Home
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

 
Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +11
  • Print
  • Share

Comments

Sort By:
Oct 13, 2008
Hi Scott,

I am one of the most pragmatic people I know (heh heh) and I explore things in minute detail using scientific methods and statistical analyses, including ESP and every other kind of "magic" that we currently know about. Some things of course appear to be just plain hooey and completely made up by irrational people [at least as far as it appears at the moment], but things like seeing into the future or deja vu or whatever you want to call it, I have come to believe and understand is a facility of the mind/brain that we don't recognize (as a society) as a valid rational experience, but actually does occur. There are too many valid and credible case studies. I think that it has something to do with what the nature of time is and how it is perceived and will eventually fall into whatever string or M theory eventually describes time, gravity, et.al when they finally start to get it right. The current theories still read pretty high on my BS detector, because a lot of stuff is left out or neglected which doesn't fit the projected universal model whatsoever.

In any event, when I was a baby I recall vivid memories of dreams, (among other waking baby memories) that turned out to be deja vu feelings when they actually happened years later, then I recalled having the dreams when very young. Based on my own experience and the detailed experiences of others having such detail of "future" events in their own lives, it is my belief that we do not understand the "greater" facilities of our minds in any real detail yet and we also do not have a good grasp of what "time" and "gravity" and "electricity" and other "primal (as described in physics) forces actually are, with apologies to Dr. Hawking, of course. No "magic" involved. As it was once said (paraphrased) "Any civilization sufficiently technically advanced beyond ours demonstrating their technology to us will appear to us as magic." Just because we don't understand a thing doesn't mean that thing is magic.

Thank you for your personal commentaries. I appreciate them very much.
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
If you look at what most other prophets have to live with in order to see the future, I think the no voice thing is getting off light. Many prophets, like Tieresias, are blind, others suffer through infirmity, migraines and all other sorts of maladies. Granted, speaking engagements are not possible right now, but if and when you get your voice back I think you will be getting more than ever.
Any visions of where oil futures will be next month?
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
Did I read that right? You stuffed 20 years of wit in a ten pound book?

(I'll bet you didn't see that one coming!)

Anyway, it looks like an awesome collectible. I just ordered mine from Amazon.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 13, 2008
The best thing about predicting the future is that it hasn't happened yet.

Predicting the future is easy, especially your own ... Deciphering the past is difficult.
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
While chances of anyone becoming successful cartoonist who performs to large crowds are astronomical, I doubt it is unlikely for certain type of people to have dreamed of cartooning career since childhood and have rock star life fantasies in college. In other words, there is you, the one who made it, and then there are millions of us losers with same fantasies.

However, I do think that there is something in us that makes doing specific things in our lives feel absolutely right.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 13, 2008
Funny, when I was a kid, I had this vision of handing all of my money to a cartoonist who gives speeches. Purchased.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 13, 2008
Hi Scott,

Nice post, I look forward to buying the book, maybe tonight, hope my local Border's has a copy. I like a good anthology, but never had one that came with a CD, sounds neat. Although I truly hope it is not "This is the best product I will ever be associated with." Are you planning on a crappy 50th year book? I figure we will both be around for that version.

dsg

PS: I just read about the guy who is getting this year's Nobel prize for economics, Paul Krugman from Princeton. I am not impressed, his work hardly sounds world altering. Add him to the list of people you know you can out achieve.
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
It just got added to my Christmas list.
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
You recently showed us a Dilbert strip that was nearly identical to one you had previously published. If you look back in your blog archives, you'll find that you already told us a similar story about you having 'seen' your future. You then asked us to describe any similar incidents that happened to us, which I did.

I'm beginning to think that you are remembering things in reverse: after they happen to you, you think you saw them coming earlier, when in fact you didn't. Sort of like reverse deja vu. At the same time, a logical inference if they did in fact happen as you describe, is that something led you to your 'visions.' They were possibly your subconscious working out where you wanted to go with your life, and where you wanted to be. Once you saw them, you started working toward making them true. Rather than seeing your future, then, you were seeing your desires as though they had already been realized, and then began to work both consciously and unconsciously to make them happen.

If you haven't read it, I'd recommend the classic book "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. You would be quite interested, I believe, in his concept of the 'master mind.'

Or maybe not. With you, I can never tell.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 13, 2008
DUDE $53 dollars are you on some sort of mind altering substance? When will it be out on paperback?
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
You said it's ten pounds. The description on Amazon says it's more than ten pounds. Then you get down to the details and it says, "Shipping Weight: 9 pounds". It made me laugh.

I just sent the link to my wife as a Christmas gift idea because I'd love to have it.
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
Congratulations scott I think you truly deserve a good life. After reading this blog and all that you had to go through to become successful I applaud you. Now if only I could do something similar, because I am not meant to be middle class. LOL
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
Congratulations scott I think you truly deserve a good life. After reading this blog and all that you had to go through to become successful I applaud you. Now if only I could do something similar, because I am not meant to be middle class. LOL
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 13, 2008
"I consider myself the biggest skeptic in the world."

I doubt that.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 13, 2008
Amazon shipped mine yesterday; can't wait to get my hands on it :).
 
 
Oct 13, 2008
I've been reading your blog for years, now. I like these types of stories -- the affirmations, your childhood, your varied experiences, etc... This new book sounds like a good product. Keep up the great work!
 
 
 
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog