Category Archives: Creativity

If I Ran the Country

This is a great exercise to see where you really stand politically and what great ideas you might have down deep. Don’t think in terms of left or right, democrat or republican, but think through what’s right and good. My list is below – use it as a starting guide to write down your own thoughts about how this democratic republic should really be run.

General Economy

  • trickle down economics don’t work
  • markets work
  • don’t stress the budget deficit until economy is humming
  • work towards a balanced budget that works towards a long game
  • trim expenses by simplification, efficiency and cutting waste
  • raise revenues


  • greatly simplify income taxes
  • keep personal income tax rates as low as is prudent, but close loopholes
  • if we create personal tax incentives, let those be for the poor rather than the rich
  • adjust the corporate tax rate to be competitive with the most forward-thinking European countries and close loopholes

Strategic Investment

  • invest in hard infrastructure as a needed improvements and job stimulus
  • invest in technology infrastructure (fiber optics) and delivery methods in the same way… both a white and blue collar investment


  • look to the successes in Europe
  • create a nationalized, socialized healthcare system
  • create a national wellness program
  • don’t mess with a woman’s right to choose


  • keep and increase funding for arts and humanities (NEA, NIH)
  • don’t attempt to regulate personal moral choices
  • let humans marry humans – it’s a legal contract – churches can do what they want
  • create a simple path to legal status for immigrants
  • keep religion out of government
  • work to keep the Internet a free information exchange system


  • invest in new defense technologies
  • for offensive technologies, think the long game: create offensive technologies that are not designed around killing humans but rather incapacitation of humans, machines, network systems and such


  • go ahead and tap into new sources of oil and gas, but do it in an environmentally responsible way
  • don’t make the goal “independence from foreign oil”… think a longer game than that… think “independence from fossil fuels”
  • invest in research to find commercially-viable energy sources that replace fossil fuels, because they WILL RUN OUT someday
  • innovate with other countries and share tech with other countries
  • we’ll only reverse global warming if we can give developing countries a viable, cheap alternative to fossil fuels


  • invest heavily in energy research
  • enhance the NSF SBIR investment program
  • let real science be taught in schools
  • push the space program and space research
  • push research on quantum effects and string theory (quantum computing)


  • do a long-term evaluation of US farm subsidies – are they needed down the road?
  • work to create a best-practices resource system for small holder-farmers around the globe
  • incentivize genetic crop research to best help small global farmers
  • work with world organizations on sensible, long-term population control policies
  • integrate urban agriculture requirements into large scale urban zoning policies
  • work to support local CSAs and best practices for seasonal vegetables for dietary variety in all sectors of the country

Foreign Policy

  • do not start wars in other parts of the world
  • do not be the sole global moral authority
  • only act militarily on foreign soil when a member of a coalition force


  • No Child Left Behind does NOT work
  • require a national core curriculum, but keep it as minimal as possible – test to the minimal curriculum
  • allow teachers and local school districts to teach and expand the curriculum beyond the core based on local needs and teacher expertise and interest
  • pay teachers better and give them a national path of professional development
  • create a national online system of higher education that’s free for all US high school graduates
  • explore virtual reality as a delivery method for public schooling (specifically grades 7-12)

Kurt Vonnegut’s Writing Rules

  • Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  • Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  • Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  • Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  • Start as close to the end as possible.
  • Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  • Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  • Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Exercise: Riding with Benjamin Franklin

If he was transported into our time and your job was to drive him from here to there, before he has had any chance to experience our world-what would you talk about? What things would he notice out the car window that would be fascinating to him (what things would he notice in the car?). Imagine you are his first significant contact with our time: how would you explain the world around him?

Exercise: the Salvador Dali

Try to tap into “hypnogogic imagery.” Have pencil and paper handy. Place a metal cookie sheet on the floor near a comfortable chair and hold a spoon loosely in your hand over the sheet. Settle down and try to relax fully. As you relax or fall to sleep, you’ll drop the spoon, creating a noise that will rouse you. Grab the paper and write down any thoughts or images that come to you.

Creativity Overview

Creativity is the ability to recognize new connections and patterns between elements residing in your “library” of long term memories. A moment of inspiration occurs when this newly recognized pattern is seen as a whole or partial solution to an existing problem.

Your creative skills can be enhanced by four primary means:

  • Enhancing your general mental performance
  • Enhancing your memory skills
  • Growing your library of long term memory objects
  • Learning to use creative thinking tools

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreams are dreams you have in which you are fully conscious and aware that you are dreaming. You can fly, do anything you wish, and in general, have a mental vacation.

You need to train yourself to know when you are dreaming. The easiest way to do this is to get into the habit, every hour or so, of looking at a book title or a digital clock nearby, making a note of what it says, and then turning away for a second. Look back again—does it say the same thing? If so, you are awake—in a dream, it will say something different, and this is your cue: you’re dreaming!

If you feel yourself starting to wake up, outstretch your arms and start spinning slowly—this will pull you back into sleep and your dream state.