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I consider myself the biggest skeptic in the world. But I've gotten myself in trouble for describing my experiences with a self-described psychic, and with something called affirmations, where you write your goals daily. (See the last chapter of my book The Dilbert Future.) In both cases I thought I was writing about the limits of perception, and frankly just trying to entertain, but it was widely interpreted by hardcore skeptics as "He believes in magic." Oops.

For the record, I don't believe in ESP or magic. But I do believe our perceptions are interpretations of a reality that is too complex for a human brain to process. And so sometimes when your brain tries to incorporate an inconsistency into its interpretation, the result can look like magic. And if you tell me that isn't just as good as actual magic, we could have a long discussion. It's like the difference between thinking you are happy versus being happy. I call that a tie.

With that context, I feel safe in telling you that I have had regular glimpses of my future throughout my life. If I believed in psychic powers, these experiences would fit that model perfectly. But since I don't, let's agree you can label it selective memory or whatever you like.

I had the first glimpse of my future when I was about eight years old. I saw an article about a cartoonist who was doing okay for himself, a guy named Charles Schulz. I remember looking at his picture and feeling that was my future job. The sensation was different from wanting or hoping. I wanted and hoped for lots of fantastic things, but I have only had one vision of my future career. And as I spent the next 20 or so years working on a more traditional career path, I never shook the feeling that I was supposed to be a cartoonist. It always felt like I was fighting destiny.

One day in my senior year at Hartwick College, in Oneonta New York, I woke up from a sound sleep, sat upright, and saw myself living in San Francisco. This was a seemingly random choice because I had never been to California, didn't know anyone in San Francisco, and didn't know anything about the city.

A few months later, I asked my economics professor what company I should try to join after graduation and he tossed a brochure in front of me for Crocker Bank, headquartered in San Francisco. He explained that they were doing lots of innovative things with technology, and they were the future. That wasn't enough to convince me, and after graduation I went to visit my brother in LA. Meanwhile, an ex-girlfriend had moved to San Francisco and invited me up for the weekend to visit. I went, liked what I saw (of the city), and on Monday morning I walked into a branch of Crocker Bank and got a job as a teller. I've lived in the Bay Area since.

Another college vision (or false memory) involved me standing in front of huge crowds of people, giving some sort of speech. The details were sketchy, but I knew the crowds were there to see me. This vision conflicted somewhat with my vision of becoming a cartoonist. I figured it was either one or the other. You don't draw comics in front of huge crowds.

One day, a few years into my cartooning career, I got a call from an oil consortium in Canada, asking if I would give a speech to their small group of twenty or so members. They offered $5,000 plus travel expenses. I said yes, went and spoke to them for an hour, and cashed my check. But the phone kept ringing and the crowds got bigger. One of the last events I did, before losing my voice, was an audience of about 15,000 people in Vegas. My opening act was a traveling branch of the Cirque du Soleil. I remember standing on stage, spotlights in my eyes, while the opening applause thundered, thinking this is just how I saw it.

People often asked me if I was nervous on stage in front of huge crowds. I wasn't. It felt like I was supposed to be there. Likewise, people ask if it is hard to produce comics on deadline. It isn't. This feels like what I am supposed to be doing.

I was thinking about these things because my book, Dilbert 2.0: Twenty Years of Dilbert is just out. I included in the book the story of how I used affirmations to achieve my goals (not magic). And I included the comics I previously showed only to live audiences during my speaking years. Those are the comics too edgy for publication, plus the ones that got published and got me in trouble. If you know anyone who saw me speak, they can tell you what to expect.

Physically, the book is beautiful. The publisher did a terrific job. It's ten pounds of the best Dilbert comics ever, according to me, with a disk to give you the entire 20 years of Dilbert comics. This is the best product I will ever be associated with. If you have a Dilbert fan in your circle, do him a favor. Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.com/Dilbert-2-0-20-Years/dp/0740777351/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223908144&sr=1-1

 
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Nov 6, 2008
"But I do believe our perceptions are interpretations of a reality that is too complex for a human brain to process."

Why believe in self affirmation if it's unverifiable? If biggest sceptic in the world is your goal, you might want to frown at unverifiable things a bit harder.
 
 
Nov 5, 2008
To the proud owners of this book and CD: If you have, like me, downloaded the "missing images" (all cartoons published since may 24th) from the website to keep your collection complete, I have some bad news for you:

You'll need to download november 22th 1993 until november 27th 1993 as well: these images are missing from the CD.
The good news is: they're in color on the website!

Note to Scott: could you ZIP these files, and make them available for download?
That would save us all a bit of RSI ;-)

Now I'm going to print all the cartoons, and paper my walls with that ;-))
 
 
Nov 4, 2008
I WANT THOSE IMAGE FILES!!!
 
 
Nov 4, 2008
Seriously, can someone sell the CD online, like on Amazon or something?
 
 
Nov 4, 2008
Where can I buy just the CD?
 
