Tag Archives: Freedom

Shifting the Focus of Emotional Intensity

Volume 3, Issue 29

We are emotional beings. We are hardwired to have some emotional drama going on in the background at all times. Getting into the Zone aka Flow state requires awareness and management of that background emotional mood. If we are not proactively programming it, it will program itself.

After a long series of successes, the background state is often one of confidence, a can-do, can-win attitude. However, this can also set one up to crash in the case of a setback. “What is happening?” we will wonder. “This can’t be happening to me. I never fail.”

To prepare oneself for a challenging game ahead, one uses mental rehearsal including all the things that the other players might do, and the contingency plans of one’s own best actions in each scenario. At the end of such rehearsals, one pre-envisions as vividly as possible, with all emotions engaged, winning the game. At the very end of the preparation one gives up all care about winning or losing. Attachment to outcome blocks the Zone. You have to be playing the game for the sheer enjoyment of it, for its own sake, to shift into the Zone.

With the emotions as a wrapper around our whole psychic experience, the thoughts flit along the surface of the mind. Emotions program thoughts and vice versa. Everything affects everything else in there.

In the complex accelerated culture in which we live, self-mastery of our inner space, or even awareness of what is going on in there, is extremely complicated. Neuroses arise of certain types, like biocomputer viruses, and the viral infection spreads through society by intercommunication of memes and moods upon which neuroses depend.

Two recurring neurotic themes involve money and frustration. The culture is set up to cause most human inhabitants of Earth not living in a tribal setting to need to think like slaves or indentured servants, always worrying about money. Some conspiracy theory was involved but mostly it was natural forces. At first money was just a marker to help memory remember trades and symbolize real “property” such as animals and grain. Then it became what it is today, the leading indicator of our feelings of self-worth, belonging, achievement, status, freedom, security, wellness and potency. I’m probably leaving some things out.

Frustration is a natural effect when society does not encourage (or recognize) one’s inborn skills in certain directions that would channel one into a career he/she loves. Instead one takes a job one can tolerate but that may do little to bring out those inborn skills. Frustration mounts when co-workers and bosses don’t go along with the inspiring ideas one has about how to do one’s job better. The mix of money fear and frustration turns to rage, often bottled up inside where it is one of the causes of illnesses of the mind and body. One is blocked from getting into the Zone, which if achieved would provide ideas for action solutions that in turn would bring more money, security, and clever ways to break through the frustrating resistance to one’s best ideas.

The start of a new cycle can be effected by seizing the control point where the avalanche starts — the surrounding emotional mood. Control of the emotive space around the psyche is the key. Detachment from outcome is the core of heroism. A sense of humor gives perspective. Willingness to face the worst with confidence in oneself (and for some, confidence in God/the Universe) confers a courageous fatalism that has been rediscovered by all of the heroes in history.

In order to program the emotional wrapper, detachment is not enough. Our psychospheres thrive on emotion. Replace negative emotion, the doom of the Zone, with positive emotion — which means remembering what you have to be grateful for and what you have to look forward to and to be excited about. There may be challenging (even heartbreaking) trials but you need to be able to see them as opportunities to show what you’re really made of.

Best to all, 

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com. 

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]

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,

Bill

 

*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.

Re-Imagine Your Life with Fewer Constraints

Featuring two Mind Movies

What if you suddenly had more freedom? You could do whatever you wanted to do. What would you do? Before continuing to read, take a moment and jot down a few quick notes as you ponder this question.

Read on, and you will get one major step closer to that freedom in the next few minutes.

Now, take a look at what you wrote down (or thought about, if you didn’t actually write anything). This is supposedly what you really want out of life.

Is it? Is what you wrote/thought really what would make you the happiest?

If the answer is anything but a resounding YES!, then perhaps you have not been fully honest with yourself in the past, and perhaps your biggest current plans in life are still, deep down, something that you are settling for, because you believe you cannot have what you really want.

What would your ideal life actually be? Drop all constraints in your thinking — the question is not what might be realistic but rather what is the ideal, unconstrained and unrestricted.

Every moment we face choices. When we make these choices it is always in the context of our options. But we don’t consider all of our options. Therefore we make some choices that might be okay but without realizing it we just threw away a choice that could have been superb. A choice we didn’t even know we had.

Why don’t we consider all of our options? Hidden assumptions keep us from even posting those options on the bulletin board of our minds. We don’t have sufficient insight into our own thought process to even suspect that we only consider the options we think might actually be do-able — just a small proportion of our real options.

And by restricting our thinking to what we at the moment think is do-able for us, we are leaving out too much.

