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    Creativity: A Crime Of Passion
    By Andrea Kuszewski | December 12th 2009 07:39 PM | 46 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Andrea

    Andrea is a Behavior Therapist and Consultant for children on the autism spectrum, residing in the state of FL; her background is in cognitive

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    Creativity seems to be the "buzz word" of the 2000s. Society values it, companies need it, and employers want it. Or do they? What society claims to want and what is actually rewarded in practice are two different things. We claim to want innovation, but are innovation and creativity actually encouraged, or even allowed in most environments? What types of creative behaviors are rewarded by society, and what types are punished?

    I wrote an article several months back titled, "We perform best when no one tells us what to do", in which I discussed a TED talk given by Dan Pink, on the Economics of Motivation. In his talk, and reiterated in my article, the notion of "unrestricted thinking" is credited with an increase in creative productivity, while strict guidelines, inflexible ideologies, and focus solely on monetary incentives contribute to a decline of creative output. I feel that creativity is such an important topic, that it deserves a more elaborate discussion about the way it is rewarded and punished by society.

    Recently, Michael wrote a fantastic article about the funding practices in scientific research, which touched upon this same idea. Too often, we are given mixed messages from society about what behaviors are expected and valued. Creativity is supposed to be a good thing, something we aspire to achieve. However, those who are the most creative are often faced with the worst treatment and the most rejection for their ideas. To put it simply, people in positions of authority and management generally like and value those who follow rules. It is much easier to maintain order when everyone is following the rules. Breaking rules = bad. Right? But in order to be truly creative, you must break rules. That is what creativity entails. So do we want order, or do we want creativity? Can we have both?

    Society's mixed signals about the value of creativity, begins early on in school. There have been countless studies, too many to cite here, on teacher opinions of creative behavior in classrooms. In one example, a study by Westby and Dawson looked at characteristics of creative and non-creative students, then asked teachers to rate their favorite and least favorite students based on those traits.

    First, teachers were asked if they valued creativity and enjoyed working with creative students, and they overwhelmingly answered "yes". Next, they were asked to look at their own students and rate them on a variety of traits, ranging from highly creative traits, such as being determined, independent, individualistic, impulsive, and likely to take risks, to traits that are associated with low levels of creativity, such as peaceable, reliable, tolerant, steady, and practical. After they rated their students on these traits, they were asked to rate them from their least favorite to most favorite students.

    Interestingly, there was a significant negative correlation between the degree of creativity of the student and his favorable rating by the teachers. This means that the most creative students were the least favorite of the teachers, across the entire sample surveyed. Additionally, the students that were rated as favorites of the teachers possessed traits that would seem counter-productive to creative behavior, such as conformity and unquestioning acceptance of authority. On the other hand, these are behaviors that fit well in a classroom setting. Even back in 1975, Feldhusen and Treffinger reported that 96% of teachers felt that creativity should be promoted in the classroom. However, when asked which students they actually liked to teach, they chose the students that were more compliant. Why the inconsistency?

    Teachers say they want creativity, but that is not the behavior that is rewarded. In this study (as well as in many others), they found that there is a discrepancy between what teachers, and schools in general, say they value and desire, and what behaviors they actually reward and encourage. Teachers don't want the student who is always raising their hand and questioning the assignment; they want the student who unquestioningly follows the outline given to them and turns the assignment in on time. After all, what a hassle it would be to allow a student to creatively revise an assignment, even if the new method still met the project objectives. Any type of questioning of the pre-set format is viewed as challenging and defiant behavior. Bad.

    Unfortunately, once you leave school, society does not get much more supportive of really creative behavior. The most highly valued employees are the ones who blindly accept the ideology of the company, don't challenge authority, and do the work that is required of them, no questions asked. But how is this unconditional conformity supposed to leave any room for creativity and innovation? Don't we as a society want creativity?  How are we supposed to engage in creative behaviors when we are constantly being reprimanded, down-graded, fired, or just plain disliked, for thinking outside of the corporate box?

    If people never questioned the norm or challenged convention, there would never be any advancement in this world. Sadly, the most passionately creative types that end up providing the world with the most innovative ideas are the ones (at least initially) who are met with the most resistance from the status quo. It is a human trait to resist change. We like things to be steady and predictable. It gives us comfort. But sometimes we need to put up with being a little uncomfortable in order to get to the place where real innovation and creativity happens.

    This may sound like I am advocating rule-breaking. And in a way, I am. But it is selective and purposeful rule-breaking that serves to advance ideas or thinking about a situation, in order to come up with a new solution to a persisting problem. There is a difference between rule-breaking for selfish purpose (illegal motive) and rule-breaking for creative purpose (idea advancement). The social outcome of the rule-breaking process has a major role in determining the appropriateness of the behavior. In a new paper on the psychological similarities and differences in the rule-breaking processes of creativity and illegality, it has been proposed that:

    "If social benefits result from breaking the rule, then creativity happens. If there are not social benefits, or if social welfare is being diminished as a result of the rule-breaking process, then illegality may be happening." (Salcedo-Albaran, Kuszewski, De Leon-Beltran and Garay, 2009, "Rule-Breaking From Creativity to Illegality")

    I know it sounds like a slippery slope, and at times it is, which is why creative rule-breakers often suffer the same consequences as criminal rule-breakers. Additionally, at times criminal rule-breakers get away with illegal activity because their actions are within the set parameters of the rules which may not be practical or ethical. So how can we tell the difference? Is it subjective?

    All creative behaviors are not the same, even within domains. As well as different types of creativity across domains, such as linguistic, figural, mathematical, and so forth, there is also a difference in the degree to which creative behaviors or ideas change the existing paradigm, irregardless of the domain it stems from.

    In the Propulsion Theory of Creativity, Robert Sternberg, PhD, a prominent researcher in the field of creativity, defines types of creativity, and the degree of acceptance or rejection of those ideas, given the degree in which the creative idea shifts thinking from the status quo to a new direction. He describes creativity as propulsion in this excerpt from his book, "Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized":

    "A creative contribution represents an attempt to propel a field from wherever it is to wherever the creator feels it should go. Thus, creativity is by nature propulsion. It moves a field from some point to another. It also always represents a decision to exercise leadership. The creator tries to bring others to a particular point in the multidimensional creative space. The attempt may or may not succeed. There are different kinds of creative leadership that the creator may attempt to exercise, depending on how he or she decides to be creative."

