Voiceless

Disclaimer:

My name is Benjamin Barnett, and I was diagnosed "mentally ill" when I was 19 years old. With some work, and the help of faith, friends, and family, I have since negotiated these charges to being fantastically awesome. There is a hidden pain, and a definite insecurity of self that comes with, and lives with you after your diagnosis. The last 10 years of my life I have been focusing on wholeness, and wellness as well as learning a valuable trade in the form of software development.

Being that this is a professional site - when I have applied for positions in the past - it has been a challenge to explain my lack of experience, AND lack of degree. I would like to send special thank you to the people, and corporations that let me volunteer, intern, work remotely, and fulfill contractual positions. Without you, my resume would be bare, and I would not have come this far out of my shell.

To any who read this (especially people with, or associated with someone with a mental illness), please feel free to contact me. I hope to help others through their difficult times that can often come alongside a diagnosis.

If you agree with, see value in, or otherwise feel compelled - please like, comment, share this article with others!

Lastly, this article may not be fully formed - and is subject to future edits.


Voiceless

Voiceless

We should offer incentives to the mentally ill and reshape our methods of treating them!

Have you ever had something important to say, but everyone around you seemed to just ignore you? Welcome to the (current) world of the mentally ill.

As it stands, a mental illness diagnosis can be a devastating, life altering event. Just simply being diagnosed with a mental illness can strip you of your credibility. Anything you say - any opinion you may have can instantly be discredited.

There are no incentives to accept being mentally ill.

The benefits of offering incentives to the mentally ill (much like incentives that exist for other minority groups) are innumerable. In a world where 1 in 4 people have some sort of mental illness - some of whom can be debilitated if left untreated - why aren't we doing more to offer treatment, and incentives to seek it to these individuals?

On top of that, with more incentives to benefit the mentally ill - reliance on government assistance would drop dramatically.

What is in it for the person being diagnosed?

Being mentally ill should open doors, when in reality it is so clouded by public ignorance, it most likely closes and locks them.

This is something they have to live with day in and day out. There is no flag that they can wear, and there are no days off.

The emotional vest of the mentally ill weighs an unseen pain.

When what you need is to feel normal, it is nearly impossible to realize when society is shrouded with misconceptions about what should be a minor factor in your life. Why do we ostracize potential DaVinci's into depression, and pigeon hole these creative persons into government run programs when we could be helping them find their talents - and become key contributors to an otherwise boring society?

Most of us can easily imagine the world from a different perspective, but what if your perspective(s) were naturally unlimited? This is the world of the mentally ill. One of the reasons they have a problem recognizing reality is that they live in a world of many concurrent realities.

Instead of stifling the way their minds operate by immediately jumping to dramatic labels, pills and shots (the easy way), why not take different approaches like CBT, and instilling mindfulness and meditation as a part of their daily life?

We need to champion the mentally ill!

Go through history and you'll be surprised at the people, the major influences who very well could have been left behind. To name a few:

Abraham Lincoln, Nikola Tesla, Vincent van Gogh, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jack Kerouac, Charles Darwin, Michelangelo, Charles Dickens, Ludwig van Beethoven, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Newton, Virginia Woolf

Do you notice anything about this list?

Two of these individuals were some of the greatest political influencers of all time (GPIOAT). The rest of the list were highly creative individuals who helped to shape, mold and build our current reality and perspective thereof.

What if common medicines had been used at the first sign of their illness? From another perspective, what if these people had never learned to cope with their illness? Either way you look at it - our world would be much different.

So what incentives would there be for the mentally ill to seek treatment if we started now? A chance to feel heard, valued and appreciated - and maybe a chance to work in an office with 50 other people and not have to hold on to a secret that could otherwise be common, celebrated knowledge.

Shift your perspective, and realize the beauty of the mind

Let them paint

Given the unfathomable size of our universe, the (more than likely) possibility of a Multiverse, and the accepted fact (or is it fact?) that we exist on earth for such a short period of time... it is foolish to place limits on anything - let alone our thoughts.

Every tremendous advancement, technological or otherwise, is made possible first through free and creative thought.

The most powerful tool we have access to is our own mind.

We spend our lives making products, and offering services other people have conceived and created. How many modern day Einsteins, Picassos, and Beethovens are tediously working in order to make someone else's dream a reality. What's worse, how many of these dreams are actually worth anything - in terms of the 'big picture?'

Can we agree our lives be much different today if Picasso had been (nearly) forced to choose between the fields of Psychology and Economics as his lifelong endeavor at the age of eighteen?

