right guideline for the Republican Party in the next four years, and starting instantly, a quick winding down of negativity and a pulling together toward creativity and compromise.

Creativity is in fact the one thing that has still been missing. All we have heard are variations in ancient themes. No inspiring new ideas. Exactly the opposite of what is needed. Look at the world around us — it is full of amazing surprises in technology, lifestyles, new ideas in every field except politics. The American people want creativity in public policy too. Both sides need to retrain themselves to think, stripping back to start from fresh sheets of paper, reinventing themselves anew. Think the unthinkable. Pour out ideas without regard for taking credit, without attachment to seeming smarter than the other guy. We are one team, we have real challenges, and we must together devise the real new solutions that lie just beyond a fictitious barrier of our own making.

The real leaders on both sides are the ones that will propose new, positive and healing compromises in the days ahead.

The President hinted at the value of our dynamic differences in his victory speech, saying that people around the world are fighting and dying in order to gain the right to freely discourse their differences in self-governance. True. However, our political discourse has all too often fallen to name calling, and must be re-elevated to a Socratic dialectic that progresses to a commonly supported synthesis. Respect for those whose views differ from yours is the mother from which invention of new creative re-bonding ideas spring. Lack of such respect is infertile ground for creativity. Do not be put off by the extremists on the side you consider to be the other side, listen to the moderates on the perceived other side for inspiration of your own creative ideas that might succeed in bringing us together. Let the American people share in the creative process and bubble up grassroots ideas for leaders to build upon.

In this spirit of America, we will in the very near future add THE DEMOCRACY CHANNEL to this blog, as an adjacent page on which we seek your ideas for solutions to the challenges faced by the country and the world. We will reach out to academics, think tanks, students, writers, and the general population, and we’ll publish the ideas we feel are truly creative and can potentially heal the rifts we have formed out of our genuinely differing perspectives, ideas that can solve the challenges the human race has created for itself.

Please embrace healing in your own life so that it may radiate out — as from pebbles in a vast pond.

Best to all,


PS – Next week the Smart TV Summit is being held in San Francisco with over 150 major names registered so far. I’m speaking on a panel about the future of television and also presenting research relevant to the future. Hope some of you can make it, let’s have a drink too. Cheers, Bill

Next Time, Let’s Replace Black Box Debates — Four Out-of-the- Box Ideas

Volume 2, Issue 29

The presidential debates may give us some further insight into the individuals but they tell us nothing really about any plans the candidates and their parties might have. The possibility exists that there might exist only the most superficially developed plans. In this scientific age of computer models — intensive research potential including controlled experimentation, enhancement processes to creativity — our supreme governance techniques appear to be stuck several centuries behind. Would that our government be run the way our best companies and military think tanks are run, making use of the most in-depth plan testing, scenario generation, simulations, wargames, and psychological interventions to strip away mental and emotional blockages. Instead our highest power center still plays out like a student debate in a high school gym. Not only here but around the world.

Whether or not it was right, and regardless of what you may think of Al Gore, at least his An Inconvenient Truth presentation reached a level of comprehensiveness that is lacking in the current debates about solutions for the economy. Shouldn’t each side present its plan in writing to the public, with a full defense against the other side’s criticisms, citing evidence? In the small arena of media research companies, throughout my career I’ve always strived to present the case for my own methodologies using industry evidence and analytics of my own data. Why can’t candidates present the case for their own plans that way?

We are left with the feeling that each side’s plan for the future is a black box reflecting in the end only the original assumptions of each party, i.e. meritocracy (in its worst expressions degenerating into aristocracy) vs. democracy (in its worst expressions degenerating into communism). The only other factor being “Whom do you trust?” This is likely to be answered internally by one’s own bias along party lines, rendering the whole debate process a waste of time. The current candidates exude such reasonability that one is tempted to trust any of them, but how much of that reasonability is simply well-practiced and well-rehearsed good acting? Ultimately the decisions we make as a nation and as a world should be based on the well-defended plans we are choosing among, not merely on the personalities of the front men and front women. We need a plan.