    According to Sternberg, there are eight types of creative contributions. These eight types are divided into three major categories, ones that accept current paradigms, ones that reject current paradigms, and one that attempts to integrate multiple current paradigms into a new one. Here is the basic breakdown:

    Types of creativity that accept current paradigms and attempt to extend them:

    1. Replication
    2. Redefinition
    3. Forward Incrementation
    4. Advance Forward Incrementation

    Types of creativity that reject current paradigms and attempt to replace them:

    5. Redirection
    6. Reconstruction/Redirection
    7. Reinitiation

    A type of creativity that merges disparate current paradigms:

    8. Integration

    Within these subtypes of creative contributions, some are more likely than others to be accepted. Unsurprisingly, types of creative ideas that attempt to shift the current paradigm to a new direction (mainly types 6, 7, and 8) are less likely to be accepted than one that makes incremental forward progress within the same paradigm. This "attempted shifting of the current paradigm" is usually what is considered to be "breaking the rules", and the type that is most punished and discouraged.

    So really, what we are being told is, "be creative, but not TOO creative". Any creative ideas that attempt to shift the current paradigm or reject a paradigm completely are usually driven by extreme passion, and almost always met with some type of resistance from society. We are left with the choice of (1) give up on our ideas, or (2) put up a hell of a fight to defend them.  Those who decide to stand their ground and fight for their creative ideas are the ones who are generally seen as "rule-breakers", "rebels", "trouble-makers", or simply, "obnoxious". And the ideas generated by those individuals are generally the most creative, innovative, and necessary ideas to support.

    To appease the masses, we could water-down the extremity of our ideas to fit into the creative categories of ideas that just support incremental forward progress, to maintain more of the status quo. Society would probably be more accepting of less radical, mediocre ideas versus ones that shake up the current ideology. So in a sense, to be a "good, peaceable member of society", one that teachers love and employers want, the best we should strive for is to reach the highest level of mediocrity possible.

    Personally, I would rather don the riot gear, face the firestorm of resistance from society, and stay true to my creative and purposeful selective rule-breaking behaviors. While we need more people who are willing to face the firestorm and stand up for their creative ideas, the real change needs to come from society itself. Society needs to have flexibility and tolerance in situations where breaking rules is necessary and provides a clear social benefit, instead of treating the passionate innovators of the world as common criminals.

    As in the words of Magyari-Beck (1991),

    "Individuals can successfully practice their creativity if and only if there are no substantial obstacles in the society preventing them from their creative work."

    Comments

    Watering down creativity to satisfy the masses? Never.

    When creativity is meant to be come into reality then GordonMacKenzie's "Orbiting the Giant Hairball" applies pretty much. Don't go too far away with your creative ideas from current reality. Just stay connected a bit, like a space shuttle that is going into space but being able re-enter again. Be loosely connected and probe to which extend your creativity makes sense to others.

    Put up enough creative tension (as RobertFritz calls it) to make the others jump towards your ideas by themselves as the see the "What is in it for me" for themselves.

    I suspect in the past, others have run into similar problems as well:

    Those who by valorous ways become princes … acquire a principality with difficulty, but they keep it with ease.

    Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter 6: Concerning new Principalities which are Acquired by One's Own Arms and Ability

    Gerhard Adam
    I think that creativity also needs to be better defined and qualified when engaged in this kind of discussion.  Many people think they are immensely creative and simply aren't.  Some people think that being creative simply means making up things.

    Similarly when processes in business or other enterprises require some evidence of workability and it simply isn't reasonable to expect that everything be turned upside down because people want to express their creativity.  In most cases, when a new or better idea can be demonstrated there isn't much problem in being recognized for being creative.  However, if the status quo is simply supposed to accept change because someone has been designated as being creative, then you would certainly expect some resistance.

    I've run into many "creative" individuals that actually possessed no such ability, but simply lacked the experience to see the flaws in their ideas.  Such dead-ends are not productive, creative, nor helpful.

    The sad reality is that most people simply aren't as talented or creative as they fancy themselves to be.  Fortunately, in this country (the U.S.) there are usually ample opportunities to take your creativity and channel it however you see fit in your own business or other efforts.   However, regardless of the degree to which one may be creative, there is still no guarantee that an individual's ideas have actual merit or elicit interest. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    adaptivecomplexity
    I think you can make a distinction between being creative - perhaps a more broad category - and being original, or very talented. Someone who is not very original may still derive a lot of personal satisfaction from working in a creative mode.
    But I agree with you that most of us think we're a lot more original and talented than we are.
    Mike
    IIRC, Piet Hein, a very creative person, called it well...

    "Freedom means you're free to do,
    Just whatever pleases you...
    If, of course, that is to say,
    What you please is what you may."

    What I have found is that employers want the benefits of a creative person but don't want to have to deal with other personality quirks that also come in the package, such working non traditional hours or dressing/behaving out of the norm. I always found it impossible to get hired for my creative writing and marketing ideas but in the same action, be told I'd have to wear suits, arrive at exactly 8 am, and take my lunch break exactly at noon. Stuff like that stifles creativity in even the most brilliant person.

    Hank
    From the company's perspective, employees who want to be paid to be part of a team but need to have everyone else work around their quirks is not that great a fit either.    So there needs to be a balance.   If I interview a graphic design person and they tell me they have to wear shorts to work and can't show up until 11, I think their quirks are more important than my company - and I write the checks.

    The obvious solution is, of course, to work for yourself as many creative people do.   Then you just get paid by the project and when you work or what you wear is up to you.
    Gerhard Adam
    Of course another consideration is that quirks do not necessarily equate to creativity.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Wabidon
    Nope ; I would wear what the company would want and be on time every day . The only problem is 10 years ago I stretched my ear lobe 2.5 inches, and it will not shrink back , so I have ended up working for myself . 

    I remember the two years getting my BA in Organizational Management a lot was always about being creative ,innovation and team work.

    I see it as a joy and wanting to or in a desperate situation when you have too.

    Don
    Andrea:

    I am delighted to see that you have found your footing in Boston. Your idea that creativity is both desired and (perhaps) shunned by society is both brilliant and timeless. There is the neuromythology that creativity is tinged with a "touch of madness" - which, perhaps, puts it at arms length from proper discourse among polite company. And yet, we seek that germ of an idea that will catch fire and propel the world forward. This idea inevitably means that we will break some crockery and piss some people off. Thomas Kuhn describes the natural tension between "normal" and "paradigmatic" pursuits and the NIH is the epitome of "normal" science. How do we create an environment wherein we can cultivate these folks who desire to tilt at windmills (sorry lots of mixed metaphors)?