We are pigeon-holed by this societal expectation that we 'study' at a four year institution in order to reach optimum value.

There are a few problems with this expectation:

  1. How much do students actually study?

  2. Why must our method of learning involve having someone else walk us through a textbook, chapter-by-chapter, when we can invest in over 1,000 textbooks for the cost of this 'education.'

  3. We apply the same expectations to every student enrolled. Where one student may excel, another might fall behind. This is understood by 4-year institutions, and the end result is an extremely slow method of content delivery, where no-one benefits. Teach yourself what you would like to learn, and do it in a fourth of the time!

  4. Without time to explore your talents, and your passions, how will you even know what to study - at 18 years old - for more than $20,000 / year?

  5. The biggest lesson these kids / newly anointed adults derive is that they have nothing to offer unless they have a bonafide receipt from an 'educational' institution.

When it comes to being equipped for the challenges presented to us in the "real world" - why is it that being "educated" is one of the precursors for anticipated "success"? Why do we not look for passion, likability, and humility as the most accurate signs that one may succeed, instead frivolous spending, unreasonable confidence, and the unwarranted sense of achievement that comes with exchanging $80,000+ for the most expensive piece of paper you'll ever buy?

This said, a message to parents, school teachers, and other key influencers involved with a child's development - sometimes if you recognize a Picasso sitting in your class, doodling "nonsense"... it may be best to just let them paint.

Thoughts | December 2017

Netflix

Netflix could use simple algorithms to temporarily download shows you're already watching ahead of time.. They could strike deals with Internet Providers to reduce the overall streaming workload.

As things progress and this algorithm gets more advanced, several more factors could be added in: ideal time to download; ideal day to download; maximum cache size, success rate / user (important to only use this function for users that binge watch, and / or, watch shows from start to finish).

Also, look for Netflix to add badges, or another type of reward system in the future.. if they are not acquired soon.


Selective Listening

This is already (somewhat) being done.. but earbuds should let you tune in and tune out of reality based sounds… Even if you’re not playing anything at the given time. Turn the volume up and down on reality.


Relaxingly Productive

The work station as we know it should be reconsidered. I am much more productive when I am comfortable (i.e. sitting in an overstuffed chair with an ottoman). Sitting in generic chairs, at a desk, with poor posture is a recipe for low productivity.


Skepticism

When you squint, your glasses (or contacts) should automatically zoom in and focus. Obviously they would recalibrate automatically when you open your eyes fully again…


Discovery

Private research firms that find "undiscovered" talent, and market them and their skills to major players in their respective markets.

Think NFL draft for college aged nerds.

Thoughts | June 2017

The SmartWatch needs to be able to function as a portable storage device. Whether this happens over WiFi, BlueTooth, or direct connection doesn't matter.


Machines will eventually be able to create music that is indistinguishable from human curated music. Given big data and AI, this robo music will easily appeal to the masses. Who will get the rights / proceeds?


Pen projectors with a gyroscope to keep the image steady. Use a track ball as a mouse...


VR meet and greet apps. Rooms you can go into that will load your body into a VR app and headsets that you can wear in order to see the other person.

We're getting there...

It's kind of an odd thought, having miraculous feats of "innovation" slowly released to us. I suppose the slower the rate these advancements are released to the public, the more corresponding industries can benefit (i.e. "sci-fi films").

The (honest) truth is, there is an Elon Musk available today for every industry we can imagine. Whether or not these Muskonians have been "discovered" is a mystery to me, but we are more than equipped to advance our reality more quickly than it's current crawl than we might think. The real question is "what are we afraid of?"

If we're afraid of artificially intelligent machines taking over our globe... why not deploy them on Mars first (notice I didn't suggest moving the human race to Mars, we still have time). Otherwise I can't think of a dog-gone thing to fear...

It's easy to sit in a seat and ask why I don't forecast more trends...

The reality is, if I, as an individual were exposed to the most advanced technology in the world, we, as a species would cross into realms most of us have never dreamt of.

I brought you the the iPhone, the Smart-Watch, and the AirPods, without anything more than a Palm Pilot, an iPhone, and a pair of headphones. It's time to introduce me to the "latest and greatest."

If you doubt me... please contact me for details. I would be more than happy to explain.

Do you ever wonder?


Do you ever wonder how you used to think when you were young? Most of us can acknowledge that we, as human beings are at the peak of our creative expression when we are young - but how different is our mindset? How different did we look at the stars when we were six (for instance) compared to how we look at them now (mid-twenties and on)?

Our entire way of thinking is slowly constricted with time.

