Category Archives: Creative Process

Statement of Work

Created June 11, 2021

This is an SOW for the human race. It’s really an urgent request.

You see, it’s difficult to see something that is gigantic. Your mind has an automatic program for suppressing cognitive dissonance, especially during Acceleritis.

This is not any less threatening than all of those movies. This is the oncoming reality of those scary movies.

It’s time for each of us to stand up and pitch in.

Putting aside the petty grievances of the past.

This part is for philanthropists:

Think outside the box, it’s not business as usual right now.

Old reliable methods may need to be set aside during the emergency.

Where can your gifts do the most good?

After putting out the fires of old rivalries, Job Number One will be something like

  1. Bring all people in the world up to the current national average household income in the USA
  2. Do it respecting their desire to work for it, make fair deals, family education covered
  3. This is greenfield economic opportunity for everyone, if we go cold turkey on our addiction to dystopian expectations

In other words, if you can imagine for a second that the human addiction to violence might disappear suddenly, without having to think about that all the time, the development of the underdeveloped would be the natural magnet. That’s where the growth rate will be the most impressive, good for stock prices.

Only the violence and the addictive tendencies of the mind separate us, the human race, from stepping across the great divide, into seeing our wholeness, our connectivity, our oneness.

But if we could all be given that vision, wear that lens, for ten minutes, we would ask so what are we going to do instead? And self-realizing that there are excitingly vast possibilities in a future in which we can get along without hate, overt or covert.

The planet needs a lot of work, let’s get it organized and start to put it back together better than it ever was.

What Is Conservatism?

Created May 14, 2021

The GOP did not start out to be a conservative party, but in our memories it has always been associated with conservatism. What is conservatism? It is conserving the value we have already created, and not risking it unnecessarily by taking steps believed to be progressive which might have hidden flaws.

In principle, it’s a good idea, and so is the idea of making things better. Ideally, if you have to have political parties at all (the US Constitution didn’t think so), lining the two parties up with conservative and progressive philosophies is a very sensible dichotomy. One can imagine them working together to produce an optimally balanced result.

But today, most of the leadership of the Republican party – about 4251 people – have moved away from conservatism. They are in fact much more radical than conservative. Radicalism can happen on the conservative end or the progressive end of the spectrum. The new radical right is even more dangerous to us and to our democracies than neoliberalism. The radical right is virtually a return to monarchy, the same kind of monarchy that was the enemy of the American Revolution: One Man Rule. It is an undoing of democracy as a failed experiment.

The more the world sees us quibbling with each other and paralyzed by filibuster, the more believable is the idea that democracy can never work.

Hitler kept the trains running on time. The cost of that benefit was the lives of 75 million people.

Yet today many of us are willing to set all that aside and go for a leader who can get things done, or at least convince millions of us that things are getting done.

The filibuster stalling during the Obama administration was the beginning of a breakdown that proved the system was not working. Filibuster and gerrymandering were largely the cause of that. Which only went downhill under Trump.

And yet Trump, the TV performer who used social media as mindlessly as millions of us, locked in on the basis of that gross rapport, a core following that today consists of 4251 people with enough power to retake the country plus (my estimate based on Pew and Gallup) 34 million Republicans who want Trump back. 34 million out of 239 million eligible voters. Definitely a minority.

We need philanthropists to sponsor an all-media education campaign to make sure that everyone understands what filibuster is, what gerrymandering is, and the voting rights issues behind today’s State-level rush to “fix” all future elections by making it harder to vote for people who are less likely to vote for the far-right Republicans, who are a minority.

Allowing mechanisms not in the Constitution which have demonstrated they can paralyze a government for an entire administration to continue is unacceptable. But until those “keep me in power” mechanisms are dismantled, they are a very large obstacle to their dismantlement!