    Rex

    Hank
    I think the answer to the creativity issue is less government funding.  Once the government gradually took over Big Science, post World War II, it became what the government would fund and less about new ideas.    It isn't to say we don't have home runs but they happen when it leaves the government and becomes about commerce, like the Internet.

    Having been through the DARPA process once or twice, I have zero confidence the government should be as big as it is in basic research much less expected to allow creativity.  Not because I didn't get funding from them - I could get funding from lots of other places - but because they gave the money to multi-billion dollar companies, which means the government is subsidizing corporations (including universities) who used to do it themselves for competitive reasons.

    I wrote an article a while back arguing for prizes rather than grants but the response was science is too expensive now.   In India they are making $4 microscopes for students and we can't do anything for under $500K, we are told.  In Astronomy, amateur astronomers beat NASA to the punch all of the time.
    Wabidon
    Hi Hank, I'm 53 years old and had some education under my belt , Technical college A.A. and a two year Dipl. and few other small studies . I decided to go more academic and got my B.A. at a university , and over the two years I got a little tired of all the new books and teaching on how to be creative and innovative . The same was taught on leadership and the methods and types of leadership . A lot of money spent teaching to be creative and how to lead . 

    You mention universities ; I do find them as very competitive and like corporations each with its own special offer and unique quality to attract the student . I am stuck were I am getting my master degree because the way once your in there and accepted what they have it is difficult unless you have the cash to go to another school. I will make the best of it and eat the meat and spit out the grit.

    India , way ahead in education I believe , in learning English ,enrolling in College and like you mention the microscopes.

    Over-all Hank , funding should go to science is my feeling and not to teach adult students ,young adults on how to be creative and to be a leader (  so repetitive ) . It was not worth the $$$$$ or whatever it cost for 2 yrs. of college and part the government subsidizes and even gives grants (free money) . 

    adaptivecomplexity
    I think the answer to the creativity issue is less government funding.
    More and more I'm coming around to this point of view. I think the massive increase in the competition for money over the last 10-15 years (follow the link I put up in this post) has had a very negative impact on the willingness of the biomedical community to fund higher-risk/higher-payoff work. The problem, however, isn't the cost of research technology - costs of DNA sequencing, arrays, flow cytometers, etc. have dropped incredibly fast in the past 10 years. I think a major problem is the lack of biomedical research career training tracks other than PhD programs. If I'm interested in computer hardware engineering, I can get a degree in engineering and go have a great career at Intel. If I'm interested in doing drug discovery, I have to go to through a long PhD program. So people who aren't necessarily interested in a traditional academic career go through a long academic training route anyway. They come out of that training program primed to compete for NIH grants, even if their research might be a better fit in an industry setting. Because of all of the federal money available, so much 'routine' research gets done at universities, when it would be better accomplished outside academia. (I'm not being negative here when I say routine - I mean useful research that hews closely to well-established paradigms.)
    Mike
    Possibly with myself; I just went two years of repetitive learning about being creative and innovation and I am naturally creative ,an artist and innovative, and it was boring after awhile; I made myself enjoy it . The part I see that is wonderful is that good firms or companies allowing their employees to be creative and share their ideas. An organization must have a way of communication with employees, and unlike the old ways of the assembly line; that you do your work and cannot have no input, there must be a way to be innovative for employees more . It works both ways- a person can learn or be creative but they must need a place to allow them too; with space to fail and little cost to the organization.

    Andrea Kuszewski
    Hey Rex... good to hear from you! I hear what you are saying about inevitably pissing people off as we break convention in a quest for the next big idea that will change the world. It is ironic; society demands output from creative people, yet they are not willing to allow the creative process that is necessary in order to generate those ideas. You end up fighting your way to the forefront in battle armor, clenching your ideas with a death-grip, and then once you finally get there, society says, "Umm, I don't know. That isn't an accepted way of looking at this problem." But then 5 years later, after you've been bloodied and kicked around for a while for having an original idea, and after getting people on-board with your idea painstakingly one by one, someone in a position of power finally comes along and says, "Ok, that makes sense now, because enough people agree with you. We are ready to accept your explanation to the problem." And they act as if they never made your life hell for the last 5 years while they waited for your idea to become trendy.

    (Maybe I have a little personal experience, do you think?)

    To answer your last question, I am working on that, and probably will be for the rest of my career. We need more people like myself who are academic and intellectual masochists, willing to take a beating for the sake of creativity and innovation because we believe it's that important. I am stubborn, opinionated, driven, and I refuse to give up on creative ideation just because much of the world (including NIH) is full of linear, inflexible thinkers, more concerned with quantity of publications rather than actually generating new ideas and good, innovative science. And I think I am starting to develop callouses on my ego, so that is a good thing. I am ready to fight the good fight.
    I've got lost in the topic and even changed my discussion subject and went with Hank about science ;but I see you have worked very hard .

    "Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds." - Albert Einstein Quotes

    Hank
    I like that more and more people are getting back to creativity and focusing less on making the scientific method shackles.   Mark just did an article today on indifference in creativity too.    Maybe this will be the decade that science gets bold again - it will accomplish excitement in science in a way that ad campaigns and quotas never will.
    Wabidon
    I am not a scientist but an enthusiast - late in getting my education . Without great scientist like Newton and Einstein I am not sure were we would be today ? Their "empirical data " we still can rely on, it will always be here.
    Albert Einstein wrote " as soon as science has emerged from its initial stages , theoretical advances are no longer achieved merely by a process of arrangement. Guided by empirical data ,the investigator rather develops a system of thought which, in general ,is built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions ,the so called axioms".

    Reference
    Einstein, A. (2005) .Relativity : The Special and General Theory. NC: Hayes Barton Press.

    Don

      
    Gerhard Adam
    In reading through these posts again, it struck me that much of the problem doesn't actually have anything to do with creativity or innovation.  Clearly the assumption being made is that the individual being creative is been charged with finding/proposing a solution to particular problems (or at least it's part of their job) and consequently may be stifled by higher-level decision makers.

    It seems that the issue here is risk aversion and job security.  In effect, many people making political or financial decisions don't have the necessary technical background to make some of the decisions that they are charged with.  As a result, they must rely on others to make recommendations.  However, this creates a fundamental problem, especially when there is a strong perception that careers may hang in the balance, as to how much risk such a decision-maker is willing to incur.