The point of this "article" is not to reveal the obvious (thank you, captain), but rather to ask the obscure. Do you ever wonder?

What if we awoke every day to a different reality? Different memories, different languages, different colors? Would that change how you live your life today? What if anything truly were possible?

What's the "craziest" thing you've ever thought?

I ask because "crazy" could become the new "normal." People that think outside the box could be, and have been considered in one of two lights - either off the wall bonkers, or out of this world smart. Either that, or you're just a dull non-thinker.

The defining line is success. That is not to say that if you start thinking "crazy," you'll become an internet Billionaire - I'm not sure it works that way (otherwise... loophole!). However, with a good mix of "crazy" in your current diet of rational thought and tedium could help you climb the ladder, or discover new ladders you never knew were there.

My favorite poster

Thinking Different is like growing a beard... you'll undoubtedly go through an awkward phase.


The title of this post is "Do you ever wonder?", which is meant to ask just that and nothing more.

When is the last time you sat down, and dreamt about alternative realities, or you imagined new creatures? When did you last stare in wonder at the stars (the open universe), just to put things into perspective? Take a breath - take a moment to slow down and forget about our earthly existence. Take some time to ponder the grand scheme of things. We have one earthly life to live, let it not go to waste!

"Can't stop the spirits when they need you, this life is more than just a read-through."

- Red Hot Chili Peppers / Can't Stop

Thoughts | May 1, 2017

Self Driving cars should still let you drive your car. Think of it like auto-correct on your phone, only taking over when necessary...


When you squint, your glasses (or contacts) should automatically zoom in and focus. Obviously they would re-calibrate automatically when you open your eyes fully again…


Our infatuation with touch-screens is far from over. We will eventually have cloud linked touch screens available everywhere we go. My favorite application of this is a built-in, table-sized, tabletop touch screen that allows for individual "mini-screens" at every seat. Of course it could function as one big screen as well.


This is already (somewhat) being done.. but earbuds should let you tune in and tune out of reality based sounds… Even if you’re not playing anything at the given time. Turn the volume up and down on reality.

The real problem...

Big data is a substantial problem and it can either get better or it can get worse. It getting better would mean fewer random acts of violence that we're once dubbed unpredictable, smarter suggestions / more relevant ads online, etc.. The problem getting worse would mean pricing disparity in online stores and any other type of unwarranted discrimination.

Guiding Innovation

I was recently asked by an online form (form, not forum) why someone should work for Universally Thinking? My response was simply, "if your dream job consists of being encouraged to think abstractly, to question what is possible and to push the limits of the unfortunate, current state of our creative reality... we may be a perfect fit."

I know there will always be a need for innovation and creativity. The fact is, the current state of our creative reality rests at just a fraction of its potential greatness. We are here to help society realize its ingenius potential.
Collectively we've spent Billions of dollars on "The Next Big Thing" which was just a micro-sized version of a technology that has existed for over 10 years. Yes I am talking about the Smart-Watch. No I do not own one.

It is sad to say, but top Tech Corporations need help innovating. "Innovation" as it stands for Tech Corps is to wait for a startup to grow large enough for it to be a justifiable acquisition.

Instead of this model of what I like to call "Observe and Acquire" why not move on to "Risk and Realize." In other words, why not do what Microsoft (yes I said Microsoft) has done and take a chance on new technology (HoloLens). Of course I could have said (and should have said) Google for it's Glass project as well. Google's Glass 1.0 flopped but they still tried. And yes, I would have purchased one.

How can Universally Thinking help? Simple. We can think like a consumer and think like a startup. I am not going to say that all of our concepts will be huge but, I do believe that any company that currently aims to produce a facade of being a "top innovator" can achieve the more desirable reality of being a top innovator with us on their side.

Consumers can only purchase the same technology for so long before they start going outside and socializing again (look up dopamine). @AllInclusiveTagForTechCompanies Why not start taking chances? Sure they could flop.. but learn from Microsoft and Google.. Even the failed concepts will strengthen your reputation as innovators. The lame duck stops here. Just another Universal Thought.

Raising the Innovative Bar

Entrepreneur.com recently featured an article with the phrase "Want to Seem Innovative?" in the title. While the article offered good advice and input about the new .nyc domain extension, the title raised a flag.

"Want to Seem Innovative?" Seem innovative. It seems that this is the practice of many large corporations these days - giving the illusion of innovation in the form of larger and smaller screens. Have things really changed that much? Are we not still using the technology we perfected some ten years ago as our main source of procurable "innovation?"

