I am presently working on a couple of books I have been thinking about for years, as well as my “rescue old machinery” projects, house maintenance, and life in general. I will from time to time talk about all of these, but fortunately the title of this blog is People and Products, so I have given myself a lot of room to move.
One of these books is about the benefits of working with one’s hands. I have always had hobbies/jobs that require this, and such activity seems to be necessary to keep me fulfilled. The book is about why working with one’s hands is a good thing to do. It is perhaps a defense of the fact I spend quite a bit of my time in such activities, and of many of my friends who also do so. In my opinion use of the hands becomes more and more necessary as more and more of our lives seem to be focused on interacting with digital devices. To me, typing just doesn’t quite qualify.
The other one has the working title Homo Demi Sapiens (Half Wise Humans). The gist of the book can be seen below, which was the final slide I included in a talk I recently gave to a 50th reunion class of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, They agreed with me.
HOMO DEMI SAPIENS
Maybe We’re Not Quite as Smart
As We Think We are
AND MAYBE WE SHOULD FACE IT!
PERHAPS THERE ARE NO PERFECT ANSWERS TO MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEMS,
OR MAYBE WE AREN’T INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO FIND THEM.
MAYBE WE SHOULD ACQUIRE A BIT MORE HUMILITY ABOUT HOW SMART WE ARE.
MAYBE PEOPLE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDES OF FENCES SHOULD LEARN TO BETTER COMPROMISE
AND COME UP WITH AND IMPLEMENT SOME WORKABLE CREATIVE SOLUTIONS.
This book has been years in the making, although I didn’t know it at the time. The initial edition of my Conceptual Blockbusting book was concerned with blocks to individual creativitiy. But as time went by, I included group creativity and organizational creativity. Homo Demi Sapiens is concerned with problem solving in even larger populations —religions, nations, the world, etc. A perhaps grandiose attempt, but fun to try.
A book I have read many times over the years is entitled Sagittarius Rising, and was written by Cecil A. Lewis, who was a World War I fighter pilot, later to become one of the founders of the British Broadcasting Company and a successful writer. The book, which is beautifully written, is a flattering picture of flying, but much of his World War I flying was over the trenches, in which he could look down from the beautiful sky to see people killing themselves in the mud and wreckage. One comment from the book was “Man individually was sane and reasonable. Only collectively was he a fool.” True?
That comment has stayed with me, and perhaps is one of the reason I am writing this book. Other stimuli are such things as the international situation, replete with such things as the Middle East impasse, the environmental situation, and if we want to remain a credible world power, the war between the democrats and the republicans in the U.S. It is past time for we humans to get our act together. Termites have been around for 250 million years. They have what is sometimes called group intelligence. How long will we last? Our group intelligence as a species has not yet been fully tested. The modern form of humans showed up only 200,000 years ago, The Neolithic revolution (agriculture, settlements) happened only 12,000 years ago. In the past few hundred years we have made major changes in the way we live, but they are leading us in worrisome directions. If C.S. Lewis is right, we had better start worrying more about the “Sapiens” in the title we have given ourselves.