There are still a couple of weeks left in which the candidates should really dig into the details of why they intend to do X, Y and Z. They should show what has worked before, what has not worked, how the contexts have changed since those evidentiary cases, and what their contingency plans are should results deviate from targets by specified dates. Whereas military plans cannot be exposed that way, economic plans can be. That’s Out-of-the-Box Idea #1. Not just debates, but debates after plan presentations. Yes, the plans are on the candidates’ websites, but push would be more effective than pull when the quality of our lives is at stake.

Our Plan For America presented last century focused on individualized education as the key to training Americans to be able to gain and keep jobs in which they could be fulfilled and happy, setting new records for innovation and productivity. Instead of handouts of fish we must train people to fish for themselves, as Charles Kennedy reminded me the other night. Systemic changes are automating jobs into extinction, and so we must all reinvent ourselves at personal and group levels, right up to nations and the planet as a whole. This is a long-range problem with a long-term solution — what do we do to relieve pain right now?

In the Creativity training Richard Zackon and I gave on October 3 at ARF we pointed out that wild ideas are worth throwing out there because they can lead to sounder ideas. So here are three more wild ideas that can be pummeled into realistic ones.

The private sector is the most efficient, so let’s focus on government tax changes and incentives that drive innovations in the private sector and speed up retraining of people out of work. People who have the most money (the top 0.1% or 0.01% for example*) could be offered a choice of higher taxes or the equivalent amount of money invested in the unemployed as entrepreneurs — kind of a pro-social Shark Tank. Before such a plan would start there would be intensive research into who the unemployed are, what talents and defeated aspirations they have had, either through Facebook or something like it. This web-based system would function as a dating service between out-of-work people and rich people. Rich people would help individuals rather than dole out faceless tax dollars. The business plans of the would-be entrepreneurs would be critiqued and improved by the benefactors. If not invested away the same money would simply be taxed away — again, only for the richest 0.1% or 0.01%.

Another process would be incentivizing internships on a massive scale, where the unemployed work for very little in a company where they can learn new skills and maybe get a foot in the door.

We need to consider making it mandatory in our school systems for students to learn a third language — writing computer code.

Let’s encourage the candidates to drop the rote going-through-the-ancient-motions and get on with detailed specific plans that respect our intelligence.

Best to all,


*As reported in the New Yorker:

  1. The top 0.1% received 7.8% of all U.S. income in 2009, according to the IRS;
  2.  Economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty find that:
    a. The top 1% received 93% of the gains of the 2009-2010 recovery;
    b. The top 0.01% received 37% of the gains of that recovery.

It’s Possible

How Little We Know About the Nature of Reality, and the Technique for Remembering This

On February 17, 2012, this blog is a year old, with this our 52nd post. In reviewing what we have attested to over the past 12 months, here’s a recap of some of the possibilities that we put forth — for the benefit of all who want to ply into whatever might be valuable for the greater good. We have said It’s Possible that:

  • All religions may in a sense be right. Looked at a certain way, Religion and Quantum Mechanics and our own experience converge on what reality is. The common thread is that the Universe is a single conscious object. If that is the model then all is explainable — the prophets and saints who channeled today’s major religions; the behavior of subatomic wavicles; what John Wheeler’s information-is-substrate physics really means; the tendency for justice to be done in the long run; our own transcendent experiences — love, bliss; the benevolence of the universe, obvious when we are cleansed of the things that bring down our minds. All these phenomena make sense in a Conscious Universe. Nothing is left unexplained. Although the rest of time remains for physics to fill in the blanks, the overarching nature of reality can be intuited long before science knows about how the system is sustained (we might say, how the illusion is projected) at micro-to-macro levels.
  • All we have to do to tune in our own intuition as a guide to further exploring the nature of reality from the inside, is to stop making believe we know something. The Human Effectiveness Institute is not about issuing dogma. Our basic methodology is to admit that most of what we think we know as individuals is hand-me-down “knowledge” biased by traumatic experiences in our forebears and ourselves, catchphrases from movements that captured us into their statistical meme waves. In other words, very little of what we say to ourselves, and then habitually emotionally and bodily assent to as the truth on which to base decision making, is actually solid knowledge assimilated into wisdom of right action and/or understanding/forgiveness of self and others for missing the right action. How little could be proven in a court of law, or proven to a team of scientists. How many questions are actually being avoided. How many assumptions are made that rationalize subconsciously that we are being sensible to not ponder questions.
  • Acceleritis is the reason we do not ponder, and instead charge on, driven by rationalizing assumptions below the level of our own awareness. Fear of not performing in the accelerating stream of this culture and thus the awful consequences of poverty, unaffordable ill health, rejection/loneliness, an abject sense of zero self-worth, and guilt — all of which makes us keep up the rat race in a way deeper and more dangerous than at the obvious level. The very way we use our minds is different because of the racing culture.
  • Visible language is possibly what started the acceleration of information per day. Writing brought language into our vision, which is our dominant sense as primates. Until written language just 6000 years ago, for millions of generations our ancestors — just as dependent on our eyes as we are* — communicated by signals and noises, and in thousands of recent generations before writing, had turned these sounds into sophisticated language. But how it blew our minds when we were able to see this sophisticated language. To make an analogy, sex is very important to us. Just like seeing is. What if sex carried language i.e. telepathic words heard automatically from the sex partner during the act. That’s the kind of thing that happened to us 6000 years ago. The admixture of two potent sides of our being — language and seeing. It immediately made our minds race with questions and ideas. These continue to accelerate for each generation to this day, and will be even more accelerated for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
  • We need techniques to contend with Acceleritis better than we currently contend with it. Evidence for the “possibility” of our Acceleritis hypothesis abounds so I won’t belabor the point. Failure of governments to be effective, corporations whose left hands and right hands do not even know the existence of each other, individuals living generally way below the level of constant bliss, although it is an inch away all the time. We offer techniques in our book and DVD, and in excerpts in this blog. Steal this book. Share it. We want everybody to have these techniques.
  • There are measurable levels of being. Our experience can be ennobled by techniques that aid our ascent out of Acceleritis into the Observer State where our minds are clear and courageously self-honest to an absolute degree. And further, into the Flow State (aka the Zone) where everything seems to be doing itself perfectly (and observers agree), because we are no longer living our lives separated from the universe but are experiencing being in that universe and somehow the same with it. The identity issue has faded and it is as if you are the Universe acting naturally without feeling like you have to worry about how it is going to come out. The innocence of “not thinking you know something” is a conducive launching pad. Thinking you know everything and acting rapidly as if always under time pressure is not conducive to Flow.
  • Democracy was one theme last year in this blog. Working together (Gung Ho!) is obviously very aligned with joining into oneness with the universe. Democracy is a good idea because it reflects the nature of reality — we are all one so it is logical that the One would want to benefit from the collective wisdom of all of its parts — this too is a possibility.
  • Readers have thanked me for not writing about the media business. Last week someone said to me “What a relief — something I like to read that has nothing to do with the media business — I read enough about the media business!” Yet in the past year there were some thoughts about all business and how they use media. Looking across articles about custom content, clashboards, and building human relationships with customers, the main theme has been breaking out of the “TV commercial” genre into new forms that fit the inventory avails but have more short- and long-term positive effect on the relationship of a brand and its customers. Such as 30-second and other length units that give good advice (e.g. in such product categories as beauty, pet, baby, home, financial, etc.), report good corporate citizenship activities in interesting and personal ways i.e. stories of real people affected, and pure entertainment such as we see once in awhile on Youtube, brought to you by the brand in the same way that the brand would do this for full-length program true sponsorship. Thus having the same Gratitude Effect that lifts sales, trust and loyalty.