Don't get this wrong, it is widely known that Apple's newest iPhone is still attractive to consumers (more so than ever) but there is nothing really stopping us from using our dinosaur of an iPhone 4. After all, the only thing we have to gain is a larger screen and an unruly display - we have all heard about pocketGate.

In this day and age anything is possible. Instead of asking when, ask why not now? Why aren't we making huge strides in technology? Instead of making bigger and smaller screens - make flexible, resizable, screens. Make transparent technology for windows, table tops and other awesome applications.

When thinking of the great innovators of this lifetime, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk come to mind, not Apple and Tesla - and that really is a shame. With the resources available to these tremendous corporations (that's Billions with a "B") we should expect more, a whole lot more.

The hover cars we have dreamt of for decades are nowhere near becoming a reality, and drones have yet to be used to their fullest potential. Facebook should be a cloud based Operating System (call me for details) by now, yet it is still just a website.

The looming question of “why not now” has a very simple answer. If new technology were released as soon as possible, how much would the potential profit of old (and boring) technology diminish? Think about it, if transparent or flexible touch screens were released just months after the original touch screen, Apple and their competitors would lose out on nearly ten years of potential profit – or several Billions of dollars. The truth is, these companies have no incentive to “Raise the Innovative Bar” other than maintaining the illusion of timely brilliance.

Do we not deserve more for shoveling money into the hole that is the varied sized touch screen? How much can we invest in the same technology before it gets old?

The truth is, these companies would not exist without our support, maybe it is time they begin listening and stop delaying the release of truly new technology. Until then, we can all awkwardly nod in contempt of "The Next Big Thing" commercials featuring the release of the slightly larger and slightly smaller displays.

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Universally Thinking is a Cincinnati based company that focuses on innovation, and technology.  We forecast products and compose articles that help guide the future.  Our past predictions can be found at UnivThink.com .  Thanks for viewing

Let Me Blow Ya Mind!

There's no question about it, we live in a crazy age. An age where nearly anything is possible. I once listened to, and scoffed at a Graduation Speech, delivered by Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting star), where he remarked "what if this is all a simulation?" Before you laugh, honestly and sincerely consider the following.

We live in an age of "fake news," a time of virtual reality, and are witnessing what we're told is the dawn of Artificial Intelligence. All of these things are fun to think about separately (among other "futuristic" technologies), but imagine the possibility of using these technologies together.

Technology has the power to shape our perception of reality.

What if what we're told about the world, about existence, about reality is all one big facade? Not to shelter us, or harm us in any way, but to keep things running smoothly (or, at times, not so much). What if virtual reality applied to our TV screens? What if "fake news" was tailored to each of us? What if Artificially Intelligent CGI existed so that the faces that we all recognize could be made and manipulated to say what we, on an individual level need to hear? Throw Big Data in there and there's no telling what's really possible...

We all know about planned obsolescence... What about planned innovation? For how far into the "future" have companies prepared? Not only that... what agreements these companies have with the other giants in the world (i.e. governmental agencies) when it comes to "classified" technologies.

What if the real problem wasn't preventing nuclear weapons from being created / used, but rather was preventing the existence of light sabers and laser guns from being common knowledge. What if the celebrated "greats" of innovation were just the ones that discovered this alternate (honest) reality and negotiated with the right people to maintain the illusion? What if their job was to plan the release of "The Next Big Thing," which really existed over twenty years ago?

How good are we at concealing our secrets, our most valuable innovations?

There's no question that Bill Gates' reality is different than mine. But how different? How profound of a difference is there between his public life, and his private life? Does he live in the public eye, anticipating the camera flash and the printed photographs, only to go home to take and print pictures with his mind? Take some time to laugh at this dramatic example, but at the same time - consider my point.

How many veils have been pulled over our eyes? And for whom will they be lifted? Is there someone out there who knows for a fact that aliens have visited earth, that time-travel is real, and that we live in a cyclical reality? If there were, all that's needed to keep this person quiet is the possibility of public embarrassment / shaming.

As a society we do not ask "higher level" questions because we've been conditioned not to. We're raised to accept our reality, and to not question it. We barely push the envelope when it comes to the real truth. We ask "was the election rigged," but don't ask whether our President is picked decades in advance by artificially intelligent machines that have existed for over a century (another dramatization).

If you do anything with your time in 2017 - branch out! Ask yourself questions you once considered "crazy," because the truth is - crazy is the new possible. There's no telling what lies ahead - the world is only going to continue on this trend of "innovation" and this is a great way to prepare! In the words of Mythbuster Adam Savage "Reject [their] reality and substitute [your] own."