First of all we might discover that something has changed so what was unrealistic before is realistic now. But more importantly, unless we start from the ideal, we will never fully understand ourselves and so cannot be creative in bridging the gaps to get to the ideal. Settling for a “good enough” scenario, whether for our lives, or for our company, or for any situation, is not the way to generate creative thinking. The real value of the ideal is that it always generates creative thinking because achieving it seems out of reach.

Creative thinking is valuable because, even if it doesn’t always get you to the ideal, it gets you closer than if you just exclude the ideal from the beginning of your thought process.

We are operating within self-imposed constraints. We have been told so many things are impossible and advised to not aim so high because we will be heartbroken when we fail.

We also live in a reductionist culture that tends to lop off possibilities from our thinking —this would not normally occur to us, because reductionism is so ingrained in all of us. You might have a hunch taking a certain path could get you exactly what you want, but the reductionist culture says hunches are irrelevant, so the hunch gets left out of your set of alternatives. However, your hunch might have been right, and you might have just thrown away your biggest chance in life.

Hunches should not be thrown out. Include them in the list of possibilities you consider when facing an important choice.

From time to time in these postings we bring you summary insight into one new method for optimizing performance for you and your team — bringing you first into the Observer state and then into the Zone. We write these postings in hopes of directly lifting the probabilities that the largest number of people spend as much time as possible in the Observer state and Flow state (the Zone). We hope also to move more people to read our book, which contains much more than summary insight, including detailed instructions for spending more time in the Observer state and Flow state.

Recently we have brought you summary insight into the mood of optimization, negativity controls, and the power of respect. Today we are talking about the power of imagination.

Most of the population most of the time is in a mental state that has all but shut down the imagination. We have dubbed this state EOP, for Emergency Oversimplification Procedure. It’s what happens when there is an information overload. All parts of consciousness are negatively affected, none worse than the imagination.

Relaxation would be most conducive to imagination, but unfortunately Acceleritis — the acceleration of the global information overload — produces stress not relaxation. This robs mental energy needed to propel imagination, limits the perceived time to do something so seemingly impractical as using our imagination, and creates a mood that blocks imagination by focusing on a list of must-do’s under time pressure.

But even worse than any of these limitations, even when we give ourselves time and let our imaginations run free, our imaginations have been constrained for so long by a reductionist culture that we don’t even realize has stunted our assumptions about reality.

We find it hard to imagine things that quantum mechanics has already proven do exist. In our gut, even if we go to church, we may feel strongly that God is just wishful thinking and superstition, yet we may not realize that God could be something different than what religion teaches — something more than what religion teaches. A universe that requires an observer — the universe we live in, according to quantum mechanics and relativity — could have an original observer that came before all other observers. As soon as we realize this, the question of whether in fact God exists becomes a completely different conversation. Who was the original observer?

Our imaginations fail again to keep up with latest science in being unable to conceive of consciousness as just as primary as matter or more so — which is true in the universe we live in, according to quantum mechanics, relativity, string theory, multiverse theory, and the latest scientific findings regarding extrasensory perception.

In a universe in which the observer is mathematically impossible to remove from the scientific picture, all of our materialistic assumptions about our personal identity, the existence of God, whether death is the end of consciousness, become equal to superstition in the degree to which they are unproven and unscientific.

It is time to live life with a conscious awareness that we do not know the truth about any of these subjects — that anything is possible, and our actions second-by-second need to factor in more possibilities than we ever imagined.

The fact that we would like one set of realities more than another does not automatically mean that the one we like is impossible.

Science today is in fact beginning to lean toward hypotheses conjecturing that by liking one reality we help create it. The mind does appear to be able to modify probabilities.

Some of what we think is impossible is probably not impossible. It’s time to loosen the assumption machine up and see how this changes things. It’s time to re-open our minds to the existence of all possibilities — just as science now has.

Stop saying “No” when you imagine possibilities, even if you do this just as an experiment.

Let’s try two experiments right now. We have opened up our minds together. Now without shutting down again let’s co-produce two Mind Movies.

Einstein rocked the world with his mind experiments. We like to use our Mind Movies in much the same way but on a more personal, less cosmological level.

First, the movie of your life. Get comfortable, remove any sense of time pressure, and imagine the rest of your life as a movie playing out from where you are now to where you would love to be. What are the little successes that add up one-by-one to take you to your ideal state?

Jot down a few quick notes of what you discover. Might be a few workable ideas in there that you can turn into reality.