    If there is a long history between the decision makers and an individual then perhaps a creative solution will be more readily considered.  However,  most people in business will readily concede that it is hard to get fired by taking a safer more prudent course of action.  As a result, we tend to breed a culture of risk aversion rather than risk taking.  While the creative individual may feel that they are being stifled by such attitudes, it is even worse for those that must place their trust in such individuals for their own livelihood.

    So while it may be difficult to sell a creative solution, consider that if you are wrong, how many other people may need to explain their position in having backed your choice.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Wabidon
    I think I understand what you are saying Gerhard . And Hank mentioned it in an earlier post "most people who are creative work for themselves ".

    Today it is a little better in business than years ago and organizations are going to teams and trying to open doors for employees to be more creative ; however the risk factors still exist . The CEO can be the most innovative and a entrepreneur because he or she is not always there for very long a lot of times and paid in advance ; and can sometimes afford the risk .

    Buisness has to become creative or innovative to keep up with competition , it should be planned and proactive but sometimes it must be a quick change .

    Saw something on CBS Sunday morning that may be of interest in the further discussion of Creativity. Here is the text version

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/10/sunday/main6078280.shtml

    This is a terrible time in history to be a creative person. Even academia, which is supposed to promote creative thinking, has become highly restrictive and exclusive. To give you an example of what I'm talking about, if Albert Einstein tried to publish his papers on the special and general theories of relativity today, they wouldn't even be read just by virtue of the fact that he was a patent clerk, third class.

    I found my experience throughout elementary school and high school as well as my freshman and sophomore years in college, extremely stifling and boring. I hated school! It wasn't until my junior year in college when I was able to express some originality in thought and was encouraged by many of my professors that I started enjoying school. But how many creative individuals ever even make it to that point in our school system? I can tell you. The national rate of high school drop-outs is 2 out of 3 students. In the state in which I currently reside, namely Indiana, the high school drop-out rate is 3 out of 4 students--that's 75% of kids who don't even have a high school diploma in a high-tech society such as ours. Obviously we're doing something very wrong. It saddens me to know that my generation had the greatest percentage of college graduates in the history of this country. And, that was 25% of the nation--only 1/4 of us from my generation have college degrees, and that's the highest percentage per capita ever! Pretty bad!

    It terms of rule breaking, I'm one of the biggest rule breakers that ever lived. There is, however, something on which I would like to comment.
    There is a difference between rule-breaking for selfish purpose (illegal motive) and rule-breaking for creative purpose (idea advancement).
    For the most the most part I agree with what's being said here. The only thing I think needs modification is the locution "(illegal motive)". I would prefer to replace it with '(immoral motives)', and I'll explain why.

    The philosopher St. Augustine once wrote:

    An unjust law is no law at all.

    which is something that I agree with wholeheartedly. Certainly the Civil Rights movement of the 60s is a clear instantiation of this. When laws are in direct violation of moral principles, then it is our duty to challenge those laws. Even Plato in one of his dialogues recognized this (it's been awhile since I read the works of Plato--over 30 years, in fact--so I don't remember precisely which dialogue it was). So, in this case in which we're dealing with immoral laws, then it is acceptable for "rule-breaking" to reach the level of "law-breaking".

    I realize that this is highly problematic since the criteria for what is moral and what is not is purely subjective. There is no a priori system of morality, as Kant would have like to have achieved in the Metaphysics of Morals, in particular the Categorical Imperative, upon which we can rely. All we have are our consciences upon which to rely. Unfortunately, that's the way it is, and we have to muddle through as best we can.

    Thank you, Andi for such a thought provoking article! : )
    MarshallBarnes
    Eric and Andrea:
    I think the article is excellent and actually is a reflection of the entirety of my adult life. Eric, I agree that now is a difficult time to be a creative person but it is also these kinds of times when the most creative can thrive by out thinking, outwitting, and just creative problem solving. It has to do with motivation and drive. When society, or some kind of establishment, attempts to restrict or suppress the really creative person, then their response (if they are highly motivated) is to look for the weakness in that effort and exploit it. The establishment, usually because it is in power and entrenched, usually feels that they are invulnerable and that is their downfall. 

    This is where Andrea's analysis comparing creativity with the criminal minded come in. I invented a term called ignorant arrogance which I use to describe the empowered who think they know everything and no one can tell them anything and that they can exercise what power they have as they see it. The criminal mind has to be creative to try to get around the restrictions that it is up against. The ignorant arrogant in control forget this. They forget that there is a criminal mind trying to learn from the failures of other criminal minds and get over where they failed before. Because the ignorant arrogant are in power and because they are arrogant, they feel that if someone outside their sphere tries to point out something that they missed, that they don't have to listen because, in their arrogant state of mind, they feel they know better than anyone else outside their group.

    I've had personal experience with this kind of behavior a number of times and in a number of industries. The frustrating thing is that this attitude is so prevalent in the pubic safety sector, and it is frustrating because I fear that one of these days I'm going to hear about some incident where there is a loss of life and I'm going to know that it was avoidable because I had tried to warn those in charge but the ignorant arrogant in control didn't listen because they knew better.

    Red cell ops are attempts to prove and improve security measures, but sometimes those aren't enough to make changes because the ignorant arrogant resist change so much that they try to rationalize their way around the results. The opposite attitude was prevalent during WWII, with the creation of the National Defense Research Committee, where the military aggressively  courted scientists and researchers and the creative types to meet the threat of the Axis powers. In the wake of 911, there was some effort by the military to consult with the movie industry and science fiction writers to come up with ideas to try to combat terrorism, but the effort wasn't nearly widespread enough nor the strategy taken very seriously by the appropriate departments, aside froim the DoD.

    As someone who has taught seminars on creativity and have lived by creative code of life, I have a great sense of appreciation for Andrea's article. In the scientific field, particularly in the area of physics, I found Lee Smolin's commentary in his book, The Trouble with Physics, to be especially enlightening, accurate and an endorsement of both my life experience and a validation for Andrea's opening premise. 

    Creativity is the ultimate force that an intelligent being can have. It can be used constructively and destructively, for good and for evil. Despite the difficulties that being creative may bring, the pay-offs for being highly creative are immense and well worth the risks, the struggle and the out and out battles that one may face along the path. But in the end, I wouldn't live my life any other way...
    Andrea, your paper is very nice, and expresses several thoughts that I share regarding barriers to innovation in a different way that I talk about in my blog post on “theory of mind vs. theory of reality”.

    http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2008/10/theory-of-mind-vs-theory-of-reali...

    I think that the most important attribute needed by an innovator is the ability to resist the peer pressure of people telling her/him that he/she is wrong. This is the “illegality” of breaking social norms and the ability to not do what everyone else is doing. I think that breaking of social norms is why creative people experience the negative effects you discuss. I have written up something on that too.