Those are the main possibilities we have been chatting about here. As to your technique, we are not suggesting you believe any of these things, just accept them as possibilities to be cautiously tested along with your cautious testing of all other possibilities. We especially suggest that you cautiously re-test all the possibilities you now take for granted that are welded into your life and your instant-by-instant interior life — the guidance system of feelings, images, thoughts, rationalizations, analyses, syntheses, hunches, and so on. which constitutes your inner senate and resolves its turbulent symphonies into your instant-to-instant outer actions.

Now is the time to step away from Business As Usual when you take counsel with yourself. That is our suggested technique for the week. When you realize and remember that you have more choice than you typically exercise, stop what you are doing and check in with why you are doing it. Watch as if from a third-party position the way your mind deals with this and other questions that will then arise. See if you can change the process to one completely different, if only to explore other possibilities. Don’t be stuck in your own usual way of doing things. Live in the moment and the moment is always new, everything starts again now, unencumbered by whatever has gone before, a fresh start, rebirth.

Best to all, and thank you for a great year,


*Information processing in the brain drops significantly when eyes are closed, shifting brainwaves down from high-speed beta to slower alpha.

A Founding Father Reincarnates

What If?

Consider this post to be metaphorical rather than something we are proposing is possible. Of course, neither is it impossible, based on the current state of science.

Picture a day like all days, one day in the near future, say around the start of election season.

Out of the blue, there on television, as you flip the channels in your living room, is what looks like an actor made up to look just like George Washington, sitting there talking to a well-known TV journalist.

You take it off mute just for a moment out of curiosity.

The journalist is asking, “Mr. President,” (your eyebrows raise as this is a serious journalist looking serious so perhaps this is not a Saturday Night Live rerun you missed) “why have you waited so long? The USA has been in trouble for quite some time now and many of us are suffering more than we like to admit.”

“Had to pick the time of course,” Washington says. “It had to be a time where one of us could make the difference,” apparently referring to the Founding Fathers. “This is the right time because there is no choice anymore. We stand a good chance now and if it does not work then all has been in vain.”

“You’re speaking of the national debt I assume sir?”

“More than the current trillion or so of debt — what about the going-forward annual shortfall, the budget deficit?” Washington asks “We are looking at tens of trillions over the next decade even if we arrest the course and set things straight. It’s got to get worse before it gets better. That’s the hard part. Americans don’t like hearing about that.”

“Sir, can you tell us what you would do?”

“Yes sir I can, that’s exactly why I’m here. Without stringing it out, first we have to stop blaming and start thinking of new out-of-the-box creative ideas for the underlying problems. These ideas need to be studied carefully without rejecting any out of hand based on opinion alone — what has happened before, factually, if something like this has been tried, computer simulations, even in-market tests in small areas. Secondly we have to work out the economics carefully in advance so that we speed up the inflection point where we start to see the debt being paid down and the people getting back some fairly basic amenities like jobs and good schools.”

“Is that it?” The journalist actually blushes at what he’s just blurted. “I’m sorry sir, I do not mean any disrespect. But surely it’s going to be a lot more complicated than that?”

“I thought you fellows invented sound bites?” Washington quips and smiles for only a second then his face turns serious again. “Of course it’s complicated. I’m just trying to lay the keel first. If we don’t know the main ideas we will never get the details right either. The key is to be objective and to have solidarity with one another, and to think out of the box, because none of the ideas we have generated thus far are going to do the job, and we all know it.”

“In the green room you seemed to be making solidarity the overarching principle,” the journalist commented.

“It is. Think about the word ‘union’ and its derivative ‘united’. The United States of America. Closet mystics that we all were, we dreamed secretly that one day there would be a United States of Earth. Just as the Temple at Jerusalem was to be a temple of all religions, The USA was to be a land to serve the whole world; to be the seed crystal from which Unity would ripple out.

