Man’s innate propensity for novel and creative thought has proven essential to his survival and his enhanced development. It is interesting to note that the ancient etymological root of the word “idea” is the word, “idein” meaning “to see.” It is, in fact, ideas that have enabled man to perceive and formulate solutions to presenting problems, and that furnish the raw material for the advancement of his understanding of himself, his environment and the continuing improvement of modern society.

A simple definition of the word, “ideation,” is the process of creating ideas. It is generally known that all sentient inhabitants of planet Earth have capabilities of innovative and insightful thinking, in degree, of course, depending upon the individual creature’s particular parameters of reason. We have all seen depictions of apes, deftly inserting twigs into such things as hollow tree trunks, to access a sumptuous lunch of protein- rich termites. What better, or more illustrative example can be furnished of the useful application of clever ideas to the solution of presenting problems.

To be clear, we are concerned in this note, only with ideation which is useful and demonstrably constructive in the continuing rational and empirical progress of man. We emphatically and categorically exclude such purported phenomena as, “religious inspiration” as well as the categories of” paranoid ideation,” “anthropomorphic ideation”, superstitious thought of every kind,  and each and every one of the stale and useless aphoristic roadblocks to reason (see blog # 11).

Additionally, we do not intend, nor is there, any possible or rational metaphor to be drawn between the parturition of good or objectionable thought, with the legally recognized right of women to make reasonable choices regarding their respective pregnancies. (See blog # 52).

We note the expression, “pregnant with thought” but would stress the many significant and notable distinctions between the parturition of ideas and the metaphoric phrase. To cite a few, there is no predictable period of gestation or incubation. Further, the issue may be the product of several “surrogates” or of  consecutive progenitors, possibly spanning centuries during which the inspired creators proceed to the final desired realization; each contributor standing upon the shoulders of his predecessors, in a virtual “ ladder’ of enlightenment, until the “eureka” moment.

It is not uncommon for the product of creative and original thought to be ultimately rejected, but only because it subsequently proved to be useless or erroneous in light of subsequent advancements in understanding and knowledge.  The  Lamarckian theory, “Use and Disuse, “ to the effect that animals develop physical features which are necessary for survival , for example ,the long neck of a giraffe which enables access to tree leaf nourishment. Charles Darwin and others relegated said theory to the scientific dustbin with the better theory, “Survival of the Fittest.” It is interesting to note that the Lamarckian theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, continued to be favored by certain totalitarian regimes, since it was consistent with their nefarious dogma.

The universe of inspired thought has, however, always had its detractors and enemies. It was Galileo, himself, who was given a life sentence for committing criminal heresy by ratifying the heliocentric theory of Nicholas Copernicus, to the effect that the Earth orbited the Sun, and not the other way around ( as had been proclaimed in the holy bible and other religious tractates).

As History has consistently shown, religious authorities and conceptions should be morally and completely restrained from enjoying any influence or recognition, whatsoever, regarding the operation and progress of empirical science, lest we re-visit the Dark Ages.

Positive experience has demonstrated, definitively and resoundingly, that the many expectant progenitors, either working simultaneously or over time, deserve to be sufficiently respected, encouraged and adequately funded. While some initial forays often seem obtuse or widely exotic, many in fact, are embryonic stages of a future breakthrough and an advance in man’s understanding and enhancement.

The parturition of ideas, especially in their embryonic or neonatal stage must be supported, encouraged and insulated from the destructive influence of non-rational belief, if we are to successfully survive and prosper.



A confident and consistent self-image is the bedrock reference point for one’s belief system, decision making and overt action. As the swift current of life inevitably courses on, we need to recognize our own participation in it, as responsibly aware and credibly distinct personalities.

Others get to know us and take our meaning and intention from their observation of our action and their awareness of our avowed points of view. Even more critical is our own individual knowledge and awareness of our personal, private identity known as our “self.” This is our essential compass which directs and orchestrates our understanding of rectitude and moral choices. Those who lack a confident, consistent “self” usually are destined to lead a rudderless, confusing and meaningless existence during their stay on the planet.

To be sure, one is always capable, by dint of newly attained enlightenment and sufficient contemplation, to alter his internal self- portrait, but even such a change must embark from a designated starting point and proceed to the newly established one, hopefully, by a rationally guided compass.