 
Oct 31, 2008
I don't know how the CD is "Piracy-Protected".
Select All, Copy, Paste landed all the images on my hard disk, from where I could make all the duplicate CD's I would like. As this is illegal, I won't do that of course ;-)

Scott, a suggestion for "25 years of Dilbert": add a database (I believe mauve has the most ram) in which we can search for specific comics.
"give me all comics that feature Alice"
"give me all comics that have the word 'project' in the text"
...

Other than that: great book!
 
 
Oct 21, 2008
A friend who owned a metaphics shop once defined magic as "The affecting of reality in a manner that cannot be measured by science... *yet*." That is to say, even by today's standards, to a lost Amazon tribe, a butane lighter would be in their eyes... magic. They would be unable to wrap their minds around the fact it's a device, and a common one at that.
One family story goes that during my mother's pregnancy with me, she and my father were doing the standard What The Heck Are We Gonna Name This Kid? routine, for weeks into months. Then one night both of them simultaniously awoke at 3am, *both* of them solidly Knowing that my given name would be Geoffrey Lawrence (and they both knew that it'd be the British spelling).
But such psychic flashes as you indicate are less uncommon than one might think. You know as well as anyone what a small percentage of the human brain is actually used (and how much less even politicians use...), but some people are stronger/better at it than others. I call mine Pointless Psychism, as it's generally along the lines of having a song running through my head about which I've not thought in years, only for it to be playing either on the radio when it's turned on, or playing over PA in a mall or store or such; similarly thinking of an ancient TV episode and that's what's playing when the set is switched on, with no listings having been consulted.
Considering you're a Gemini, you may have Pisces moon or as a rising sign: people with Pisces in the top three of their charts are notorious as being the most psychic sign... and with the least confidence about it.
[As an aspect of my geoffgould.net website points out: the paranormal exists whether you believe in it or not...]
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 18, 2008
The guy who talked about the CD's DRM on the first page was obviously neglecting the fact that most of the people who post on forums such as these are washed-up losers who don't discuss the topics discussed in the posts in any meaningful way. You know - what you are SUPPOSED to do. Nope - stupid jokes and trite observations seem to rule the day.

Frankly, I'm surprised Scott's releasing this book. Reading 20 years of Dilbert would be sad, like watching a friend who used to be funny and bright and witty and personable have a stroke and slowly die inside.
 
 
Oct 17, 2008
So what does "Piracy-Protected Disc" mean? Is this some piece of crap that is only accessible with Windows, and only with an active internet connection checking up on whether I have permission before I'm allowed to view each and every individual strip, and will go "poof" at some date in the future when Andrews McMeel doesn't feel like hosting the authentication server anymore? Or does it install sooper-seekrit hiddenware to allow viewing of your strips, again Windows-only (a la Sony)?

Or am I just being paranoid?

Scott, even some of the music companies are starting to discover that if their products are any good they will still sell them even if they don't assume ahead of time that their customers are criminals.

In any case, I was going to order Dilbert 2.0 but I think I'll hold off until either a) I learn that I'm being paranoid and the disc will be readable on my Linux box in perpetuity or b) come across a crack so I can buy your stuff and have it too...
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 16, 2008
I was delighted when your beautifully formed package filled up my slot this morning!

It is indeed a wonder to behold.
 
 
Oct 14, 2008
Your affirmations theory hasn't worked for me yet. Maybe I have to keep going longer (it's been like eight months already) or maybe I need to be more consistent (it hasn't been every day).

What affirmations are you currently writing to yourself? That you will win a Nobel Prize? What visions do you presently have about your future?
 
 
Oct 14, 2008
Wow!! I knew you where going to say that!!!
 
 
Oct 14, 2008
I know exactly what you are talking about. I have had a few times when I have known that something was going to happen in my life. For example, posting a job application and knowing that I was going to get the job. This only happened once, and it wasn't just feeling confident, I knew I would get it in the same way that I know what I had for breakfast this morning.

I understand why people are sceptic, I would be too if it hadn't happened to me. I'm an analyst programmer and very sensible and down-to-earth.

But please, people, keep an open mind.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 14, 2008
What a shame - the book's going to be £50 ($87.52 at today's rate) when it's released in the UK on 20th October - and it doesn't look as if we're going to get the CD with it either. Oh well, made a saving by pre-ordering from Amazon.co.uk - £25 until release.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 14, 2008
OK, OK, enough! I ordered it.
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
I am pretty much sure that you might have had a thousand other glimpses of your future when you were eight, involving, architects, botanists, snake charmers and a whole lot of others. Now that you are a cartoonist, the theory about a vision, is the most convenient and pleasant stance, and your mind has more than readily accepted it. Same applies to San Francisco.
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
http://www.basicinstructions.net/2007/04/how-to-deal-with-visions.html
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
It comes with a disk?????!!! Are the comics in color? Or traditional black and white? Ohhhhh, I want all the books! (currently 19 out of 53)
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
Wow, you are a nut.
 
 
 
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