Saturday, April 30, 2005

The life of the mind

Architect Ricardo Guillermo in dance performance

"Every day acts of healing,
caring for others, acknowledging the
joy of interacting with, elevating and
experiencing our fellow travelers, and
that joy of our own miraculous lives,
we encounter opportunities to bring
about a greater sense of community,
cooperation, enjoyment of each other'
s company and the force that binds us
all as one, indivisible with all life, the
planet and the universe."

I love the Internet. I used to love card catalogs. You look up one thing, find a dozen other things that interest you even more, and then that leads to yet other adventures. Of course, the adventures are only in the mind.

But why do I say "only"?

Are not all experiences experienced in the mind? And has it even been settled what"mind" is?

Leaving that question for another day, let me just say that my father was right when he said that one who doesn't read only experiences one life...and append that to day that through the Internet, one may experience thousands, millions, billions! Well, thousands. Hundreds maybe.
OK. Six.

Whatever the number is, it is surely more than one, and less than one hundred billion.

The Internet is Megamind. Not to be confused with Megajesus, say, or Metatron, who are, alas real people and myths. In the Internet, you can find people you haven't seen in years, decades, yugas. Ricardo is one such person. I wonder if I can remember our very last conversation. Will have to think on that one. Strange how divorces and such can weaken fabrics.

Ricardo was certainly an Idea person. When I knew him, and hung out, he was working on his Master's thesis at MIT in Architecture. He had coined the term "Aquatecture", and was designing life pods and environments that could exist in and under water. One of his colleagues, Mr. Javed Sultan, was also working on projects that benefitted humanity. Javed was working on ways to create homes, boats and such out of such inexpensive and lightweight materials as mud and chickenwire, and, as I recall, he had these strong, low-cost shelters built in impoverished places.

We would have potluck dinners at Ricardo's or Javed's or our place, or Jan Brown's, or some other's kitchen in the weird salad of Cambridge intelligentia. Sometimes we'd head over to Tom Trainor's beautiful place over in Brookline. Javed might give a slide show of his travels, or Ricardo would explain his newest creation, or Monty Allen, the Peace Corp animal photographer would share his latest shots. (Monty had a way with animals. Once on a whale watch, he was the only one to whom the eventual whale showed its full greatness. Sprang straight out of the water! We were huddled below deck, having given up. New England oceans can be cold even in summer.)

Anyway, to make a long story is good to see people doing well. It is also good to able to see that people are doing well.

The life of the mind. Not a bad invention.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Ever Longed For An Idea?

Where Do Ideas Come From?

Have you ever looked at someone else’s success and asked yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Or are you perhaps the guy who thinks up a new invention but never acts on it only to get it rubbed in your face when you see it being pitched on a television infomercial months or years later?

Or are you someone who simply wonders where all those ideas come from?

If I’m known for anything it’s the thousands of ideas I come up with for poems, stories, song lyrics, and inventions. While most of the world may not know my work, my friends are always asking, “Billy, how do you come up with so many new ideas?”

“Creativity begets creativity,” I always answer. You see, the more you exercise your creative muscles the more you create and the easier it becomes to create more. It’s a rare day that I don’t write two or three poems or pen a few hundred words in one of the two or three novels I work on simultaneously. You see, I’m not frustrated by a lack of ideas as much as I am a lack of time to complete them all. And I’ve lots of ideas for products, services, and businesses that few have ever done before.

But I’ve still not told you where my ideas come from, have I?

Right in front of my face. Every idea I get comes from things I see everyday and my own view of the world in which I live. How many times have you slaved away at a task you had to do while thinking, There has to be a better way?

You see: Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and all one needs to do is look no farther than your own life to discover the next RONCO Pocket Fisherman, George Foreman Grill, or plot for your next novel. As a matter of fact: If you’re searching the world for the next big idea in hopes that it will be the next big thing then you’re wasting you time and energy.

Over the course of my time here at Idea Consultants I’m going to start tossing-out ideas I have for new products, new books, small businesses, and even large businesses. Most of them are things lots of people could be doing so there’s no real need to be the first in the world as long as you get up and running quick enough to establish yourself in your local area and most areas could use several of most of the ideas I’ll give you.

I’ll also pass along a few tips to help you get more readers to your blog or website.


How to break the habit. Not taken.


is taken. :(

And so much potential...

Blogger Ad Survey

Since Dave promises that this blog will be occupied with thoughts from the brightest minds (why I was invited, I don't know), allow me to avail myself of the brainpower expected here.

I'm doing a survey of blog advertising to help strucutre a blog ad network that is as beneficial and responsive to the needs of bloggers as possible. If you have a blog and three minutes to spare, take the survey.

Mandelbrot & Fractals

Never met Mandelbrot but think his findings represent the beauty of math and art, much like Todd Siler's work.

Life could be uglier than this:

Between fractals and Hubble photos, it is hard to say which is more beautiful, or which added more to our appreciation of the world, ideational and real.

Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture

Anthropology Faculty, Arthur Kleinman

I would never have predicted that one of my favorite professors would have been in the Medical field, but alas, it is true. Dr. Kleinman generously offered a class entitled "Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture", and I, shy of science credits, took it...and have never been sorry. I have fancied myself somewhat of an amateur healer ever since. But more than that, he helped me to appreciate the good work of many medical professionals and researchers, but also showed, in glaring detail, the many pitfalls.

For ideas in the medical realm, I can hardly imagine a better person from whom to learn many wondrous things.