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=276440179328

    I see both of these things in terms of physiology and neurology. I come at both of these from an autism perspective. I think the communication difficulties are to provide people with Asperger's, the mental space to ignore the conventional wisdom and figure out new ways of doing things. I think the bullying that many people on the autism spectrum experience is due to the triggering of xenophobia via the uncanny valley effect.

    so you stumbled your piece (excerpted) on my blog-- very tricky :-)

    It's made my traffic go through the roof.

    I'm glad your piece is getting more attention as it's very good indeed. I was feeling kind of guilty being that it's an excerpt of your piece, I thought the person should have come here and stumbled...now I see method to madness... :-)

    I will have to study the links further. I have been intrigued by James Marsh's management division of "Explore and Exploit" -- Exploring is finding new ways, like R&D, to do things, while Exploiting is implementing known strengths -- selling product, all business as usual. This also has a lot to do with Uncertainty and Certainty. I recently heard a podcast about how to facilitate brainstorming. I realized, as a creative person, my "problem" is a constant state of brainstorming, in which decisions are forestalled sometimes indefinitely, held off to keep open the possibility of newer ideas.

    Forestalled conclusions = Uncertainty, a state of "Explore," non-directed action;
    Foregone conclusions = certainty => readiness to "Exploit" = profit from one's talents.

    Connie Michener

    A really cool website I found is by a freelance designer who has all kinds of innovative ideas . Proof by example. http://justcreativedesign.com/

    Michael Porter did some key work ( Strategic Management) : http://hbr.org/

    A good book to have is Called "Strategic Management :Formulation,Implementation, and Control " . By John Pearce and Richard Robinson . Without the case -studies the book is about 500 pages with the case studies 1000 pgs.

    thx for the spam, bucko.

    Too many trite or false statements. "To appease the masses, we could water-down the extremity of our ideas to fit into the creative categories of ideas that just support incremental forward progress, to maintain more of the status quo." Oh please. "appease the masses"? Can we drop the teenager "I'm not part of society" attitude? Get it: your counter-culture is a culture itself. "The most highly valued employees are the ones who blindly accept the ideology of the company, don't challenge authority, and do the work that is required of them, no questions asked. " Groan. Have you ever worked at a prototypical faceless corporation? I have (a well-known aerospace firm). It wasn't a hotbed of radical discourse, but it was far from a drone army. My manager (with a PhD in aerospace engineering) accepted my differing ideas on solving engineering problems and wrote me a glowing recommendation afterward. "Society needs to have flexibility and tolerance in situations where breaking rules is necessary and provides a clear social benefit, instead of treating the passionate innovators of the world as common criminals. " Examples? I come from a engineering background, maybe I'm too square for this statement to be self-evident. How and where are creative people treated as criminals? You're a creative person presumably; have you been considered a criminal for your beliefs?

    I used to be a highly imaginative, creative and inspired person. But lately, I don't know.....everything seems so boring, for lack of a better term. And every time I have had any involvement with academia since the 80s, I end up regreting it and have walked away feeling used and as though I have completely wasted my time.

    I used to draw and paint. I don't do that anymore. I used to write poetry. I don't do that anymore. I used to take my telescope out and gaze at the heavens. I don't do that anymore. I used to read about the latest in geology and astronomy. I don't do that anymore either. Everything seems so mundane and redundant. And sometimes I think that there is something wrong with me.

    I haven't written any articles lately because I feel like, what's the point. I had to drink almost a gallon of wine to write my last article and that is the worst piece of garbage I've ever written.

    When I write articles, I feel that I have to dumb them down, because if I use technical nomenclature, most people are not going to understand what the heck I'm talking about. But then that gets me in trouble with some of the professionals here, so I have to explain why I put things the way I did. I mean, I'm going to be straight with you all. If I wrote about plate tectonics or orogeny on my level with the nomenclature I'm used to, I doubt if very many of you would understand what the heck I was talking about. The same is true with astrophysics. It's one thing to write things for your peers, but quite another to write for both professionals in other disciplines and around a million other folks about whom I know absolutely nothing.

    This was the way I felt when I left academia in the 80s--like I was going no where and everything I was doing was meaningless. I hate to say it, but universities have become exactly like corporations--at least the major research institutions like UIC, which is where I was at, and I simply can't work in a environment like that.

    That's my two-cents for the day.
    It's actually more than that. It's hard to focus on things like geology or astrophysics or art when I know that there are kids killing each other out on the streets and our society has been in a slow decline for many decades. It's hard to be creative when you know there's no future either for this nation or the world at large--at least no future I'd want to live in. And if you can't feel hope for the future generations that will follow you, what is there about which to be inspired? I mean let's cut through the B.S. The world is going to Hell in a hand basket and we all know it! So, why do we pretend that we're making the world a better place through our efforts? Things have simply gone too far and there's no reversing it--at least not by any of us. Nature will take care of the problems we've created. But nature is an equal opportunity killer, and it has no problem whatsoever with genocide.

    High-tech world? Yeah right! Half of our infrastructure in this country is dilapidated and coming apart at the seams. For example, many bridges across the country are ready to collapse. But we don't have the money to pay to fix our rotting infrastructure. You know why? Because it all went to that stupid war in Iraq, to China and a bunch of irresponsible corrupt banking institutions.

    So, what is there to be inspired about?

    P.S.
    I'm not usually this open in a forum such as this--at least not sober. And, I am sober tonight! I don't know what's gotten in to me.
    Gerhard Adam
    And if you can't feel hope for the future generations that will follow you, what is there about which to be inspired? I mean let's cut through the B.S. The world is going to Hell in a hand basket and we all know it!


    Eric

    At the risk of being a bit out of line, I'm going to call you this sentiment.

    In the first place, the world has ALWAYS been going to hell in a hand basket. Every organism on this planet gets out every day with nothing more to loook forward to than to survive another day.  Sometimes they don't make it, but they never stop trying.  They don't do it out of some heroic sense, but rather because that's what life is.  It is nothing more than the chance to survive one more day.

    As humans we have the ability to understand more about our environment than any other species, and so we also have the ability to begin to question why things aren't better or different.  But the truth is that they're already perfect.  What more could one expect from a system such as this except to be given a fair chance to survive one more day?

    Our primitive ancestors did exactly the same thing, which is precisely why you're here today.  They didn't go into space, or control genetics, or explore the quantum world.  They did something far more important ... they survived so that you would have the same chance.