In one of the classic cartoon strips, “Pogo” the sage cartoonist, Walt Kelly, depicts his ever-present hero. “Pogo the Opossum” portrayed in Napoleonic battle dress, in front of a still- smoking cannon, proudly brandishing his saber and stating: “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

The opinions and judgments of individuals, who are seen as possessed of healthy and a well -adjusted persona, are, for such reason, worthy of consideration since the same are presumed to have been made thoughtfully and free from outside influence.

In the preceding blog, we urged the need to maintain a secure self-image to serve as an inner-directed guide in making moral choices, and the futility of the reductive rewards- punishment regime (Blog#72).

It has been said somewhere, “A Man’s Home Is His Castle.” This may have some cognizable value as to the rights of ownership and privacy; but a home and castle are only real estate. The essential habitation of man is found in his mature understanding of his personal identity, his “self.”



History consistently teaches that the most precious and valuable resource of a nation is its people. One illustrative example is Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s.That modest size country came close to conquering the entire world. This capability was the result of an effective social organization making possible the mobilization of a highly productive population. Under the leadership of the United States, the Allies were ultimately victorious, in large part, due to that ability to mobilize capable citizenry. The history of the Second World War is an instructive, albeit depressing, example of the continuing need for a productive society which is capable of being summoned in times of trouble.

Apart from such need for the purposes of defense and in times of catastrophe, the attainment of a nation’s potential is manifested in the quality of its intelligence and creativity; the same being in no small way, the end product of an appropriate emphasis on the teaching and study of the arts and sciences, an essential ingredient in the maintenance of a nation’s soul. Of all the useless, ignorant and shameful aphorisms, (see blog#11) two stand out as especially harmful:

1. Spare the rod and spoil the child and

2. Children should be seen and not heard.

Such traditional   claptrap must be the inspired result of some early American “Dark Ages” featuring a profound institutional ignorance and is predictive of neurotic and repressed offspring.

Mercifully, travesty number “1” is proscribed by most contemporary statutes regarding child abuse which laws usually carry criminal sanctions for their disobedience. A tip of the hat to Charles Dickens!

During brunch at a nearby Connecticut diner, I heard a father state to his young sons, as the family was preparing to leave, “Your behavior was very good, this time.” Having sat at an adjoining table, I was led to assume that the parent intended his statement to be a compliment to the children; as observed the two young boys were completely silent during their family’s meal. I dropped my fork in agitated distress, observing with disbelief that the parent’s standard for “good behavior” was no less than catatonia.

The practice of parenting is notably the most skilled of all the professions; the rearing of healthy children in the context of a mutually loving and respectful setting, being the essential goal. The cited example, regrettably, is not exceptional; many people, for various reasons, seem to be more intent on raising potted plants than spontaneous and creative offspring. The predictable outcome of such adherence to aphorism “2,” above, is repressed, neurotic and even rebellious children; worse, the future perpetuation of a style of parenting whose neurotic needs call for silent obedience. Some would even go so far as to call this a species of child abuse.

Children cannot attain their innate potential nor a sense of their worth in such a repressive atmosphere. They simply take on characteristics common incarcerated prisoners, serving an indeterminate sentence of 17 to 21 years under the supervision of a parental warden. People who are secure in their parental role do not aspire to totalitarian obedience as reassurance of their capability. By day to day demeanor they gain the respect and recognition appropriate to their role as parents. Remonstration and discipline on the part of such parents is an occasional and unpleasant necessity, not a duty. The effective parent instructs his children in morality and responsibility by imitative example. Children can thus develop a sense of their own inner-directed right action and personal self- respect; constant external supervision is unnecessary.

The artless parent teaches morality in the same manner as observed international foreign relations; by the employment of the” carrot and the stick.” Good behavior is rewarded with the carrot, bad gets the stick. This foolish, reductive and predictably unsuccessful mode, unfortunately, seems to be all pervasive. The child, if so reared, does not develop his own (internalized) standard of behavior without external prompting; else what is to motivate the child from wrongful acts in the absence of parental scrutiny. Right action should be chosen by the child for the reason that it is consistent with his developed positive self- image; wrongful action would be avoided, not to avoid parental punishment but by reason of the same motivation. This is a self- respect and dignified morality which will endure.

In similar context, and on a related subject, caring and sensitive responses to the inexperienced child’s inevitable foolish questions should be made kindly and with the mature awareness that young children are most impressionable and bruise easily. A sensitive, respectful and loving alternative to pedantic ridicule is a response such as: “OK holds that thought for a moment, what you think about this…” In styling the correction as a question, “what do you think about? …; correcting the child by respectfully asking for his opinion (prior to the proposition of the corrected facts) the grateful child’s ego and self-respect is left intact. Additionally, perhaps, the stated interest in his opinion will encourage thought. The frustrated, pedantic response, as an alternative, only hurts the child who, predictably, will remember only that his parent was angry and thinks little of him.

