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New Tech Blog: Max On Media
Max On Media is a technology-based blog written by Burke Liburt. Burke Liburt is the co-founder and CMO of SynchroPET, a biomedical device company that has licensed patented nuclear imaging technologies from Brookhaven National Laboratories. He has developed marketing strategies at television groups (Dun & Bradstreet/ ABC Television) and at his own multi-media company. Read Max On Media Now!
Stony Brook Innovation Center Blog

Innovate WHAT?

Mar 21 2016

The most helpful topic for an Innovation Center blog would seem to be examining whether innovativeness can be instilled in people the way installing computer programs enables us to do different things, and if so, how is it downloaded, or learned?  Is there a single Skill Set underpinning all the other attributes that are identifiable in the majority of innovators, short of the few savants floating around, and even there?  Do innovations like the light bulb and Internet arise out of nowhere, or evolve as species do: putting similar things together again and again, and how is that done?  


We were talking about the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth, then it's far too late, when they pass away
We were talking about the love we all could share
When we find it, to try our best to hold it there with our love
With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew

Try to realise it's all within yourself
No one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you

We were talking about the love that's gone so cold
And the people who gain the world and lose their soul
They don't know, they can't see, are you one of them?

            “Within You Without You,” by George Harrison


Let’s get REAL, shall we?  Forget about even thinking of ever doing anything as grand, profound, intense, or clear as Shakespeare or Beethoven did, not to mention the Beatles or Rolling Stones and numerous other writers and composers.  Not that that isn’t a worthy goal, or even inconceivable.  They did what they did, after all, and were only human, too.  It’s just that thousands of reaaally brilliant people have done supremely extraordinary things, short of that, merely improving themselves to the best of their ability.
I’m reading a novel, the author of which I’m guessing no one in the School of Business ever heard of, every page of which tops anything that Faulkner or Hemingway, Bellow or Barth, even Melville and Twain wrote, all of whom I also hugely admire.  One of those two novels is called The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides, and is THE best writing I have ever read about love relationships, in particular, and that’s saying something when you consider that most of literature is about that.  Here’s a taste: 

A Lover’s Discourse was the perfect cure for lovesickness.  It was a repair manual for the heart, its one tool the brain.  If you used your head, if you became aware of how love was culturally constructed and began to see your symptoms as purely mental, if you recognized that being ‘in love’ was only an idea, then you could liberate yourself from its tyranny.”

Not so fast, apparently, nor easily, because that’s just on page 79, and you have never—I repeat, nevvver—read the like of what led up to that point about what should be as simple a facet of life as loving and being loved.
MY Point being that this is one incredible (as the captain of the fishing boat in Jaws put it when the giant shark takes three float tanks under the boat) mind at work.  If only to confirm how On Target everything I’ve written about the learning and communication process throughout the blog IS, glance over a few pages of the book the next chance you get.  Dig THIS:

  “Given more time, Madeleine might have separated and identified the welter of emotions that were now surging through her.  There was a foreground of panic.  Behind this were embrarrassment and anger for being the last to know.  But underneath everything, bubbling up, was a strange buoyancy.”

I knooow that The Purpose of An Education is to improve you—especially how you think—not  just your career opportunities, BUT … implicit though it may be that everything you learn is good for you (some even say that everything is good for you, period) I doubt that anyone gets through four years of college OR graduate school learning any more about how any of it may improve you—or how you think—than they learned all those long prior to college. 
Some psychology majors or professors may take exception to that, BUT … granting that it may improve some people, just as education in general does, I’m pretttty sure that the jury is still out, well over 100 years since psychologists began trying, whether it improves the overwhelming majority of people undergoing treatment, often for decades, any more than playing a musical instrument or sport, taking a hobby seriously, or just a good reading list would.  Whether it even prevents them from becoming worse is debatable, as well.  Thinking you’re alright or something you do is alright, which isn’t, sounds like the road to ruin, or at least leading to treacherous waters.  One person’s medicine is another’s poison.

  “These details were new.  Madeleine absorbed them for later analysis.  ‘Leonard is not crazy,’ she said.  ‘He’s just depressed.  It’s not an illness.’
“She didn’t know if it was an illness.  She didn’t know anything about it.  But the speed with which she plucked this assurance from the air had the added benefit of making her believe what she was saying.  The Marriage Plot, p. 111 

Funny, isn’t it, how we fool others, so we can fool ourselves.  Maybe not so funny.

She instinctively avoided unstable people.  As uncharitable as this attitude was, it was part and parcel of being …a positive, privileged, sheltered, exemplary person.  If there was one thing that Madeleine Hanna was not, it was mentally unstable.  But sometime after finding Billy  Bainbridge in bed with two women, Madeleine had become aware of the capacity within herself for a helpless sadness, not unlike clinical depression; and certainly in these last few weeks, sobbing in her room over her breakeup with Leonard …Madeleine recognized that she and a mentally ill person were not necessarily mutually exclusive categories.”  The Marriage Plot, p. 122

Following, learning, and practicing the
process this writer uses, sentence after sentence, for 406 pages, and everything else you read, is how you innovate improving yourself every moment.  The rest of the blog posts show you how to do that, and improve how you put your own reality together, piece by piece, the same way that everything you learned here was done.  How about that: do what you do in class to yourself, or should I say, do what you do for class for yourself.
Here he is, describing one of the other characters going through his graduation ceremony:

“Like an egg swallowed by a black snake, the signal to march was working its way, by a nearly invisible peristalsis, along the twists and turns of the assembled marchers… From the mass of middle-aged faces, Mitchell’s own, particular parents emerged with arresting clarity…  Mitchell was depressed by the tacky denim sun visor his mother was wearing and by his parents’ general lack of sophistication.  But something was happening to him.  The gates were doing something to him already, because as he raised his hand to wave back at his parents, Mitchell felt ten years old again, tearing up, choked with feeling for those two human beings who, like figures from myth, had possessed the ability throughout
his life to blend into the background, to turn to stone or wood, only to come alive again, at key moments like this, to witness his hero’s journey.”

Go get ‘em, kids.

Stony Brook University Innovation Center, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3775

Phone: 631.632.7171
Fax: 631.632.8181