How To Have An Idea

When I was growing up, writing an article was a laborious task. We used electric typewriters that made a loud "clacking" noise and it was virtually impossible to do much more than assemble one's thoughts on index cards and then type them, in linear fashion, paragraph by paragraph.

Today the world of creativity lies at even a child's feet. One need only speak the words, and text magically appears on the screen, ready to be shaped and shuffled at will.

Despite the wide availability of expressive tools, contradictory ("double-bind") messages abound.

Explicitly we are told: "put your thinking caps on," "be creative," "innovate."

Implicitly however, we get the message--particularly at school and at work--that one should not stray beyond the boundaries of "acceptable ideas," and "we all know what those are."

Should we ignore these admonishments, and proceed in ways that challenge the status quo uncomfortably, the "punishments" range in severity and intensity. On the mild side, we may be laughed at: "You can't be serious!" As it gets progressively worse, the creative mind is at turns disparaged, shamed, marginalized, punished, excised, and eventually shunned from the world of "civilized discourse."

Sometimes, worse.

It is for this reason that we must stand together with people who embody creative freedom. This is not to say that we should endorse what it is that they're expressing. It is not even to say that we should include all their creative output in our formal institutional structures (for example, I personally would not include the art of a gifted serial killer in a gallery exhibition).

It is to say that in a world turning duller and duller with conformity, we can find common ground in standing up for the right to simply "think different," as Apple Computer so aptly put it years ago.

We can find common ground in refusing to participate in social discourse that is verbally and at times physically disrespectful, even violent.

We can wonder out loud who benefits when the public falls into falsely polarized black-and-white thinking, and extreme points of view.

We can start to get more concerned than we are about the handful of profit-making companies that can adjudicate and "unperson" us at will: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and yes, LinkedIn as well.

To have a real idea, an idea worth having, you must be able to focus in a lucid and sharp manner on whatever it is you care about. But your mind cannot be free to do this when you, personally, are distracted by noise-(literal noise, as in the kind you hear with your ears), or the endless flow of garbage "information" that floods your inbox every day.

Your mind cannot be free to focus on anything if you have no place to sit, and think privately, in peace. We would do well as a society to invest in such places; it is beyond sad that many of us don't even know where the local library is, or why you'd go there.

It goes without saying that we benefit in every kind of way, including financially, from being around creative people. So we must encourage them to be a little bit "crazy," and not just in a token way--like really, leave the Play-doh at home--but in a serious way.

The day we prioritize creativity is the day we turn all corners of this planet into a safe and flowering paradise. We get there by critically reviewing every institution and its operations, asking the question: "Does this place make people free to grow and learn and contribute, or not?"

We get where we need to be as a world by studying the countries and the companies and the schools that generate a maximum return on investment from creativity, and we write down what they do and then we repeat those habits over, and over and over again.

One day, with God's help, we will invent the solutions that permanently end disease, malnutrition, homelessness and more. It will happen because He wills it--speaking through the seeming "brainstorms" of man. By supporting creativity intelligently as a society, we can make this happen faster than anybody ever thought possible.

_____________________

Copyright 2018 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Creative Commons photo by turnitsu via Pixabay.

Human Trafficking Arrests Are Up. Now, It’s Time for Disclosure.


People are impatient for the arrests to begin but they may not realize just how much is underway. Specifically, an analysis of the running list of human trafficking-related arrests at Qmap.pub/kids revealed that arrests have jumped 234% in slightly more than a year and a half.

That’s significant.

The anonymous Patriots at Qmap (so named because the site focuses on what #QAnon is telling us about current events) have been collecting headlines about human trafficking related arrests beginning on the day President Trump was inaugurated and continuing through the present. The purpose of this post is to highlight the progress that has been made thus far.

Before we do that, let’s consider briefly how the data is limited:
  • It does not go back in time to compare the current level and quality of arrests with prior years. A number of efforts within the Federal government to combat human trafficking date as far back as 2000.
  • We don’t have the criteria used to determine which arrests were worth including.
  • All arrests count as one unit, but it would be preferable to weight them such that nationwide stings; high-number arrests; child sex trafficking arrests/child pornography arrests; and arrests of authorities get a heavier weighting.
All that said, it seems that the trajectory is extremely positive. 
  • We are only three-fourths of the way into 2018, and if the current trend continues, the number of arrests is likely to go up significantly by year’s end.
  • In April 2018, after a legal war that took many years, against deep-pocketed entities, the online classified ad space/sex market known as Backpage.com was finally shut down by the U.S. government.
Nevertheless, despite these successes, human trafficking remains a horrific crime, deadly and exploding, bringing in an estimated $32 billion per year in revenue worldwide — more than illegal drugs. The plague affects somewhere between 600–800,000 people per year that we know of, 70% of whom are female, 50% of whom are minors. The vast majority, 4 out of 5, are raped over and over and over again as they are victims of sex trafficking.

Screenshot Source: University of San Diego

Already by 2011, Yiota G. Souras, General Counsel and Vice President at The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, testified before Congressthat the past 5 years alone had seen “an 846% increase in reports of suspected child sex trafficking to the CyberTipline.”

The NCMEC also estimates that 1 in 7 runaways are probably child sex trafficking victims, and the vast majority of those — 88% — disappeared from foster care, not from home.
Screenshot source: NCMEC
Clearly, a lot more needs to be done; many suspect that “fox is guarding the henhouse,” and that real progress will begin when we uncover the corruption that gives us token progress, but not a full and complete stop to this global disease.

To that end, while victim restitution efforts are laudable, they don’t dismantle the infrastructure that enables child sex trafficking to continue.

Part of this will entail using the best tools we have to deter and disrupt criminals. Right now, in Montana, CIA-trained analysts are using their skills to do just that.

But there is another tactic we have to make use of, and one that people in power tend to avoid because it creates such “messy” situations. This is, of course, the part where we name names: the part where the full force and weight of law enforcement is employed to disclose to us “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” about just how it is that America’s children — along with the precious children of other Nations, all over the world — have somehow become the world’s most lucrative cash crop.

______

Copyright by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. The author hereby releases this content into the public domain.

Search This Blog