“Now,” Washington goes on, “all we see on television is that the two parties are at each other’s throats. Of course, that would be the first stage after denial — anger. But as we often said back in the day, we’re just wasting time now trying to blame it on somebody else. Let’s get on with the solution. Every day we waste time this way we are investing in future suffering.”

The journalist interrupts “But sir, isn’t part of the solution to find the guilty?”

“‘Let him or her who is without sin cast the first stone’, as Jesus wisely said,” Washington gently notes. “We are all a little guilty aren’t we? There is a grey area between tax shelters and gaming the system. Once you see that you have even a little bit of ‘taking advantage’ in your own behavior, how can you continue to be so mad at those who were sucked even further into this direction by a system that was fundamentally not thinking out the details clearly enough.”

“Sir, I don’t understand.”

“The system was designed to be perfect, to operate perfectly, with checks and balances and a built-in self-learning method called the legislature. The only thing we didn’t think deeply enough about was how ignoble motivations could derail our ideas. There weren’t a lot of ignoble emotions among us back at our nation’s dawn. We were as babes in the woods in that terrain. We didn’t foresee how the system could be made to operate poorly to the extent that individuals were seduced by ego, power, money and sex. We could have built in even more creative controls if we had those insights back then. But it is not too late now. We can fix the dream machine so that it works perfectly —” Washington cuts himself off. “Well, this is Earth not heaven so I won’t say ‘perfectly’. Let’s settle for a perpetually balanced budget and a land of comity and brotherhood/sisterhood.”*

“How do we get there, sir?”

“Lay aside the blame and start thinking creatively. Stop rehashing the same old ideas in different garb. We are afraid to do so in the atmosphere that pulls down anyone who has a word out of place, we interrupt constantly, and this is the first signal that we have all lost respect for each other and therefore for ourselves and everything else. But bravely expressing the ideas you have — even when you are unsure of them — is the way to fill the idea marketplace with grist for the mill. Perhaps your lame sounding idea can provoke a new line of thought. Speaking your mind out was one of the freedoms, the innate rights we see in all people, the core of Democracy. If we hesitate to speak out because of the current atmosphere, then everything has gone to hell in a handbasket at the core already; the rest of the fruit will go next unless we change the core.”

“Surely sir there are some among us who deserve to go to jail, or at least be taken out of their power seats, or they will continue to ruin us?” the journalist doggedly persists.

“Stop picturing good guys and bad guys,” Washington says. “We need to all get past these conventional mind traps. We need to get into unconventional ways of seeing situations. Out of the box. Instead of seeing good and bad people, just try on for size another way of looking at it, keeping an open mind. I know, this is very difficult — that’s what got us into this pickle. Picture the tendency to bad behavior to be like a mind virus. What it is in reality is not the point now. First we have to stop the bleeding before we give the patient a nose job. We are action oriented, and whatever way of looking at things that helps us think our way to effective solutions will have been a useful fiction for its time. Later, scientists can pick it apart and explain to us the details of how we got ourselves into this mess and out of it, teaching us things that will help Life in the future. For now, let’s experimentally employ any mind tricks available to see if they can help us.”

“Sir, help me visualize how you’d like to see this turning around.”

“All I can do is what I just recommended to all of us. I will share with you my first crazy ideas about how this is going to play out and how the American people are essentially so smart that despite slowing ourselves down with silliness we will get to the balanced and prosperous state we want. Don’t judge the ideas —” Washington turns to the camera and speaks to the people directly — “just ask yourselves ‘ok that doesn’t work but is there some variation on the idea that could work? What needs to happen beforehand in order to change the underlying conditions that would prevent George Washington’s first cut from working?’

“I see,” Washington says, turning back from the camera to talk to the journalist — and then he looks a little to the left of the man and seems to be staring into the future. “We have to cut the budget in the most obviously off-kilter categories first — and yet we have to make such cuts in ways that vastly jack up the efficiency and effectiveness of the remaining dollars in the categories we’ve reduced. Probably working with for-profits in win/win ways — like the highly successful Boxtops for Education program launched by General Mills in 1996, which has so far raised $400 million for America’s schools. This is just one of many successful partnerships between for-profits and the public sector — and we need more, utilizing advertising sponsorships, cause marketing, affinity clubs, social media.