Now, let’s write the movie of the world. Get comfortable again, free yourself of time pressure, and see a movie of how the world moves step-by-step from where it is now to a perpetual paradise — what steps do you see happening in the ideal world?

Jot down some quick notes again.

This exercise can be used when planning for your company. One clue is to look at competitors in terms of what they do best and what your company does best, and see which companies besides yours could continue to thrive by counterspecialization, without limiting your success. What bold or subtle moves could you make that would push the situation so that competitors would get the idea to follow specializations that are different from yours? How could you use coopetition* to bring about a counterspecialized situation that leaves room for more competitors to be successful?

This movie-of-the-ideal-outcome exercise can be applied to interpersonal situations or to pretty much anything. Our ability to stretch our imaginations is surprisingly resilient and can spring back very quickly despite decades of neglect.

All we have to do is let ourselves imagine the ideal.

Here’s a relevant selection from our book Freeing Creative Effectiveness.

Best to all,

Bill

* Coopetition refers to companies that compete finding ways to work together in specific areas.

Rollout of Freedom, Long Stalled, Resumes

Agnes Smedley, a great American heroine unknown here in the U.S. though known to schoolchildren in China, considered that The French, American, and Chinese Revolutions for Independence were not three wars, but a single revolution.

The Freedom Revolution.

Since written language began, nations have been formed by warlike leaders. These controllers have been better or worse for the people living within their domains. A rare few, such as the presidents of the U.S., have been relatively more dedicated to their people, which is as it ought to be. Nowadays most truly civilized nations have caught up to the U.S. in this and in other ways. Thank God!

There continue to be other nations that repress their people. Ten or eleven years ago when the Internet penetration slowly started to climb in these latter nations, betting folks would have laid odds as to when the revolutions would start. It was inevitable. Even Hitler would have known that, given his comment on media: “First, capture the radio station.”

Unlike broadcast media or any other media before it, the Web/Mobile medium now fascinating us all with its endless surprising unfoldments, is interpersonal, like conversation and sex. It is inherently social, and empowers both the individual and the group, informing their increasing interaction. This means that this medium is a democratizing tool. The human race is the pre-eminent tool-building race on the planet, and now we have invented a tool that feeds and feeds off our inherent ability to come together socially in synergistic and potentially win/win ways.

In the consumer electronics business, the leaders are already aware that the Internet/Mobile medium – let’s call it the Web for short – has democratized technology. What we are now seeing on a global scope is that the Web is also democratizing society.

The information flowing to the populations of repressed nations for the last ten or more years has created a pent-up pressure. When the valve bursts, the repressive governments can no more stuff the genie of freedom back in the bottle by shutting down the Internet (too late) than they could stuff toothpaste back in a tube.

It started even before the Web, with TV. TV brought a view of the world into these repressed nations. It was not always with positive effects. In January 1980, in Media Science Newsletter, I quoted Princeton’s top expert on Iran at the time, Jerome Clinton: “It was almost a caricature of our civilization as we know it. When I was there, it was embarrassing to see ‘Peyton Place’ in Persian. Movies and TV gave the impression that the West was totally materialistic, selfish and consumption-oriented. Conservative Iranian Muslims saw their sons and daughters corrupted by these influences from the West. They felt powerless.”

American TV, movies, and global websites subsequently poured much information, positive and negative, into the repressed nations of the world. The ultimate effect was to drive repressive and rapacious dictators out of Egypt and Tunisia. But look what’s happening now.

The pressure that TV, movies and the Internet have been building up in these dictator-controlled countries – letting in a view of the greener grass elsewhere – is still pent up in lots of nations. They now see the art of the possible. Look what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, they say, we can do that here – we must do that here – we would be cowards to stand by any longer now that we see it can be done. Bahrain, Libya, Syria,   Yemen and even China are now feeling the ripple effect from the Egypt mindquake.

In the smaller nations where this happens and the government kills peaceful protesters, as happened in Syria on March 25, 2011 – yesterday as this is being written – the world community will tend to step in and declare the government illegitimate and aid the rebels – as is already happening in Libya. It remains to be seen what will happen if and when such incidents were to occur in China.

The net result of this process will be fewer and fewer dictatorships – obviously, a very good thing.

Another effect could be that the young and idealistic in the repressed nations will now have a positive cause for which to fight, as opposed to being channeled off into the crime-as-terrorism phenomenon. It should become harder for the Taliban, al-Qa’ida et al to recruit. Another very good thing.

Let it be.

Best to all,

Bill

PS – Working on a documentary about Agnes Smedley. Please email me bhncm@ix.netcom.com for further information.