Therefore, to let The People Speak For Themselves, those same philanthropists can help grassroots efforts toward referendums, and continuous State by State polling, to compare the wants of the citizens of each State, with the legislation being passed today in that State. These referendums (and polls where the referendums are thwarted at the State level) will demonstrate that a self-serving minority has gamed the system and is our new dictatorial government in the States where voting rights are today being set back after more than a half century of progress.*

This will expose States passing laws opposed by the majority of the people that they are supposed to be representing.

It is the 34 million slavish followers of Trump (and any radical kneejerk no-compromise people on the blue team) that need to be educated and to learn to think for themselves, and not echo the pronouncements of any one man (other than the sayings of great saints) or even the party line (multiple people), but to study the issues and reach their own independent conclusions.

An educational campaign can achieve those effects especially if it is in bite sized pieces and done with the quality that can be achieved by entertainment and advertising creatives and their research support.

Perhaps the federal government and the courts can achieve the restoration of order that is needed, but philanthropists who like to live in the USA, for reasons of enlightened self-interest ought to give money to support an educational campaign across all media to get people to think for themselves and study the facts not just believe what a politician tells them.

Especially focused around voting, filibuster, and gerrymandering, the three areas that radicals on both sides have abused for too long after creating filibuster and gerrymandering in the first place, none of that was what the Founders wrote into the Constitution.

The campaign needs to also explain what referendums are and how they work differently in each State.

A citizenry uninformed in relation to these foregoing subjects is easy prey for unscrupulous actors in high places.

It’s easy to just follow one man, it takes some of your time to study complex subjects, and millions of us are not disposed that way. Hence using the media to teach (in a non-partisan way and) in potent droplets is a logical communications strategy that is not being used enough today.

May the Middle Hold. May the extremes move toward the Center.

Best to all,

Bill

 

*True conservatives, by definition, would want to preserve progress made in the past. Someone who wants to erase past progress is a reactionary, one type of radical.

Re-Evaluating Our Foundational Beliefs

Created April 30th, 2021

*Thank you Mr. President for a balanced and meticulously thought out approach at a time when others are losing their heads. In addition to my donations I’ve attempted to send you helpful ideas. Here are the links to the articles that hopefully someone on the staff can review, assess, and do whatever is decided with.*

Philosophy is the practice of re-evaluating our foundational beliefs.

The practice of philosophy has diminished from ancient days to now.

The one place where philosophy has not gone away – in fact, where it dominates all human life on the planet today – is economics.

Economic “theory” makes it sound like economics is a science now. It is not nor has it ever been a science. It is a collection of clashing philosophies. (My recommendation as to how to make it a science.)

Why do I say that economics dominates all human life today? What is the subject matter causing the schism in America today? It is all about money. And, of course it is all about power. Is the money important because it gets you to power? Or is the power important because it gets you to money?

It is the latter.

Money is the one thing in the world that provides an individual with freedom (assuming that individual lives in a democracy).

Power is not the thing most people wish for, because it would bring with it responsibility. Most people will be happy if they have enough money and can spend their time doing things they love doing – usually involving churning out some passion work outputs that delight other people too.

This is not to obscure individual differences. Thankfully each of us is unique. My work has established that there are fifteen motivations and that each person is driven by a specific set of these, whose relative importance to the individual shifts over time.

The world’s oldest and longest manuscript, the Mahabharata, establishes four things that are worth obtaining from life: pleasure, wealth, virtue, and enlightenment.

The fact that economics dominates the world today shows that we have as a race lost sight of things we knew long ago. There is an amazing imbalance away from the other three “Highest Goods”. It’s all just about wealth now.

And yet, behind the propaganda used by believers in one economic philosophy over another, the people who originally made up these economic philosophies were not as depicted in the propaganda.

“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” – Adam Smith

Adam Smith believed that the free hand of the market – the sum of actions of ordinary people and commercial enterprises and everyone else except governments – would lead eventually (he did not specify how long it might take) to an equilibrium satisfactory to all, and to growth and the elimination of poverty.

