Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Nedra Weinreich

Fascinating! I had no idea. You're right that this concept has all kinds of applications to our own lives, in terms of values, people and geopolitics. Thanks for a great, thought-provoking post.

Carma Dutra

Thanks for this post Roger. Now I have a name to explain what is happening when ideas and positions shift.

I think Thubans are generational because the pendulum of life always swings back to the other end. Take fashion for example. During the 1940's women wore their dresses short due to the material shortage. (I wasn't there, but I was told.) In the 1970's the short skirt came back again.

I don't know how scientific that is but nature is cyclable.


this piece of yours is filled with observational truth, Roger... but to me at least, indicates also a large question or perhaps unexplained series of mysteries.

For example:
1) where & how do these ideas lie latent? My personal experience is that although my interests are on a consistent theme, the ideas moving in and out of my attention are variable around that theme... come from a variety of traditions and APPEAR in my consciousness intuitively, although they can often be later researched via google and identified as ... oh that's what Buddhist master so and so said... or oh that was the thought pattern of Socrates.. or whatever.
Clearly, to me, these thoughts or thought fields exist somehow "non-physically", and "make themselves known" through a process that we may call intuitive or creative, perhaps.... although "creative" seems often not something we do, so much, but more something we allow-to-happen..... we being human agents facilitating expression.

2) for me, these are not so much "guiding lights" as they are information sources that provide answers to questions I have in mind. The experience is also not one of guidance, but more-so of association.. of gathering-together, or as most recently described "coalescing" or "confluence".

this process is fascinating.. sometimes entertaining... and often useful.

it is like "ask Yahoo" except that the questions are tossed out "into thin air" and from thin air, answers come.

(I imagine you know, Roger, what I mean)


i love this idea! i wrote up a response in my own journal, but i'll spare you b/c it is's just a bit.

personal thuban: poetry. i loved it growing up all the way, when i took a poetry writing course. the main thing i learned [or already knew] is that no one can teach you to write poetry. sure, there are reams of mediocre-to-bad poetry that could use some direction and polishing. but i love words and all their meanings and associations. i love imagery that transcends the literal. and a few years after i finished grad school, i rediscovered not only how much i love poetry, but how much it means to me personally. most recently, when my father died, i got out my copy of leaves of grass and flipped to the section that contains, 'and to die is different than anyone supposed, and luckier.' it's time travel of sorts; when i revisit a favorite poem from my youth, i am 10 or 12 or 16 again, with all the freshness and curiosity [and, yes, angst] that accompanies those ages.

Roger von Oech

Thanks for the comments!

Nedra: I knew this stuff in high school and college, but then forget about it. It was fun to "re-discover" and then turn into a creativity principle.

Carma Dutra: Or Martinis were big in the 40s and 50s, went out of style, and then became the Thuban drink of the 90s. Same thing with cigars.

David: Good thoughts to ponder. (And, yes I think I know what you mean . . . for a lot of it!)

Shelbey: Interesting example: poetry as your "personal Thuban." I like that it brings back a lot of your own energies and feelings. I wonder what the human of the year 20,300 AD will do to top the Pyramids!


Hi Roger, I love this fact and its metaphorical implications. So my North Star can change, or cycle and come around again, likely in a new way... or with added meaning. Once it seemed to be dance. I thought if I could not dance, I would not be alive. And then I lost the ability to do that for a long time. I learned other things, like painting, but at one point I could not do that. And then singing. My voice teachers have been very patient, but one thing they have said is that the older voice changes. And if we keep singing, the voice will stay available and capable. But if we stop, it will seem a great problem to get it going again. Which is what happened with dance. It was hard to get it going again, but when my body allowed, I did get to dance again. I am not the dancer I was, of course. Much changed in my physical capabilities, and my N Star... moved. Or the new one that came into my vision... is about Art and I have a broader spectrum for my creative expression. It may be less focused? Or it may be heading somewhere else in the solar system. Or the night sky. But this is all right. It feels like instead of a narrow vision, I get to have a lot of ways to express myself and to learn about life. Was the N Star there all along? Or going around? I no longer think that to dance is to live, as if that is the only way to live. But it is a fabulous part of being alive. As is painting, which I get to do more of again, and singing... And writing. Which I ought to edit, right? But here is my comment for the moment. Thuban lives. All the best to you!

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