    Sure we can get angry at the ignorance and destruction of such a natural environment by people that don't appreciate what they have, but in the end, no matter what happens.  We do our best to survive.  As I said, this isn't out of some noble ideal like when you hear people blithely state "I'm a survivor".  Such people are simply ignorant.  Survival is simply doing the best you can, and sometimes the most unlikely individual will succeed where others fail.  It's the one system we have that cannot be corrupted.  It will operate as it always has, and if that isn't inspiring ... I don't know what is.

    Mundus vult decipi
    You're not out of line, Gerhard. I just don't agree. Yes, I know the world has always been going to hell in a hand basket. The only difference is there have never in the history of our species been so darn many of us on this tiny planet. Sure locally people screwed up their environments to the point where they were no longer sustainable. But there was never enough people to screw things up on such a tremendous scale.

    And if we, supposedly the richest nation in the world, can't even repair simple things like our roads and bridges because we're broke and in big debt, then what's the rest of the world going to do? Did you know that Greece's economy is in such bad shape that they're on the verge of abandoning the Euro and going back to the drachma? And if Greece goes back to its former currency, so then will Spain, Italy, France and Germany, which is pretty much the European Union. The UK economy is so bad that they had to abandon their investment in the Gemini South observatory at the ESO because they simply can't afford to help subsidized the observatory anymore. China has a populace of over 3 billion people, 1 billion of which are still living in abject poverty. The biggest fear of Chinese leaders is that they won't be able to sustain their current economic growth, which they won't, and they will lose control of the country. I don't think I need to say anything about Russia, because we all know what shape they're in. And these are the industrialized nations? What do you think is going to happen in developing third-world countries?

    But I'm not just talking about material things and economies, Gerhard. I'm talking about the decay of the moral fabric of this country. I'm also talking about the failure of our educational system. You have to understand, Gerhard the last 12 years I helped raised two step-sons from age 12 to 24 (they're fraternal twins) so I have a pretty good idea of what's going on with kids today. One made it to college, but in the second half of his SENIOR year of studying engineering he had to drop out because even though he was working 60-80 hours a week plus going to school full-time, he could no longer afford his tuition because 1) a predatory lender was demanding huge payments while he was still in school and 2) the MF with whom he was doing his internship screwed him over royally! We even sent him over $12,000 to help him stay in school, and that still wasn't enough! It was the last quarter of his last year! Now maybe you can understand why I HATE banks, George W. Bush and Richard (the antichrist) Cheney so much.

    The other kid was freeloading off of his mother and me. I tried kicking the bum out on several occasions, because I got tired of helping to support a lazy 24-year-old con-artist. But every time I did his mother would take his side and we fought bitterly over him until I finally had enough and asked my ex-wife for a divorce.

    But do you have any idea what the average teenager is like today? Well, I do! And we have raised a generation of sociopathic monsters! Do you know that most clinical psychologists will not treat teenagers and as a result there is a great shortage of teenage psychologists?

    We have a national high school drop out rate of 2 out of 3 kids in this nation. In Indiana it's 3 out of 4. So you tell me what kind of future this country has when over two-thirds of tomorrow's adults don't even have high school diplomas and are either functionally or totally illiterate and have the morals of a South American drug lord? This is reality, Gerhard!

    So, why should I even bother to write a book when in a few decades there will hardly be anyone left who could even read it, much less understand it?

    I know you think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. If anything, I am understating the problem. It has been said that our children are the future. Well I've got a news flash for you. The damage has already been done. The majority of these kids are already screwed, and they're too stupid to realize it. I'm speaking from first hand experience. And ironically it's the most privileged kids that are the worst. In the affluent suburb of Chicago in which we were living, these kids would drive their SUVs into the city and would line up on the street to buy heroin. My own stepson was dealing drugs for a profit and my own wife didn't believe me when I told her until his brother finally showed my ex-wife where his brother kept his stash. I was ready to have deputy sheriffs lock him up and throw away the key! But again, my ex-wife kept him from experiencing the consequences of his actions. Do you know what the school cop told my ex-wife when she told him about the drug problem in the high school? He told her that if he started doing searches and arresting kids, then he would have to arrest half of the teachers along with them, because they were also using and selling drugs. And this was in one of the best high schools in the state! And you think these kids feel any remorse for selling this poison to other kids? Do you think my step-son did? NO WAY!!! That's reality! That's what's really out there, Gerhard! And I'm sure it's worse now!

    P.S.

    I don't make these kinds of statements lightly, my friend. ;-)
    Gerhard Adam
    Eric

    I understand and appreciate every one of the concerns and problems you've laid out.  I just don't care about them in the same way.  In my philosophical view, I try not to distinguish between what people do and what "nature" does.  As an example, consider the issue of global climate change.  Does it really matter whether it's human caused or a natural cycle?  Are the potential consequences different? 

    It's no different when you consider how people behave within the society, whether it be predatory lenders, or the con-artists, or even the criminals.  I'm certainly not advocating on their behalf, and I certainly don't think there's nothing we should do about them.  However, I also recognize that human nature is to get away with what they can.  So, once again, the onus is on me to deal with my little section of the world, for better or worse.  This is one reason why I argue against laws, because laws aren't intended to protect me as much as they are intended to define what the state is allowed to do in retribution. 

    None of the problems you're describing are necessarily over-stated, nor are they trivial, nor do they have no impact.  The real problem you're describing is your frustration in not being able to shape the outcomes of these events. 

    I also have dealt with raising kids, step-children, and now grandchildren and even my grand-niece.  Despite many things I've read on this site regarding how important science is and how it is problematic in how people are educated, I would argue that a much more important discipline is philosophy.  Philosophy is the discipline that allows us to argue about how we, as individuals, relate to the world around us.  It allows us to determine our own standards of right, wrong, and responsibility.

    It is the one thing that has always allowed me to address my teenagers and help them gain some insight into reality.   Just as a simple example ...  when one of my daughters was 15 yrs old, she wanted to argue about being able to date a 21 yr. old man.  Of course, her argument is that six years wasn't that much difference and that age is just a number, and that love doesn't have such arbitrary boundaries.  So I asked her, if that meant I could expect her to also bring home a nine-year old boy at some point.  She got indignant and said ... "Well NO, he would be too young".  ... case rested ... she got the point and acknowledged it.

    In that case, I was able to influence an outcome, however often we can't.  Things play out as they will, and when it involves loved ones, then it becomes more painful.