He lived at a time (1723-1790) when governments imposed protectionistic laws in a system called “Mercantilism” which maximized the wealth within a country by keeping out foreign competition. The same line of thinking linking the fortunes of countries and governments with those of companies and businesspeople was the context that spawned the British East India Company in 1600. Thus, Mercantilism was one of the spirals in the double helix with Colonialism/Imperialism. Go out and trade but exploit the others you trade with outside our country, bring their wealth back here, do not create win/win deals.

If you read Adam Smith – his own writings – you will see that his view of Laissez Faire and the Free Invisible Hand of the Market was intended to supplant Mercantilism as the dominant world economic system.

He did not offer any vision of the complicated world economic system we have today, nor any solutions for the kinds of challenges we are now facing.

He never once used the word “Capitalism”.

He was a genius and also owned considerable common sense. He wrote from his own moral compass and view of the world, he was a philosopher not an economist, he did not deal in data science, nor attempt to compile statistics to reach and prove his conclusions.

He was constantly making one foundational assumption, based on his accurate assessment that humans are social creatures: that all of us feel empathy for others, and therefore we would operate (eventually, as a result of growing up, education, experience) from enlightened self-interest. Meaning the realization that one will tend to be unhappy no matter how rich one gets, if one observes others suffering. He assumed that eventually everyone would be that way naturally – naturally altruistic, not egoistic– transcending 100% selfishness. Therefore, the rich would give to and train the poor, and we would all live happily ever after. In this optimistic view he may even have been influenced by his mentor and great friend David Hume.

In the 231 years since his demise, we have not achieved universal altruism. I like to think that the percentage of altruists in the population has increased as a percentage of total population in that time. However, I have no data to support that. And the evidence of the last four years would seem to make the notion ludicrous.

Today, Americans have become so enmeshed in fantasy beliefs that we have formed warring camps along current party lines.

Adam Smith and David Hume and Tom Paine and the Founding Fathers of America were right. We do all want the same things, and we all feel conscience and empathy for others – but to differing degrees.

That sympathy is clouded by the dominant concern over money. One group is vociferous about bringing about reasonable sharing, citing the lack of evident utility of having excess wealth. The other group shoots them down with slogans based on twisted versions of Adam Smith. But underneath all the well-stated arguments of spokespeople for the two viewpoints, it all comes down to money. Haves and Havenots. It is no different at the foundation than it has been since the rise of Capitalism and Socialism. Like pirates scrambling for a gold coin on the deck of a pitching ship.

My sympathy for the poor is pretty obvious in my writing, however I am also sympathetic to hard working people irked by the idea of paying high taxes, sometimes almost a third of which goes to supporting people who do not work. In the short term this welfare state approach is the least bad solution, but in the long run we need to shift to training (see pages 6-7 at the link) those people to be able to support themselves, and not just because it would lower our taxes. Someone who lives off the dole will not tend to have high self-esteem, will not have found their calling, will miss out on having passion work to do each day, will rarely if ever experience the Flow state.

Joe Biden and his colleagues would be wise to use the media to educate the public to the roots of present events, so individuals can choose more wisely, separated from merely loquacious rhetoric.

Rancor is a sign of irrationality.

Blessings upon us all,

Bill

Could World Safety Be One Conversation Away?

Created March 23, 2021

The press and late-night TV comics had a field day when the Esalen Summit was announced by the White House. Backstory: Joe, Kamala and Chuck had a running joke about the subject and then one day, started to take it seriously.

It turned out that Vlad and Jinping liked the idea. Just the three of them, Joe and his counterparts, without aides, in the hot tubs overlooking the Pacific. No press. No guards visible. Just three men having a good time and talking shop or whatever they felt like. Aimed at visioneering the future together, if it should turn out that way. Otherwise, just a fun thing.

Naturally when they got there each of them took the full most deluxe spa treatment. Vlad did that every night at home anyway. They steamed, saunaed, swam, meditated, yogaed, got massaged, and then met in the hot tubs on the deck just before sunset. Nature was making its contribution in the sky as the pelicans began their evening hunt. A dolphin breached. The three men happily watched it.