Children are not vehicles for the derivative achievement of parentally unrealized goals nor are they underlings to satisfy insecure parents’ neurotic need to achieve a feeling of power or significance by demanding their silent, puppet-like and immediate obedience.

Exceptionally sweet, high quality fruit is borne by properly tended trees; useful and desirable citizens are those that have been lovingly and respectfully reared to be spontaneous, creative and self-sufficient.










On the appointed dates, people of every  description  gleefully step off their respective daily turf, climb up on to the holiday carousel and together enjoy the ride, the carny music and the  lights and  festive colors. These shared occasions and observances have profound benefits which are, in reality, a good deal more significant than the mere cessation of work and the consequent liberty for elective activity.

In these national celebrations, all Americans participate, regardless of divergent ethnos, culture and economic strata, and welcome such addenda to their respective observances and folkways. What make for our country’s unity are social glues of many kinds, among which is our uniform recognition and joint participation in mutually recognized holidays.

There are traditional observances performed in common by our diverse population, including for example, greeting cards, holiday symbols and paraphernalia, traditional greetings, even a shared annoyance regarding holiday traffic; we are festive and annoyed, together. The universal recognition of these special dates is often celebrated at parties and overtly and enthusiastically displayed by banners, costumes, lanterns, trees and ornaments; on Independence Day, we may display red, white and blue decorations

In addition to such salutary and positive display of shared sentiment and solidarity, it might just be possible to suggest a somewhat novel order of observance which would be aimed at increasing one’s own personal perspective, identity and self- knowledge.

Over the course of our individual lives, we experience significant events, which to each of us are particularly memorable, some even perceived as milestones. These might include painful recollection of loss or change of circumstance, as well as events appropriate to joyous celebratory activity.

Thus, while our sharing of public events in common is immensely valuable, the life of the individual has its own nuanced and memorable events which are filed away in the psyche and not publically shared. We all maintain personal libraries of memory which, if consulted, might offer useful perspective, personal understanding and acceptance. The alternative to this sort of constructive introspection may be a life which seems to us to have no separate identity, is amorphous and even, meaningless.

In addition to birthdays, wedding anniversaries, memorial dates and the like (which we do celebrate) we all have perceived milestones, favorable or otherwise, as well as numerous events worthy of note in our own life experience; our first school day, our first real kiss, the first day we drove a car, our first home, our favorite pet, our first publication, our first trip abroad, the first book read, the big fish caught. These, are examples of uniquely memorable experiences, worthy of celebration which offer us a sense of personal identity and of an authentic life lived. We need to ride a personal carousel of recollected salient events.



There is a fast-growing sentiment in the conscience of our nation, that the criminal sentence of solitary confinement is “torture” and as such, illegal under the U.S.Constitution’s proscription of “cruel and unusual” punishment. The absolute denial of the company of other human beings would seem to be directly contrary to man’s understood innate need for the society of other people.

For the purpose of this writing, and regarding its frequent reference to the noun, “friend(s),” we emphatically exclude that designation as used by the maestros of “face book” which signifies (only) that individuals have mutually consented to send and receive e-mail or text messages .Such misused term and relationships have no similarity, in any way imaginable, to the nature of a selective interface which features visual and audible interaction and the exchange of real words and expressive sentiment.

By stark contrast,  living in” real”  contact with others, personally  exchanging thoughts and opinions, ideas and experiences (good and bad), joint celebration of happy events and the rendition of mutual comfort, when needed, are truly life- enhancing phenomena.

Living near familiar company carries with it a cornucopia of benefits including the opportunity for objectivity, physical and emotional assistance, mutual consultation in the search for solutions to problems, experience with other patterns of behavior and thought and with differences in style of attire, cuisine and a myriad of assorted phenomena.

An isolated life is lonely, insulated, self- conscious and amorphous; there are no comparable instructive or referable models to emulate as useful guides to successful living and problem solving.

Fellowship affords to the individual a recognizably ascribed (or self- determined) identity (see: Blog#47)   and an overall guide to life- style. It also furnishes normative guides for dress, speech and expectations as well as calibrates responses to specific stimuli (Blog # 23).