    However, my original point is that many of the problems today is that people lack a philosophical grounding in how to live.  Religion has fallen far short of fulfilling that role (by attempting to become science), so we end up with a society that has no boundaries and no way to rationalize our way around it.

    I believe it's Buddhism which suggests that the "cause of all human misery is the resistance to life".  We always think that we know a better way, and that we can change things (or that we should be able to). 

    In my view, humans are already a species on the road to extinction.  It don't view that pessimistically, but rather as a simple statement of fact.  I agree, there isn't likely to be any Star Trek era.  But that's the beauty of what I was telling you before.  It isn't my job to see that these things happen. My job is to do what I do locally to survive.  For me, science is the opportunity to pursue my own interests and answer my own questions.  It doesn't matter whether anyone around me understands it, or accepts it.  It's strictly mine.

    Perhaps some of that knowledge may help me survive, perhaps not.  What matters is that today I'm alive.  Tomorrow I may not be, and whether we like it or not, whatever we know, have done, or care about will mean nothing to us after we're gone.  In many cases, it may not mean much to those we've left behind, but then again, whatever thoughts remain of me after I'm gone... I'm confident of one thing.  When my grandchildren or family think of me, it won't be because of biology, or physics, or mathematics, or computers.  They'll think of me because of some trivially insignificant thing; some thought, some word, some action that they'll remember.

    People will never live up to our expectations.  After all, how can they live up to ours, if we aren't living up to theirs?  We can agonize over it and wish that it would change (although we'd hate that too).  Or, we can go outside, enjoy a beautiful day and be glad we're alive and that we have an opportunity to do whatever we like.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Of course, you're right, my friend. The indifference part of Buddhism has always been the most difficult thing for me to master. I have to remind myself that there's nothing I can do about nature or the insanity of the rest of humankind. LOL ;-)
    Hi Eric ,

    I see that too .

    Thank you, Don. : )
    Amateur Astronomer
    Paradigms always shift on the margins of society. The central regions are much too comfortable, and find no necessity for change. People who want to bring about change must find ways to push the boundaries, without be becoming outsiders. Government funding is not the only limitation. A large part of the college educated elite are not qualified to enact a major change. They read a magazine and copy what other people are doing. In private business you have to go out on the edge to get any thing done. It takes good judgment to avoid going over the edge.

    Creativity does not always require aggression and hostility, or breaking of rules. More often the person who is prepared with a new option and operational plans worked out in advance will be called on to implement it when the conventional wisdom falls short, as it often does. I believe the military does a better job of this than the universities do, because the military has a different way of keeping score on failures and successes.

    A lot of the best scientific research is done by government programs that work outside public view. Government funding does not greatly restrict advancement in science. The government funding controls what can be published and rewarded in public.

    A large part of my career has been spent in developing and implementing technology to prevent disasters from highly dangerous materials. A lot of creative work has been done that was never published. Spontaneous creativity and craving for public recognition are not appropriate in those programs. Also breaking the rules is not wise or even helpful.

    Corporations do a lot of scientific research that is never published anywhere. There are two main streams of research that the best corporate research programs support. The big programs are closely controlled and go through control gates at several stages of cost and complexity. A lot of creativity gets killed in the stage gates, or delayed long enough to shift the credit of discovery to a different group. The consolation of losing a program in this way, as I have done several times, is that the gate managers value it highly enough to steal it. There are remedies for all of these things. One is to keep good records, write a proper laboratory notebook and get it witnessed promptly. Another remedy is to write good reports and proposals within the archive program. A third remedy is to file spare copies under categories that look dull and uninteresting.

    In the corporate world a standard response to new ideas is to laugh the creator into science, then delay the progress in bureaucracy, and send someone sneaky around to decide if there is something worth stealing. It happens in corporations, universities, and government agencies. The passion for control of technology is combined with a long history of trying to get something for nothing, and sometimes succeeding. One colleague once left a phony lab notebook for others to find and plagiarize, but the management reacted so fiercely that it was never done again.

    My favorite remedy is to recruit a small informal group under the sponsorship of a forward looking manager, and implement a new program in small installments within the authority of one of the operational managers. This is the second stream that bypasses the worst features of the stage gates, but still get the full treatment of safety and environmental protection. It used to be called the side gate, or the underground movement, or a skunk works, but now it is called stealth creativity.

    When the results are delivered to the peers, and the informal group has done a very good job delivering something truly astonishing, the peers listen politely, say nothing, and leave quietly when the meeting is over. The greatest difficulty in making a permanent improvement from creativity of informal groups is in the technical auditing to make sure the success is not lost in a mistake of a computerized accounting system.
    Hi Mr Decker ,

    I seem to have some understanding about what you are saying " Corporations do a lot of scientific research that is never published anywhere" .
    " Spontaneous creativity and craving for public recognition are not appropriate in those programs. Also breaking the rules is not wise or even helpful."
    Creative people in history and leaders did not set out to be seen by the public and get recognition but were creative because that is what they liked to do , artists and poets some of the most famous did not become famous until after they had died .Great scientists had a curiosity, desire and were inspired within themselves to find a solution and did not do their research to get their name in a magazine. Many inventions have been discovered out of frustration because a person needed a better solution to a problem. I liked your post Mr. Decker .

    Aitch
    I too, like your post, Jerry
    In a word, finesse!
    Aitch
    Fred Phillips
    Those who have a passion for creativity just have to pay the price, in terms of social ostracism and reduced income. 1% of 'em may sell paintings for a million or get a $1M advance on a novel. (During their lifetime!) Not saying it's right, just the way it is.

    There's creativity, and then there's simple deviance and self-indulgence. We're not too clear on the distinction.

    All 8 categories of creativity depend on mastering the rules before breaking them. None of the 8 can be achieved simply by ignoring all the rules. This is why Picasso and others of his caliber struggled through basic life-drawing classes just like everyone else.

    Extraordinarily detailed research proposals (everything I'm gonna do, plus complete details about how I'm gonna do it) are regarded as good proposals, and are the ones that get funded. This causes researchers to brush against the ethical issue of asking for funds to do research they've already completed! And of course these detailed plans leave little room for creative divergence.

    As I just served on a review panel a week ago, the latter issue is at the top of my mind and most bothersome.
    When I was in the 7th grade, I gave a book report on the Pearl S. Buck novels The Good Earth and Sons. For that offense, my teacher called a conference with my parents, and told them that I was banned from the public library, and thereafter everything that I read had to pass her censorship. I was required to read and report on kiddie books because my teacher didn't want a precocious reader in her classroom. My parents went along with that punishment because it wasn't their lives that my teacher was fucking up, and, like her, they didn't give a shit about classic literature. I knew that my teacher was punishing me for being too intellectual, and there was nothing that I could do about it. My parents demanded that I tell the priest in Confession that I had been reading "adult books."

