Member Rara Avis
Phaedrus, "The Mote in God's Eye" and its sequel, "The Gripping Hand" were by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. Without question, one of the best novels of non-human society ever written.
Brad, I think random neuron flashes and, by extension dreams, are often the result of normal, we-can't-seem-to-help-it human associations. The neuron flash may be random, but our brains inevitably try to "make sense" out of it, building a sometimes elaborate structure of associative thoughts in the process. I think that at least some instances of inspiration are similarly inspired, but with associative thoughts that actually turn out to make a lot of sense to us. And while it's unclear we can ever avoid the associations, I do think we can sometimes control WHICH associations will be made. The associations are a bit like being shoved and then stumbling for several steps in the direction we were pushed. With practice, I think we can position ourselves on the precipice of a steep hill and, no matter which direction the shove pushes us, after a few faltering steps, we are more likely than not to follow gravity down the hill.