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Jul 5, 2008

Summer reading

Summertime, and the living is easy. I don't know how other people spend their down time. I was reading (and also listening to podcasts) abound mind-enhancement drugs, child sexuality, the Iberian Celts, robots, beekeeping, and other such unrelated stuff. In between, I am reading Jude the Obscure by Thomas Harding, editing my manuscript, watching good and bad TV.
My mind delights in random ideas; I love to know about human creativity, and about people's profound weirdness. Not sure where this comes from; probably genetic, from my nomadic ancestors. This always happens to me between writing projects; my brain needs food. It does not have to be educational research or philosophy. Rather, it has to be something different, something from the fields I don't actually know much about. That is the only way I know how to think.

Among other things, the eclectic summer reading puts me in an optimistic mood. As a species, we are at the top of our creativity. We have enormous creative powers, and have not been using even a portion of it. And nothing makes us more creative than a decently sized crisis. The $4 a gallon gas created the buzz of new ideas; people drive less, carpool more, and share efficient driving tips. Americans have cut back 30 billion miles over the last six months. Another two dollars increase, and we will start building public transportation. Isn't that the best thing that happened to America in the long time? I am waiting for that plug-in hybrid, and till then, my 84 Honda Civic will do nicely. Uninterrupted prosperity is a recipe for complacency. Our little corner of the woods, higher education, has been remarkably stable and successful. Just watch what happens when this model unravels. We all will become very creative and innovative overnight. Life is good, and it is going to get better.

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