We are especially understanding and forgiving in our reaction to the errors and weaknesses of our friends; we offer comforting thoughts, perspective and context, suggestions regarding the specific underlying circumstances, as well as the limited significance of the error, and, importantly, remind the friend of the great many past actions which were performed by him successfully. These are valuable services since most of us suffer excessively, often beyond the materiality of the error.

A puzzling and  insightful  question may be posed as to why we do not apply a similar objective analysis to ourselves; when we miscalculate, burn dinner, make a spelling  error, utter a malapropism, forget an  anniversary, drop the football,, even,  select the wrong mate; we do not extend to ourselves any grace, understanding or mitigating analysis.  Instead we, all too often, overreact and begin to reappraise our former understanding of our self-worth.

Is it because we are too personally insecure that we cannot detach ourselves for a moment and seek a modicum of objectivity?  Have we established for ourselves unrealistic standards? Are these the reasons why it seems to take the intercession of a third party friend for consolation and support?

To our main point, we need to be a friend to ourselves in similar manner as we would to someone else, and by being less judgmental of, and more forgiving, to ourselves.

When we make an error or miscalculation, p. would be bold enough to suggest the use of the following queries in aid of the promotion of our respective friendship with ourselves:

(a) What is the actual, realistic extent and impact of the error?

(b) Why define yourself by your mistake; why not by the great many things you have previously done correctly?

(c) Can you reasonably expect yourself to have an aptitude for everything?

Be your own counsellor and friend; you probably deserve it!



It is conceivable that, within the wide realm of possibility, members of the” smart-phone” sub-culture would  suddenly find themselves confronted with the presence of real (as opposed to “virtual”) people, making necessary the employment by them of acceptable and meaningful vocabulary. Such interaction would be an exotic one for the “dude” and “diva” after having acculturated themselves to “text talk” and the style of data-like transmissions in the changing patois du jour. Real words, spoken by recognizable voices, with nuance and personal expression for them would be” retro”, if not extinct.

The folkways of our modern era are not at all to be compared with those of the polite society of our distraught Jane Austen. We reference her times only to illuminate our point. In Jane’s day, as an example, on the occasion of the meeting of individuals, greetings and niceties would be exchanged in keeping with the protocol of the day; a possible scenario might be:

“My good Mr. Chillingout, I would request the honor and extreme pleasure of presenting to you the learned Reverend,  M. Theo Logica, formerly of Kent, presently occupying the living as the  Vicar of St. Jules,  Plinytown, North Sylvieshire.”

Reverend Logica, in turn, would be the recipient of similar formalities. It is conceivable that the ensuing conversation might be somewhat briefer than the traditional dance of the introduction. However, in its day, traditional protocol and ceremony might have been useful in the peaceful acknowledgment of the relative status enjoyed by the diverse people concerned.

In the “modern era,” the introductory choreography, happily, was simplified and made less formal, ex:

“Joe Blogworthy, I would like you to meet my next door neighbor, Ken C. Google.”

The response then called for would be something like” Hi,” or “Glad to meet you.” This style of exchange is certainly sufficient and acceptable.

However, as a direct and proximate result of the emergence and exponential increase in electronic communication (smart phone e-mail and texting) simple, meaningful conversation, for many people went the way of the Dodo bird. The comfortable pleasure of identifiable verbal conversation atrophied and descended into an electronic transmission of code-like letter symbols. At first, the phrase “What’s up” (not a question, only a substitute for “hello”) then the more primitive, “s ‘up”. The next phase was the atavistic development of further symbols, such as “lol”, “omg” and the disgraceful others. This reversal of evolutionary progress seems to portend a return to the Neanderthal “grunt.” We would cry with Jane.

It is now evidentiary history that the nature of human conversation vastly declined contemporaneous with the advent of the “smartphone” (see blogs #3 and #25).

Evolutionary biologists, long ago, singled out the development of the opposable thumb as immensely significant in the evolution of primates and other higher forms of life. They would certainly cry with Jane to learn that such evolutionary advance (seen by them as destined to enable the use and development of tools) as a valuable survival and growth dynamic, instead became the main implement of retrograde individuals who would ignorantly reverse the progress of human, highly evolved, speech and language as a unique capability developed over the vast millennia.

Grunt, Grunt, Snarl!


Addendum: Sadly, it seems that the institution and aesthetically pleasing practice of letter correspondence has also gone the way of the Dodo and the Mammoth.