Joe asked Vlad, “He wasn’t one of yours, was he?” and the three men chuckled. All three countries had enlisted dolphins into their military and paramilitaries.

The other two men were very relaxed and had no agenda so Joe got to say something else.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if it could always be like this?”

Both men are urbane and smiled good-naturedly, while shaking their heads to indicate it can never work. Joe poured for them. An excellent Russian vodka bottle in ice. All three had agreed in advance to start with vodka. A few steps further away was a bottle of Moutai chilling, and Jack Daniels setups sat in a corner. Joe poured himself a water.

“You remember that Bogart movie where Sidney Greenstreet says he would never trust a man who doesn’t drink?” Jinping asked mischievously.

“Maltese Falcon,” Vlad supplied.

“That was right before they slip him a mickey and then kick him in the head,” Joe recalled. They all laughed. Their respective guard squads had tested all the foods, beverages, the air, and everything else. The amount of air traffic high above was constantly audible.

“See, that’s why it can’t be like this, nice, all the time,” Jinping philosophized. “We know for a fact we can’t trust each other, none of us can afford to be trustworthy, I can’t see the present situation ever ending.”

“How can we be nice all the time while calling each other soul-less killers?” Vlad asked levelly.

“And thugs?” Jinping added with a smile.

Joe had been told to expect those questions. “Look, you guys are pros, you know how the game is played. You had to expect some kind of hard talk from me after you wiped the floor with the Donald and slipped all kinds of unthinkable things past him. The last time anyone got away with daring the US so blatantly was the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

The two Eurasian friends looked at each other and tacitly gave Joe the point.

“So,” Joe went on, “I apologize and will do so publicly when we announce something positive together after this is over. But let’s get back to the future, one in which we talk things over just the three of us, and try to settle everything amicably in advance. Have you wargamed it?” Joe asked both of them. “I mean peacegamed it. Scenarios…” They both nodded ponderously. This promised to be a boring conversation for them. However, as professionals they both enjoyed looking for the advantages they could gain from something he might say.

“We have too,” Joe confided, “it comes down to four things: whether we each feel we have elbow room, how much our behavior at home offends one of us, what to do about everybody else besides our three countries, not making aggressive moves against each other, and a load of details our people can work out.”

“Like the trade deals,” Jinping complained mildly, “just one of the little details?”

“And like what we base world currency on,” Vlad added studiously.

“Say it comes down to a trillion things, still, those top four are the ones to solve, the rest is like a zipper,” Joe pitched them. Both men sat back and pretended to be getting their backs done by the jets. Meanwhile their minds went into overdrive envisioning how they could turn this to their own advantage. Soon all three men were smiling, concocting their own visions of what might be achievable from the springboard of this summit.

Interestingly, all three gave some time to thinking about their people as well as about themselves.

To Be Continued…

Best to all,

Bill

Improve the Creative Result by Taking a Break

Updated on April 10, 2020

Now that we are all cloistered, looking inward is happening by itself, to everyone. Getting something positive out of the nightmare is therefore possible. By following your mind into your own depths, and gaining back the full complement of strengths nature gave you. To bring these powers not only into the present challenging situation, but to also allow you to see where you really want to go when we all come out of this crisis. One aspect of this self-renewal process involves the management of creativity.

In our present culture in which multiple jobs are held by most people just to keep up with their latest Jones, and in which Acceleritis™ necessitates massive multitasking, the creative process tends to become shortened into a two-step process of absorbing information (never enough), and implementation. In other words, no Aha! Moment.

Pfeiffer Beach at sunset in California courtesy of Craig Colvin Photography

Take a break, a mini-vacation at the right moments in your creative process, and the Aha! Moment reveals itself. 

The absorbing of information part was easier before the Internet. One saw the logic of not going too far because it would cost too much time. Now one can keep drilling down further and further without an apparent end in sight.