Philip Glass - Official Web Site

Music as Ideas

If you go to movies, you have heard the music of Phillip Glass. Along with Thomas Newman and Lisa Gerrard, he is one of the most sought after composers in the industry. One wonders why Steve Reich has not been afforded such honors.

Perhaps his most recognizable work is Powaqaatsi, which served as the theme music for "The Truman Show"...but his work also graces the other -qaatsi films as well.

When I first heard his music, I frankly though he had stolen from me, as I was working out minimalist themes, mainly as a meditation, in the late 70s and early 80s.

The first time I met Philip was when he was giving a sneak preview of his work-in-progress, "Satyagraha" -- a piece done in Sanskrit, and based on the life and work of Mohandas K. Gandhi -- still one of his loveliest works.

The second time I met him was when he was performing Powaqaatsi at George Mason U...with the film playing behind the ensemble. After the concert, a dear friend and I chatted with him and Linda, his manager, about various things, including the possibility of an internship...which a year later came to pass, and which made a tremendous impact, or impaction, on the young artist/friend's life...affording her the ability to move from VCU through Glass to Berkeley, and now on to exhibitions around the world, and a life doing and teaching theatre and performance art in Bangkok.

Glad to be of service. Not even a thank-you note either! :)
As Chopra once said though...think "How can I help?", not "What's in it for me"?

As an amateur composer, meeting the venerable Mr. Glass, and other living composers, was always a joy and an education. We need to lure them South. Too few pass this way.

Let me know when they get here.

Tom Trainor ROCKER HEAVEN / apocalyptic satire /

Author, photographer, systems theorist, linguist, friend.

One of my first experiences with Tom was when he and I drove from Boston, down to Manhattan, where he was to deliver his PhD dissertation to NYU, in quadruplicate if my memory serves. When we got there, we parked near Central Park and he showed me his old hangouts, and a fair portion of the Upper East Side.

When we returned, his trunk was popped, and his dissertations were stolen. We checked dumpsters a while and gave up. All was not lost, however, as he had placed the original under the front seat.

During the next few years, he was always a good sounding board and inspiration, helping me to get through the traumas of university life.

Check out his astonishing first novel, Rocker Heaven.

Think Like a Genius - Todd Siler | Biography

Where Art meets Science

When I met Todd, he was working on his Master's thesis at MIT. His thesis was bipolar, for lack of better words. It dealt with the connection between art and science, right brain/left brain...both of which he was maxing out. Much of his life and work, since then, has been a continuation of that work. A great and protean mind...and heart.

Idea Management

Image Hosted by

Idea Management
An old site cobbled together in the 90s, but containing seeds for what may yet grow into a lovely garden...

I like gardens!

Welcome to the Joseph Campbell Foundation Website!

"Transparent to the Transcendent..."

Joseph Campbell was a mythic figure. His contribution to the understanding of myth in our life sealed his fate as one of the permanent stars in our ideational sky. I got to spend a day with him back in '80 or '81, but have yet to meet Kevin Bacon, although I know that Francis Bacon was also fond of gardens. But just as with Bucky Fuller and Anthony Burgess, they all died only a few months after after our meeting. Is it my breath?

The lesson for me was...get to know your elderly masters. They will not be around as long as a lot of other folk. And they invariably have the best wisdom to offer.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute

No one interested in ideas can avoid the great Bucky, who is often cited as being the father of the Holistic Movement. Aside from his Harvard and New England connections, he was among the throng of genius pullulating in the mountains of North Carolina, back when Black Mountain College was in its heyday. Others present were John Cage, Josef Albers, Robert Creeley, Rauchenberg, Merce Cunningham, and other pivotal figures in art and the history of ideas.

Key Theorists/Theories in Psychology - PETER SENGE

Among the more protean influences... and a veritable idea factory, Mister Senge spoke to a class of us knuckleheads about metanoia and the seeds of what would become what he calls Learning Organizations.

Robert Fritz: creator of Creating

...the book!

Peter Senge (author of The Fifth Discipline) says that Robert Fritz ’… is without a doubt one of the most original thinkers today on the creative process in business, the arts, science, and life in general. His work has deeply impacted my life and the lives of many of my colleagues.’

The same can be said for Mr. Senge. Bob Fritz used to give good, great seminars on creativity, the creative process, vision, structural tension and all that, under the rubric of what he called DMA, but has sinse moved beyond acronymics and into arcane acornimics, which is the naming of acorns. Not really, but he could if he wanted to.

His books and seminars are highly recommended for anyone wanting to tap their creativity. He has figured it out.

NameLab - Naming names

What goes into a name?

How NameLab arrives at a name...

Idealab Companies

What pretty little logos!

Idealab's mission:

Idealab's mission is to turn innovative ideas into successful technology businesses. Founded in 1996 by entrepreneur Bill Gross, Idealab has developed and evolved a process for maximizing the potential of its new businesses. Once an idea is prototyped, Idealab shares with its operating companies its market-tested knowledge, operational support and strategic guidance. Today, Idealab is focused on creating technology businesses based on proprietary technologies that enjoy high margins and have significant potential for sustainable, profitable growth.

Sofea, Inc. Named "Cool Vendor" by Leading Analyst Firm

Vendors Selection Based on How Innovative, Impactful and Intriguing They Are

Gartner defines a cool vendor as a company that offers technologies or solutions that are: Innovative, enable users to do things they couldn't do before; Impactful, have, or will have, business impact (not just technology for the sake of technology); Intriguing, have caught Gartner's interest or curiosity in approximately the past six months.