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What interactions will happen between the community and the society at large?
There should be a healthy level of interaction between the community and locals especially in a business, social, care, aid and education sense. Open classes available to all would be an appropriate venture, helping local homeless shelters with time and excess food, promoting educative systems and programs, organizing public debates between contentious groups or on serious issues like immigration, vaccination, global warming etc. Hopefully showing to people how real science works in opposition to hyperbole and media misrepresentation.
Public conferences, science fairs, supporting local teachers and students should all be considered reliable services which the community provides.
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So I saw this article on neural studies of Monks doing meditation and it’s effects on the brain:
I’m presently reading a book on some of this, it’s really quite amazing. There is a sizeable amount of scientific literature which shows that meditative skills and methods have a huge number of positive benefit to the way we think. With that in mind, I wonder how long it will take to get meditation programs into schools. We are all about training the mind but really we’re mostly just teaching facts and not creative ways to think or solve problems.
In present education systems, at least the ones in the west that I am familiar, there is a focus on how much you ‘know’ as opposed to teaching students how to learn it, use it and retain it. I honestly remember very little of my schooling before University, just like most people we retain relevant pieces here and there but the bulk of it has very little use, outside of a pub quiz. Of course it’s good to have a wide spread of subjects at school to help us find what we excel in or enjoy, but what we need is to teach our children some methods ‘of learning’ rather than making them simply ‘memorize facts’
To clarify, there are a number of teachable skills and methods that we can raise attention levels, memory retention and enhance cognition among people. Even a regular 30 minute exercise and 20 minutes of meditation before schooling, every day, could have dramatic results. Mnemonic techniques have also existed for centuries and while they are a way of ‘memorizing facts’ they are a method which would help in every subject, not just one. Conceptual framing, lucid dreaming and many, many more techniques exist, they work, we already have them, they just aren’t taught in schools.
We need to teach the next generation how to think, not in George Orwellian kind of factual dictatorship kind of way, but in a vibrant, dynamic, constructive way. From memory palaces in primary school to meditation and dialogues at college. Let’s try and create better people and better learners and work from there. Let’s try make a better student rather than a more comprehensive exam, in all honesty none of us have a clue what the world will be like in 20 years anyway, so what the exam is testing for is really to give you grades to get you into the next level. It’s measuring your capability at the time it was taken. Something which will never reflect your ability in the future, nor prepare you for it.
For those worried about religious aspects or indoctrination into a particular faith, like Buddhism for example. Don’t. While religions were the initial creators of these methods they are now firmly being understood and in the realm of science. Just like we don’t teach kids Islamic algebra, Christian science or even Hindu Yoga the religious underpinnings have been clipped from these subjects and we focus on the problem solving methodology or physical benefits they offer. In the future meditation will also be stripped of its religious elements and join the world alongside other subjects. Meditation is to the mind what the gym or an exercise regime is to the body.
So now that I’ve got that off my chest, any ideas how do we go about getting these methods and meditations into schools?
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What standards will be used to decide entrance into the community?
While there is an open door policy there must be some form of standards or at least trial period to avoid abuse and allow proper evaluation of new members. Highly skilled lay persons or transitory members will obviously require a different set of standards, if any, in comparison to someone wanting to make a lifetime commitment.
There should be an elected committee and official, both of which are created by draws of random lots, who decide new members. Each case from a retired university professor or a student who dropped out of school should be considered on their skills, situation and their motivations.
[note:the community is meant to help the next generation and should believe in the ability for all humans, without mental disorders, when given the opportunity have the ability to change themselves.]
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On the previous post 99 I have had a few extra thoughts
There are times in extreme situations when this [following the laws of the host country] may cause a conflict of interest, take for example, a woman who was beheaded for practising witchcraft in Saudi Arabia, this followed the laws of the nation, and as such quite rightly caused international condemnation. How can one blithely say “follow the host countries rules without question”.
Similarly, what to do if a community member is called out as being a witch or sentenced in such a way? Or if a corrupt government or Nazi like dictatorship demands the community to obey oppressive, unethical rules.
In fact it may not even need to be that extreme what if a person arrives at the door begging for sanctuary because they are to be married against their will, or a minor who is experiencing abuse, an outspoken reporter who has been found to spread information about his corrupt government.
It would be simple to say; this is unlikely, this probably won’t occur but that would shy away from the simple question.
I am writing Exploration II which covers more of these moral ambiguities and questions of conflicts of state corruption vs. community ethics. Suffice to say I realise this is a complex issue and Exploration I is only intended as an initial foray into the concept of the community. It was never designed to cover every detail.
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I was reminded of Malcom Gladwell’s book on viral marketing ‘the tipping point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference’ when I watched this video. Just for the method of creating a sticky message easily spread. I haven’t smoked for a long time, and I realise the difficulties in giving up. The road to obtaining release is probably never traversed, I still to this day want a cigarette when I’ve had a drink or when I have a moment of indecision and stress.
The strategy followed in the video is a great one it makes people question themselves, it makes people realise the questions they wont ask. It needs to be pursued, cigarette companies are a multi-billion dollar industry based upon addiction and death. When was the last time we looked at that and thought “this is wrong”.
I for one wish that the selling of tobacco was banned but that probably wouldn’t stop the trade. We need better methods to stop children from starting and strangle this industry from the roots up.