    I had a similar experience when I was a sophomore in high school. I was punished by a group of English teachers who had welcomed me (I had earned a reputation for my literary readings) to read to a class of several hundred Freshmen. My reading was from Ovid's Art of Love. It was not at all about sex; it was about love, sincerity, and loyalty. I got a standing ovation from the students, and then I got a brutal humiliation and punishment from the teachers after the students left. I became convinced that the public schools are about brainwashing and conformity, not about learning, critical thinking, or creativity. I decided that I would never have children unless I could provide them with a positive education - not the "dumbing down" process I had witnessed and experienced in the public schools. And that is one of the chief reasons that I have never had children.

    I became disgusted with high school and I stopped trying - I needed 19 credits to graduate, and I only earned 18. Ten years later I enrolled at a community college, where I got perfect scores in all my exams in Biology and Anatomy and Physiology. The head of the Science Department said that my performance was phenomenal, and she thought I would make a great scientist. She created a job for me at the college as an assistant instructor of Anatomy and Physiology that I held for the next two years I was there. However, I was determined to get an Associate Degree in Nursing and get a nursing job as soon as possible. I had a low level of trust for the educational system and the workplace (I still do), so I was disinclined to pursue higher education.

    The Science Head told me that I would be unhappy in nursing because "nurses are mostly religious and conservative." She was right - I was unhappy in nursing, and twenty years later I lost my nursing job and my nursing career. After the invasion of Afghanistan, I did a lot of blogging on the Internet, saying unflattering things about the US government, which resulted in me getting a home visit by a pair of Secret Service agents in 2002. I know that the SS agents interviewed my supervisors at the hospital also, and five years later, after my supervisors had built a trumped-up file against me, I was fired from my nursing job.

    I haven't worked for the past five years, and I've been living on my retirement savings. I'm living in self-enforced poverty, because I anticipate that I may never get to work again, and I need to make my savings last as long as I can. I have no health insurance and I live in a 275 square foot apartment.

    I've had an intellectual passion for Comparative Mythology since I was in my twenties, and I've become self-educated in that field, but I lack any formal credentials. Now all that I want to do is work on mythology, because I love it, I'm quite good at it, and I think that it's very important work. I'm doubtful that going back to school and getting an Anthroplogy degree would help me, because I'm afraid that I would be required to teach other people's ideas and not my own. Careerwise, I have painted my self into a corner, but I love researching and writing about mythology, and I'd rather live under a bridge than do anything else for a living.

    When I watched the Twin Towers collapse on TV on 9/11, I assumed that explosives had been used to bring down the buildings, because that's what it looked like. Later, I was puzzled when the US government claimed that no
    explosives were used, and when many people began to publicly question the US government's explanation, I started doing the research and I verified for myself that the US government, with help from Israeli and British
    agents, had committed the 9/11 attacks. The US, Israeli, and British governments also committed the Bali, Madrid, and London 7/7 bombings, to name a few. The US, Israeli, and British governments all have a long history of committing murderous false-flag attacks to justify their own aggressions.

    I read a news report recently which said that fraud was epidemic within science and academia. The biggest fraud in science is the theory of CO2-caused Anthropogenic Global Warming, whose advocates have censored, suppressed, and often punished dissenting professionals. The CO2-caused AGW theory is a scam to make profits from "carbon trading" and for social engineering of the citizens. We now live in George Orwell's 1984, ruled by elitist Oligarchs who use social engineering to control the masses. American engineers design increasingly-sophisticated weapons to kill innocent people who never posed any threat to us. As long as you obey and serve
    the US system, your career as a kiss-ass drone is assured.

    Gerhard Adam
    I assumed that explosives had been used to bring down the buildings,

    Later, I was puzzled when the US government claimed that no explosives were used,

    I started doing the research...
    Wow, and after all that effort you still don't understand demolitions and how building are brought down. 

    Of course, it never occurs to conspiracy freaks that the mere fact that you possess such a theory doesn't say much about the "ruler's" abilities to keep secrets.  In addition, if they aren't interested in keeping it secret, then why is it only you know about it?

    Oh yeah .... I always forget .... you have to do special research on conspiracy sites to pick up the "truth".  Anyone that doesn't agree is obviously just a hapless drone and supporting the NWO.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam wrote: "Wow, and after all that effort you still don't understand demolitions and how building are brought down."

    I'm sure that jet fuel, which is essentially kerosene, didn't bring those buildings down. If kerosene could bring 110 storey buildings down into their own footprint that quickly and easily, then surely the controlled demolition industry would be using kerosene instead of explosives for all of their demolition jobs. If burning paper, plastic, and kerosene could melt steel, no one could use a wood stove made of steel, because the steel would soften and the stove would collapse.

    The 47-storey WTC building #7, which was never hit by an airplane, collapsed into its own footprint in about 5 seconds on the afternoon of 9/11. The Twin Towers and WTC #7 are the only steel-frame buildings in history that have collapsed like that. There have been many "raging infernos" in steel-frame buildings, but none of those infernos brought down any buildings - and the fires in the Twin Towers were not "raging infernos". Only on 9/11 at the WTC. Funny coincidence, that.

    Gerhard Adam 'Of course, it never occurs to conspiracy freaks that the mere fact that you possess such a theory doesn't say much about the "ruler's" abilities to keep secrets. In addition, if they aren't interested in keeping it secret, then why is it only you know about it?'

    It's easy for the government to keep the obvious a secret, because there are plenty of short-bus superpatriots who will gladly swallow all the manure that the government tells them is mush.

    Gerhard Adam: "Oh yeah .... I always forget .... you have to do special research on conspiracy sites to pick up the "truth". Anyone that doesn't agree is obviously just a hapless drone and supporting the NWO."

    Some of the most damning evidence of the US government's perpetration of the 9/11 attacks comes from the government's own statements. The US government claims that Flight 93 exploded and disintegrated on impact, flinging debris in all directions. The US government claims that debris and body parts covered a large area. The US government also claims that Flight 93 burrowed completely into the ground, and that 95% of Flight 93 was recovered from under the ground. Those are contradictory, incompatible claims. The US government has never displayed as much as 1% of the debris from Flight 93, let alone the 95% that they claim they recovered. Please show us the airplane debris.