Engage Differences for Creative Change

Change often follows when we step out of routines and follow new adventures. It’s a bit like hitching your wagon to a new star and it happened to me recently when I read Robert Heinlein’s Starship Trooper. Since I rarely read science fiction, I was delighted when friends, Malcolm and Liz Bugler gave me this NY Times bestseller to celebrate my new US Citizenship.

Starship Troopers promotes militarism with the same passion that I try to inspire peaceful resolutions. Heinlein served in the US military in many capacities over a lengthy period. His book idea came about when he spotted a news ad for US to suspend nuclear weapons testing. Heinlein even gathered groups to support nuclear weapon tests, in similar ways that I gather roundtables to reflect for peace plans.

This book clarifies and defends Heinlein’s military and political views in much the way Flight of the Raven defends my views for peaceful change in the high arctic where I lived for two years, while writing that novel. Hopefully I will soon submit it for publication, and will expect some to disagree that change comes far faster from peace than from war.

In the MITA Brain Based Center – we look for ways to learn from opposing views – yet rarely do we get these views wrapped in vibrant prose of boot camps or bug holes! Nor do we find many leaders like Heinlein, who offer concrete plans for visible change and improvements. This novel was not only fun to read – but it showed me new ways to approach peace, that can only be seen by viewing its opposites.

Starship Troopers inspires us to:

1. Look to the future and create more far flung ideas to step out of ruts we’ve grilled into our brains.

2. Look back and build forward to bridge past with future targets – just as Juan planned his intersteller war with “the Bugs”

3. Reflect on your beliefs and add feet to insights as Juan Rico did and then act from that launching pad.

4. Avoid casualties in conflict, through peaceful plans, much the opposite of Dubois who argues that violence solves more problems.

5. Choose carefully to follow a dream, as Rico did when he chose military school over Harvard. Which would you have chosen if both opened to you?

6. Invent what you need for change, the way Heilkein invented a power armor exoskeletons for military pursuits.

This book’s bold creations won top awards and it’s no wonder it became a New York Times Bestseller. It even inspired a related wargame in 1976. It’s famous “drop” and “bug hunt” provided themes for other science fiction for TV,  film and other books.

My problem lies with what looks like race wars, and militarism  that this book promotes. Yet, I learned a great deal about the human brain and how it operates creatively from reading Starship Troopers. By the way – do you think Dubois is really Heinlein in disguise?

Either way, this book inspired me to look for new ways to create and invent components of change, even when that work invites criticism from some who disagree with my approaches or results. You?

12 Comments

  1. Wally Bock says:

    Wonderful post, Ellen. If you only read writers you agree with or watch the news on the same channels all the time. You can’t sharpen your own understanding unless you rub it against another, well-thought-out understanding.

  2. Patrick says:

    I have not read the book, but the movie by Paul Verhoeven was a brilliant over-the-top riff against the glorification of war.

    Verhoeven clearly did not share Heinlein’s views so he took the subject matter of the book and made the militarization look cartoonish and one-dimensional. All in all I thought it was a hilarious parody, but if you just look at the surface of the film you might see only a B-grade space opera.

    Ellen, I would say your interpretation and Verhoeven’s are aligned.

    Cheers
    Patrick

  3. eweber says:

    Ah thanks Patrick, now I can relax. It’s often a bit risky to step out and make statements about a somewhat unfamiliar genre – that others may not agree with who loved the book for different reasons:-)

    At this site, it’s really fun to state differences, and I’m often grateful for the good tone people use to raise differences in ways that teach us all. So I took a shot at sayin’ it like I saw it – knowing others far smarter would see it differently:-) All to say thanks for stopping by!

  4. eweber says:

    Wally, you are also a great model of leaders who step out of their routines — so thanks too for that inspiration. I was keenly interested in Patrick’s notion of the movie being somewhat different – in that it spoofed the militarism. How cool to discover than and I’d never have known it had I not read the book and posted the takeaway I had from this fun experience. Once rewarded for leaping into a new adventure – we then become a bit more ready to do another:-) Yikes — what will it be tomorrow:-) Maybe it’s your turn or Patrick’s turn to take the next jump – ahhh that works:-)

  5. Karen Swim says:

    Ellen, congratulations on your citizenship! We are lucky to have you call the U.S. home! I have never read Starship Trooper but love the key learning points you have written here. This post on creative change comes at a perfect time for me. Thank you so much for lighting the way.

  6. eweber says:

    Karen, thanks for your kind welcome. It’s fun to offer that commitment to a country and people I’ve grown to admire! I always loved Canada my country of origin, and fine people here encouraging me to hold that love. I’ve also considered myself a citizen of the world and find the American I know and value also care about humanity across the globe. It’s the right fit for me:-) and I hope I can leave the US with added value because I am here! Thanks for reminding me of that joy!

  7. Chris Brown says:

    Congratulations, Ellen! I just heard the news of your citizenship. **here’s a big hug**
    that’s wonderful!
    Chris Brown

    Chris Browns last blog post..Are You Using Branding to Help Meet Your Marketing Goals?

  8. GeologyJoe says:

    Ill jot down those 6 and keep them in mind.

    Next time you get around to reading sci-fi try ‘enders game’

  9. eweber says:

    Thanks Joe, I’ll have to reserve that one for the next sci fiction read:-) Am currently reading Lincoln by David H Donald — a wonderful book for his 200th birthday. Where does the time go? LOL Thanks for dropping by.

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