“First and foremost we cannot default on Social Security. To make up the gap, in addition to budget cuts, we will need to tax not only the income but also the accumulated wealth of the rich. I would prefer them to come forward and volunteer that money philanthropically — perhaps we can make that work instead, or some combination. Doctors among the rich might find this the appropriate time to voluntarily lower their rates. We need to inspect the profiteering of companies and individuals, and do this objectively, respectfully, and efficiently — which calls to mind applications of the Internet as one of the sources of efficiency we need. Where government has become inefficiently bureaucratic and there are rules we have made that prevent bureaucrats from layoffs, or that provide excessive perks to public servants, we need to fix those rules. We are going to have to find ways to move people out of jobs and into other jobs, about which more in a moment.

“We’re going to have to encourage more barter trade within the USA. People out of work will need ways to log on and indicate the kinds of work they can do and we’ll have to do a combo Craigslist and MatchMakers, preferably in partnership between the public and private sectors, in order to help connect people and jobs.

“Work programs to put everyone back to work have to in some form be part of this. Bridges and dams need to be rebuilt. Where necessary, perhaps we can find empty real estate to house those in the work programs. We have big-hearted people here in America and we can encourage patriotism in the form of greater charity towards the needy, especially those heroic individuals joining work programs, a true form of community service; I have every confidence that most of us will respond to such a call. Beyond work programs, there is the need to upgrade skill sets. I must add that your current leaders have been generous in this regard to those on the Unemployment rolls — but this effort needs to extend to all who need and are willing to upgrade their skills. I see us helping private corporations to work together to create a computer code whose interface to the programmer is like a kinetic video game, so that everyone in the USA can become a computer programmer if they so desire — because there is no end of work for those people. Because belt tightening is not the future I want for our baby — this noble experiment we are all still caretaking and guiding and leading — we must as a nation find ways to generate huge wealth together — like this all-programmers project, for example.

“There are other ways to generate wealth that require out-of-the-box thinking. There is an organization that today is thriving and largely insulated from the recession — crime. It makes most of its money by catering to illegal pastimes that, while unsavory, do not harm anyone other than the person indulging, for the most part. By decriminalizing drugs, prostitution and gambling, the government can make those pastimes safer for the indulgers, can offer options to the indulgers that will gradually take some of them into more positive uses of time and thereby reduce collateral damage, and we can generate the dollars we need to provide for the elderly and the needy, and to rebuild the infrastructure, especially education. This will also take funds away from the crime/terrorism sector. Again, making these things legal gives us more exposure and opportunity to suggest other job opportunities for prostitutes, bookies and dealers as well as suggesting other options to their customers.”

Washington smiles to himself as if over an old memory. “We used to kid Tom — Mr. Jefferson — about his soapbox. Of course, we all believed in Democracy out of an innate trust in the wisdom of the people — otherwise it would be insane to contemplate putting one’s life in their hands. We assumed that public education would be well cared for. This is what gave us courage to trust the people. What we think of as education includes deep thinking about life, and connecting to the inner knowing of the spirit dimension. This never actually came to pass in our schools, and for good reason: we separated Church and State. What we didn’t think enough about was how the Spirit side of the equation was going to stay opened up. Of course, we never foresaw how the accelerating grind of life was going to alter that feeling of connectedness. Today’s people do not realize how different it all was then. It was something you felt at all times. You didn’t know what it was, or Is — God, or something else? But it was there. Today you can’t feel that as we did then. You are simply moving too fast.”

“You and the other Founders must be very sad,” the journalist sympathizes, realizing how in love with America this man is.

