Last time, I talked about how ideas are the new currency.
Now, let’s hear some crazy ideas!
In “Become an Idea Machine”, Claudia Altucher talks about a microwave that works on the outside.
Or the simple notion that people just stopped complaining and took charge of their own lives instead. Crazy, right?
#1 – Christmas celebration in summer.
I don’t intend to wage “War On Christmas“.
Christmas, however, has been largely conquered by an orgy of consumerism.
So how about just celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ in Winter as a spiritual event…
… and then have another event in summer where you celebrate happiness in the full spirit of sunny days?
You can have a large party outside and you can still embrace gifts. Why not celebrate life when it is in full swing?
#2 – A mandatory military or civil service for US citizens.
One year. Everyone. No exceptions. Right after school.
First, people would be a little more careful about talking to go to war when their own life is potentially on the line.
Second, violence would not be an abstract concept anymore. Right now, we abhor violence simply because we are removed from it. Other people are doing it on our behalf.
Third, there are a lot of different trades to learn in the military – and professions such as electricians, truck drivers, cooks, auto mechanics or carpenters are much more in demand than college students with a liberal arts degree.
Whoever can not serve in the military for health or moral reasons could do civil service instead, mostly in healthcare or social institutions. That would teach people – for a year or so – what it means to provide direct value to others.
#3 – A flat tax.
I rather have no income tax, but if we must, let the tax be, for example, 15% for everyone. Whether you earn $1 Mio or $10,000 per year. That would be fair.
It would also provide much more incentive to rise up and earn more money.
#4 – Standing during company meetings.
Everyone is standing while discussing the latest progress report.
That takes care of keeping meetings short, efficient and productive.
Sitting in school ingrains this habit from an early age onwards.
#5 – Live in the middle of a volcano.
People have been dreaming of living on the bottom of an ocean or in outer space, e.g. on Mars.
There are also hotels carved into ice.
So why not have people live in another environment that is hostile to life? Humans are resilient.
You would need materials that can withstand extreme heat, but it would actually be really interesting to experience destructive forces at play from up close.
Here are some examples of settlements in unusual places, like in the middle of ice and snow, inside a rock or even in the crater of a volcano that used to be active just 200 years ago.
And there are certainly people not squeamish to actually lower themselves into the danger of falling boulders, toxic fumes and intense heat of an active lava lake.
If you can make a suit that protects you from these conditions, you can probably make a building out of it.
#6 – A portable force field generator that protects us from rain.
We all know the problem.
Umbrellas are either sturdy and large – prone to be accidentally left wherever we are because we can’t easily store them – or they are small, but break at the first wind gust.
If we had a small device that would generate a force field around us, we can walk through the rain without getting wet.
There are already devices that can protect an object from shock waves through generating a small local plasma field.
Why not a field that protects from rain?
#7 – Seed life on an uninhabited planet.
Take a planet that has similar conditions to earth. Could even be Mars.
Seeding microbes there could let us explore how the early stages of live have evolved.
There are already bacteria that survive in the middle of a hot spring. So small microbes can adapt to conditions that are unfavorable for animal and plant life.
There are bacteria and even multicellular organisms that don’t need oxygen.
One practical use could be to seed such bacteria on Mars and harvest the energy those bacteria generate to use for subsequent colonization.
#8 – Mandate carrying weapons.
It can also be a responsible society.
In the US, according to the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed”.
What if we took that a step further and mandate everyone to carry a gun?
Would we be a more polite society if criminals have to assume the person they are about to rob is armed?
#9 – Cut off public funding for basic science.
Now this may be an odd idea for me, spending my entire career so far in mostly publicly funded academic research.
However, it is not clear how big the return of investment is.
Therefore, why ask the public to foot the bill for projects that may have no actual practical use or that may only provide a very indirect benefit?
One problem with academia is that scientists – even though funded by taxpayers’ money – are not accountable for the usefulness of their research.
The quality of basic research is measured in how many publications a researcher can get, and who decides what gets published? Fellow researchers – through peer review.
Of course, that aims at ensuring high quality research (though that is in reality not always guaranteed), but whether the research itself is beneficial for humankind is in the hands of the middlemen: editors of scientific journals.
Which often have a background in academia as well.
Scientific journals are part of the media and academic establishment, and if recent developments are any indication, that leads to cronyism and political bias.
Philanthropic organisations, crowd-funding or private donations already give money to science.
Relying solely on these funds may bias the research to projects that have a better outlined benefit for society.
#10 – Increase public funding for basic science by 1,000%.
So it may make sense to drastically increase government funds.
#11 – Release mosquitoes incapable of transmitting malaria.
Recently, researchers have managed to genetically engineer mosquitoes incapable of transmitting malaria.
Mixed with the “normal” mosquitoes, the genetically engineered ones outbred the ones that could transmit the disease.
Even though there are ethical concerns of releasing genetically altered organisms that are highly mobile into the wild, going this way has a potentially huge upside in eliminating diseases.
#12 – “Cure” extremism by putting drugs into the drinking water.
This is such an evil idea that it almost defies expectation.
The thought is to dissolve drugs in the drinking water to induce docility in the population.
It may avoid people becoming “radicalized”, however we may define it.
Luckily, I don’t think it is very realistic that a government manipulates the populace that way because someone needs to actually put the drug into the water.
But who knows? All it needs is to convince enough people in power that a certain ideology is the best for everyone and it is not that far-fetched of an idea anymore.
Conspiracy theories don’t need to involve a sinister, secretive group of people.
It can happen right in front of our eyes: corporations that are big enough to sell to the majority of the population can also promote certain policies that are beneficial to their bottom lines.
In that way, “conspiracy” becomes a smart move, driven by a profit motive.
Cooperate with government and fund politicians, and you can set the agenda any way you please.
And you can easily indoctrinate the population through public schools early on. Later on, you encourage them to take on debt so they never become free.
So maybe you don’t even need to put a drug into the drinking water…
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.
Last challenge: Click me!
What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.
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Do you have an even crazier idea?
Or do you even know how to put one of the ideas above in motion?
Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments below!
(Images taken from Wikimedia Commons; the tax collector was painted by Marinus van Reymersvale)