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Riding With Benjamin Franklin

We often find ourselves trapped in our own "autopilot" ways of looking at the world…so much so that we can miss all the richness that surrounds us each day. We all want to bulk up on experiential fuel, but if we can't see the forest for the trees, how do we do that?

An interesting thought experiment came to me the other day as I was driving back from feeding our chickens: I allowed myself to imagine that I was driving along with Benjamin Franklin sitting in the passenger seat. He's a great figure from our history-a true creative visionary, but his world was so much different than ours.

If he was transported into our time and your job was to drive him from here to there, before he has had any chance to experience our world-what would you talk about? What things would he notice out the car window that would be fascinating to him (what things would he notice IN the car?). Imagine you are his first significant contact with our time: how would you explain the world around him? What things would excite him? Terrify him? Imagine yourself in this dialogue-explaining a world familiar yet utterly alien to an intelligent, curious man-out-of-time.

Try this someday… it doesn't have to be Mr. Franklin, but allow yourself to be their guide during your drive and you might find that you are seeing the same old things in very new ways.