What (if any) are the methods of initiation?
Initiation, despite some overtones it has picked up does not imply that the community is a cult. Established communities and organisations use initiation ceremonies all the time, from university graduation days, to receiving a watch for your 21st birthday. There should be some official recognition of achievements not just for the community but for the individual. Public recognition of every grade is a sign of achievement and success.
There certainly should be a method of initiation into the community just to let people realise they are entering a new system, a moment they should remember, a time they should look back on.
Once such possibility is in the initial 6 months of entering the community to make a huge emphasis on the change the person is going through. Everyone enters equal that is certain they are given all the some basic clothing and items they are introduced to their teachers and staff. While there are many possibilities 2 things have a big reaction.
- Sudden environmental or external change greatly effects us
- Gradual unnoticed change suddenly noticed deeply effects us.
By moving into the the community we have already accomplished point 1 by radically changing the environment people are accustomed to. I have numerous opinions on how to achieve option 2 which are merely conjecture.
Firstly, each and every long term member candidate will shave their head on entry, it may seem extreme but if you want a generation of newcomers to identify and connect with each other creating a common unnatural situation works very well, it is in line with entering the community as equals and in 6 months you will have your hair back with its natural colour at a reasonable length.
Secondly, a lack of mirrors in the novice community would only aid in the effect of gradual unnoticed change. After 6 months of exercise, meditation, healthy eating and regular sleep only the healthiest of individuals would remain unchanged at the end.
After an optional shave the candidates would have access to a full body mirror of their new selves which should be a radical change from their initial point.
Levels of BMI, cardiovascular fitness and making people redo any tests they initially did would all hammer home how much they have changed physically.
For mental improvement show them their increase in levels in subjects in front of classes show the novice how far they have come in just 6 months welcome them to the community in a state of good health and positive thinking.
Each major step should be an exercise in showing the difference between now and where you were before.
What are the minimum and maximum ages one should be allowed to enter?
This will no doubt change over time as the organisation grows and lifespan increases. The upper limit on age will be only guesswork. Certainly the panels created to deliberate entrance should take into account someones age till retirement or equally their youth. Initially, 18+ seems a reasonable standard and up to 60-65 as a maximum age.
However, it depends on how the community grows if eventually it offers an education system from infancy to university, the “starting age” drops dramatically if it starts an orphanage education system in developing countries it could drop to the new born.
Equally, life expectancy grows presently around 3 months a year so predicting a maximum age is very difficult.
These figures should be reviewed and debated regularly especially with relevant community changes or breakthroughs in longevity.
What methods will exist for changing current or future mandates, regulations and amending or rewriting the constitution?
As described earlier (e76) there should be regular committees who rewrite the rules and regulations to reflect the changes of thinking of the time, what was considered moral or scientific fact 40 years ago is very different to now.
The other time it would be necessary is if an individual calls into question a rule or procedure, in this case a new debate committee will be formed and the reasoning behind the old rule will be reviewed and discussions with those involved.
Each debate on changing the regulation needs a 2/3 majority for or against if this doesn’t occur the group is expanded until a consensus is voted on.
Ultimately if the issue is consistently undecided it will involve the entire community at which point if threatening to destabilize the community into camps there will be a think tank on a better third solution and the elected official in charge will make a decision with the larger majority.
Disputes of this nature should be avoided from the outset by not writing or creating regulations that divide opinions so radically.
What methods of self promotion or publicity will the community employ? There are three reasons, which immediately occur to me, to publicise oneself; reason one, is to find new members; the second is to find work and the third is to let people know what services you offer.
Secondary reasons are that such publicity can help correctly tell society who we are and what our motivations are.
As mentioned in previous entries it is necessary that we interact with the local community this word of mouth and actively approaching organisations is in itself a form of promotion. Offering cheap services to businesses and open source solutions to local administration and civil institutions, or simply providing free supplementary teacher aids to teach subjects like science, computing or debating skills, allowing the public to be members of the community dojo e.t.c. All of the above will be methods to promote the community.
Active ventures will include stalls at career days for colleges and universities showing people and the alternatives to the traditional systems. Conferences on subjects to engage the public interest writing peer reviews for the scientific community or a free science column for local newspapers.
Essentially, promotion should not be done simply for the sake of promotion or self praise, but should occur out of genuine effort to help the general public and offer advice, education and help.
[note: since I wrote this in a book over 2 years ago, I have been struggling to create a language school, learning a great deal about promotion, sales, attracting attention and all that implies. While this the core reason I haven’t been writing up my community notes I realise how naïve I was when I wrote the above. It is an incredibly difficult process to sell something new to the public. This doesn’t negate what I said, public promotion selling our services and reaching out to the public is necessary but a solid plan of how to do that is very necessary. Also any teacher help, courses and writing science columns would only be accepted once the community has managed to establish itself as a reliable organisation without an agenda.]
Why are members trained in subjects like martial arts and meditation?
There was a long consideration in writing the entries about martial arts and meditation. Meditation has a solid amount of scientific evidence to show that it has numerous physical, emotional and cognitive benefits. While we can draw connections between practitioners of martial arts and other similar benefits it may simply be due to increased exercise, focus, discipline or even meditation done during the course of their studies. The correlation is less clear.
Either way in the spirit of preparedness for any situation it would be prudent to teach a soft system of martial arts [note: by soft I mean a martial art that utilises technique over brute force and yielding rather than opposing forces] like Aikido which can be more defensive in nature and also teaches practitioners how to fall without hurting themselves or restrain someone who is being violent.
Martial arts teaches discipline, allows for purposeful exercise, aids balance and builds self-confidence. If we take a holistic approach to the individual members of the community this is a vital facet of that approach.
So I’m still on holiday here in Lisbon, hence the lack of posts in any regard or work towards any of my projects. Still, considering all the plans I have for the upcoming few months having a holiday now is much better than trying to have one later.
Lisbon is as great as I remember it, although I’m in a very different part of town called Alfama. It’s the oldest part of Lisbon and sadly, it looks it. Despite the crumbling buildings it’s well worth visiting, listening to Fado (traditional Portuguese music and eating Sardines, chilling out at the castle. Also it’s different being here with a girlfriend we’ve done very different things and I’ve seen stuff I probably would have missed by myself.
On that note if you get a chance, go to the zoo! It’s a fantastic one, lots of animals in nice habitats; dolphin and seal shows. Very impressed.
Right off to enjoy our last day shopping and chilling out before coming back to Toulouse for an extreme amount of work. Plus we have to leave around 4 in the morning just to get the flight… Arrghh.