Washington shakes his head. “We see education as the main solution direction. All we are is a group of people in a piece of land. The land is a vast resource, but just a small fraction of the potential value stored up in the people. Optimized, the people become as God On Earth — full of wisdom and bonhomie, grace and culture. Optimized means that education is the main force for Good that exists in the world. When I say ‘education’ — from the Latin educare, to draw out something that is in there, not to pump anything in — this is up to more than just the schools and churches. It is also up to the media, corporate climates, climates within every organization — every organization in America must be fired up with the zeal to optimize its people in a well-rounded way. They have no mandate to exclude the spiritual — we must all be willing to talk about the spiritual dimension again without fearing that it is sure to divide us; we can find common ground because it is there waiting for us. One of the first lessons must be forgiveness: we must stop wasting time pointing fingers. Let us declare a National Amnesty on those who have taken too much for themselves just because everyone else was doing it.

“Verily sir, I tell you that if we do not stop this disunity at once, the greatest hope for humanity will be literally torn in shreds,” Washington says darkly but then instantly brightens, “This is where we were a couple of times before,” he says, “and those were times we showed what America is made of. We rose above our ordinary levels of performance and made idealism practical. That is who we are: practical idealists. This is one of those times where our ability to be heroes must prevail — not just for glory, power, money and sex, but because it is innate, it is who we are, it is our nature to be heroes.”

This is one way a Founder might look at it.

Best to all,



*Here I would respectfully differ from Washington and say that given sufficient centuries it can be heaven-like here on Earth. That is a spiritual viewpoint and I would not impose it on anyone.


Oh, hi sonny, come in — good to see you — come here and sit down by the bed.

Sure I remember you.

What’s in a name? I remember you.


What’s that you say sonny? School project? Interviewing old people? Yeah I lived through it, I can tell you about it, I guess — my memory comes and goes…

Before the change, times were hard. The economy just wouldn’t get better. Some people had money and they were tight with it. Everyone else had two or three jobs, or no job at all.

When the war started, I was happy to join up to have a roof over my head. I had served before but this time it was weird — guns that shot around corners, weapons that could get into your mind. We had ‘em and they had ‘em.

I know it sounds funny, but when we won that war, things started to get better. We came so close to blowing it all that everyone seemed to wake up and realize that this here’s our lifeboat — the planet… er, Earth… see, I’m not so good at names.

Then there was that new change in television — and computers and cellphones and tablets and all. Same old shows, but the commercials started to change — more about companies really committed to doing good in the world. And a bunch of new channels where people could socialize, tell their ideas to help America and the world, talk about it, vote on it. Kind of like the old game shows in a way — well, you know. We all play the Democracy game now.

At first, it was just entertainment, but then polls came out ranking certain politicians highly because they were using the ideas from the new Democracy game shows. Then things really started to change.

Pretty soon every politician’s staff was studying the public’s ideas, and racing to be the first to turn the best ones into reality.

Our minds started working in a different way after the war. No wonder, since we had started teaching mind management in the schools — all because of the mind weapons in the war, so people would grow up with more resistance to them. But on top of that there was an emotional lilt to life — we’re all part of one team, was the spirit — we’re all in this together, connected to one another by common needs.

Barter temporarily became very common within the recovering communities, until the economy started to come back. But what a boom it has been! Me, a lowly sergeant, making good money teaching the history of the war to college students — until it was time for me to retire. The psychology of investors has always been what drove the market up or down — and with the new can-do attitude going around the world, global depression is a distant memory.

Then the image of the good old USA started to make a big comeback on the world stage. I think it started when our corporations reached down to younger grades to start looking for and cultivating future employees. They made this out to be philanthropy, and looked not just for the obviously gifted students, but for the ones who didn’t fit in yet had special talents. But in reality their philanthropy more than paid for itself by putting together high performing teams and optimizing the whole company according to mind management principles.

After that practice took hold in American companies, people in other countries again envied the USA, and soon they were all emulating the successful new ideas bubbling up from the people of America.

Oh come in honey — nice to see you — here sit by me on the bed and give me a kiss.

Sure I remember you.

Well, no, I can’t remember your name.

But I know you’re the one I love.