Finding information however, continues to be the major complaint of executives and their teams. You know you have it somewhere and you can go searching for it but it is so boring and annoying given the time pressure. Give me a dashboard where I don’t even have to remember what it is called and yet can still find it in a second. Until then, just send that thing to me again, please.

When you break down how much time goes into the absorption (including searching) and other aspects of the process, the two middle stages — turning away (“sleeping on it”), then the Aha! Moment — take almost no time compared with absorbing and implementing. And yet those two middle processes account for the quality of the outcome or creative result. With only the bookends and no middle the result may be passable but it does not rock. Are we here just to do stuff that’s passable, without the satisfaction of Flow state-level outcomes? No way — makes no sense. Life is about living large, not just robotically coping.

Are you letting your mind go wherever it wants?

The creative process goes through four stages: absorbing information, turning away, the Aha! Moment, and implementation.

A third of a second before the Aha! Moment — a type of Flow state experience happens. Daniel Goleman explains it as a burst of gamma activity, signifying the rapid creation of a new network of neural connections in the neocortical right temporal cortex of the brain. Simply put, the Aha! Moment is a scientifically measurable event, i.e. it’s real.

However, this only occurs if your mind is in a certain state receptive to the sense of Aha! That state can be described as the indirect observation of undirected mentation. Let’s break it down.

Undirected mentation is when you let your mind go wherever it wants. Indirect observation is (by my definition) the alert watching of something as if seeing it for the first time.

So you get the Aha! to the degree your mind can do whatever it wants to do with no pressure to perform or achieve anything, while a very alert part of you is watching your own mind, as if from outside.

When you do this, the tendency is for the Observer state part of yourself to go to sleep. That is, your point of view tends to get reabsorbed into the part of the mind that is just playing and you forget to look at it from the detached Observer point of view. You get caught up in some attachment motivation, some feeling/emotion, which identifies you with the relaxing, playing, wandering mind. This may feel wonderful; however, it doesn’t help you if the objective is Observer and then Flow states. “Identification with” leaves the attachment turned on. “Detachment from” is the goal. Stay in, or keep returning to the detached Observer state.

So how do you increase the Aha! Moments and improve the creative outcome? Take a break, a mini-vacation at the right moments in your creative process, and the Aha! reveals itself. Trust that if you remain the scientist, the objective observer when goofing off, Aha! Moments WILL come more often.

Best to all,

Bill

Photo credit: “Pfeiffer Beach” courtesy of Craig Colvin Photography

Read the latest post at my media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com.

Originally posted 2015-02-24 12:20:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Regenerative Method for Stimulating Innovation

Volume 2, Issue 2. Originally posted April 12, 2012

This blog takes a shortened form optimized for Acceleritis™ conditions

Listening to you readers, I have enjoyed writing this blog more than ever. Everyone I’ve talked to has said it is something totally different and therefore worth reading. Thank you all again for the encouragement.

Habit is the biggest obstacle to innovation and adaptability. The number of repetitions in our ingrained mental habits is in the millions by age 30. Each repetition reinforces many synapses thus increasing their automaticity. This is your challenge in breaking out of mental ruts, which is something you must do if you aspire to Flow state. And something you must do simply to innovate and adapt yourself and your company/organization to an accelerated treadmill of inputs, questions, challenges, and opportunities.

Imagination is the best tool we have and the one that is the most fun to use. Use of imagination regenerates synapses that have fallen into disuse and dials back the automaticity of the ones you use all the time.

Take your company, for example. Imagine the wildest scenarios you can — radical changes in partnerships, a totally different pricing model, an impossible dream of a new product you’d love to have — you make it up. See if this mental exercise doesn’t give you some imaginative yet prudent immediate actions. I bet it will.

Do the same for yourself. Think the unthinkable. Every seven years every cell in your body is different, the old ones are gone. We are a new self every moment. Daydream your near-term and far-term future, knowing you are purposely being unrealistic and perhaps grandiose — it’s allowed because it’s only an exercise.

Or is it?

Best to all,

Bill

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

Originally posted 2012-04-12 10:56:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter