Q: What is Nobility?
A: Nobility is solving problems for the group you belong to. It is also how you solve those problems. Nobility is solving problems the way nature solves problems and creating new things that make the problems go away, so that the solutions work for a long time without causing even bigger problems.
Q: Who can you point to who is noble?
A: I know people in many fields who have a real shot at it. The game isn't over. History will be the judge. But they have always been there at the turning points of history. It stands to reason they are there now too. This is a "Find Waldo" project. Who do you know that is noble and what can you do to help them?
Q: Can anybody be noble?
A: Any one who pays the price long enough. The price is very high and it demands an entire lifetime of making payments.
Q: Do you have to be rich or highly educated to be noble?
A: You will need to be rich in something. Perhaps rich in creativity or courage or social skills. And you will have to know a lot. You will need to understand the real reasons the current answers don't work so you can create new ones that do. That is what real education is for. It doesn't matter where or how you educated yourself, but yes, you must educate yourself constantly to be noble.
Q: Why should I care about these people?
A: You may be raising one or married to one. You might have one as a student or employee. If you care about that person it would be good to know what they require to be healthy enough to do their work in the world. Answer-finders are put together differently than answer-followers. If you know what makes them tick you can work with them to bring out their natural nobility. And when they are living our their natural nobility the world will become a better place and we will all have a better future to look forward to. So if you have children you will want these people to emerge in the world and do their thing.
And then it is possible that you are one yourself. You need to know how to take care of yourself, if that is the case.
Q: This sounds elitist. Are you saying some people are better than others?
A: At some things, yes. And if the thing we are talking about is something that really matters, an area of competence that affects the lives of many people for many years I don't know about you – but I want the most able person handling it.
I call it the "Captain Sully" principle. Once the plane has been hit by geese, he's the one I want at the controls. He is better at that than me. In that situation I, if I were at the controls I would get us all killed.
Q: How can I know if I might be noble?
A: Read my book! Seriously – if you have always sensed there has to be a better way to do things than the way a group does things now - and if you have been courageous enough to try new ways of doing things, even without your group's support or approval - you might be noble.
Q: We have a lot of problems on our plate right now as a society. Is this the time to be talking about a New Nobility?
A: When we look at all the big, scary problems our country faces right now we may be tempted to feel despair. We might ask, "why doesn't SOMEBODY do something!?" Well, those somebodies have to exist before they can do something. The people I am writing about are those somebodies who will develop new solutions and see them through until they are adopted.
They have always appeared at the moment of our greatest need, at least in this country. I believe they will do so again, but I think they need a nudge to stand up and be counted. This book is that nudge.
Q: What inspired you to write this?
A: I began to feel a creeping sense of alarm and despair in my countrymen about five years ago. It has only grown since then. That is not the America I know. I wanted to remind us of who are and have always been.
I lived overseas and I know the rest of the world looks to us to find the new way of doing things. We are the "can do" people, that is a very noble trait. We figure it out and move on into a better future. We can't let that be swallowed up by our despair. I don't believe we will, but we need individual examples to follow to remember who we are.
I have good news. We still produce them. I have met them and worked alongside them.
I wanted to tell their stories.
Q: What qualifies you to write this?
A: I have spent my life trying to find the answer to one question: Why do people stop growing and start dying, both individually and organizationally? I made educational and career choices that allowed me to pursue the answer to that question. Here's what I discovered: We stop growing and start dying when we don't have a noble example around to show us we can keep growing and creating, right through the problems we face.
Q: What is the New Nobility Project?
A: My inspiration is the National Geographic Society. That organization links together ordinary people interested in understanding the mysteries of nature with professional explorers who reveal those mysteries, and then come back and share what they discover with the larger membership.
The New Nobility Project will be a non-profit organization that is open for anyone to join. Just as the National Geographic Society probes the hidden limits of the natural world, so the New Nobility Project will probe the limits of human potential when in comes to solving really hard problems in the real world.
We don't know what the upper limit of human potential is – but we know most of us live below it! But that doesn't mean we aren't interested in where that limit is and how it might be approached.
The New Nobility Project will identify, cultivate and support nobles who are doing things that matter in the world and then share with anyone who is interested what we learn about how these people go about it, and provide opportunities to help.
For more information see Explore the Project.