Best to all,



What If The Mission of the USA Is To Demonstrate Democracy?

      Liberty Tree - by Stan Satlin - © 2011
     Audio: click arrow to play/pause

In the previous blog posting we asked the question, “What are we here for?” “We” in this case being the United States of America. (Of course, asking this question of oneself, “What am I personally here for?”, is one of the highest uses of the mind, and we recommend it as a meditation — but that is a subject for another posting.)

We didn’t propose any answer to that question and instead invited readers to ponder it for themselves and come up with their idea of what the Mission of the USA is — or should be.

In the posting before that, we offered a starting list of 14 things that all people should be able to expect of their government, implicit in the evolved social contract between and among individuals and the nation to which they pay taxes. Making the tacit explicit is always a good idea in any kind of contract or simple oral agreement — being explicit about what otherwise would be hidden assumptions prevents bad feelings (or worse) from happening later on.

On that list of 14 items, one of them is “Democracy (sharing control)”. In that posting I suggested that some of the items on the list could be combined with other items, so the eventual list would probably be shorter. Now let’s consider for a moment that Democracy could be the linchpin, or cause, around which all the other items on the list exist as effects.

Why postulate that Democracy could achieve so much — clean air, fair prices, and all of the other 14 things on the list? Because if people are effectively sharing control, in the end they will do what is best for the people, to the extent that they can figure out what works and what doesn’t — even if only by trial and error.

Not everyone believes this. To those who believe in Aristocracy or even Meritocracy, Democracy is tantamount to mob rule, and can go in any direction right or wrong; like putting one’s life in the hands of fools.

Plato in his Republic described pure Democracy being able to work in a polis (city) of 1000 well-informed and well-educated citizens. Most philosophers since have interpreted Plato to mean that Democracy would break down in larger numbers of people, and perhaps Plato did mean that. However, Plato did not have the Internet. Perhaps with TV, radio, print, outdoor, the Internet, Mobile, Social Media used in the right way together, the citizenry could be educated, kept well-informed, and their brain power tapped and aggregated quickly — resulting in working Democracy across hundreds of millions of people.

Or perhaps the polis idea still holds, and people should self-rule within small pieces of geography, and then those geographies vote. In principle, this is not so far from the USA plan — if citizens had stayed involved in politics in their communities, which very few of us have done. Possibly the messes we now see would not have gone so far out of control had we not abdicated the right to stay involved politically within our local areas.

Can there be a realistic process to bring ourselves back to the ideals on which our country was founded?

To be realistic, such a Renaissance Project would need to involve the private and voluntary sectors as well as the public sector — and would probably need to be driven by the private sector, as it appears to be the least poorly functioning of the three sectors, especially when the profit motive is tempered by the will to do good for all.  😀

If we think novelistically about a plausible scenario, the first vision that pops to mind is an Internet company launching a fun, social, massively multiplayer realtime gamelike site, that quickly and virally attracts a huge loyal audience, in which the main game is to “Sim” (in the sense of the successful videogame series) running the world as it exists today.

If designed with social awareness, it throws off huge profits from advertising while tithing 10% of gross revenues to philanthropy, the money allocated according to the Democratic process — the vote of the site’s audience.

If the site also attracts audiences outside the U.S., even in countries that are not anything like Democracies, so much the better.

Do we citizens of the United States still believe in Democracy as intensely as Jefferson and all of the Founding Fathers did? The Founders enshrined the “consent of the governed” in the Declaration of Independence. Hobbes, Rousseau and John Locke had “invented” the ideas of social contract (consent of the governed) in the 1600s–1700s, and Rousseau’s 1762 treatise came only 14 years before the American Revolution. Locke’s term “natural rights” was invoked in the framework for our country, as no country before it or since.

If the mission of the USA is to demonstrate Democracy, then let’s make it the inspiring core of a new energy in this country. Some specifics on how we might do that — ideas worth testing perhaps — in upcoming blog postings here.

Best to all,