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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.
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What is the purpose of the community?
This has been covered in numerous past entries, however there is no single use to a multi-tool. But the more these entries are written the more the purpose has evolved. From being prepared -> providing for the community -> helping those organisations that currently exist through our expertise.
Thus we can help the world via the frameworks that currently exist, alongside our own contributions. The ultimate aim is to reduce the suffering of the world and that of future generations.
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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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Why have punishments in the community?
There are two fundamental methods of punishment; personal remorse or guilt for your actions and socially or legally imposed punishments.
It is firstly important to clarify that if any civil law is broken it is up to the external authorities to decide the severity of the punishment according to the laws of the nation the community resides in [note: This means irrelevant of the moral codes of the community if someone brakes the law of the nation that the community is operating in they are charged and sentenced by the authorities in that nation. There should be no excuses and all laws of a host nation should be upheld]. This is right, proper and should not be disregarded or lashed out against, even if the civil law seems incorrect or archaic.
If there is a breakdown of order in the community that is not relevant to civil law, like a member not working or causing agitation, regularly causing distress etc. The range of punishments would flow from isolation -> exile. The reason should be clear ‘ good behaviour should be encouraged and rewarded while negative or destructive behaviour should be discouraged and mitigated.
As physical punishment has been regularly shown to be notoriously bad at being an effective system to change habits, social isolation and reflection seems a more appropriate method. Humans without training find social interactions and stimulus pretty necessary. Social isolation or enforced reflection on difficult topics should be sparingly dispensed to transgressors, certainly an authority figure dealing out the punishment should be in a group of selected officials who all agree on what is being done.
The council in charge of the rules and assessment of peers who might be removed from community permanently will either
a) need to be carefully decided on by a vote from the community or,
b) the matter must be voted on by the entire community in an open dialogue
As removing someone from the community permanently is the most decisive judgement the community can deliver.
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I am trying to take my various blog ideas and put them on this site so things may get pretty messy until I find a nice way to separate posts and clean things up. I am not too worried about losing the minimal traffic I have from this as most of what I write is simply to have written it up in a digital format.
My latest inclusion is the Exploration I notes, a large quantity of quasi-philosophical / political writing that I did while on buses and the métro. The idea of creating a community of people dedicated to science and progress in much the same way a monastic order is dedicated to praying and servitude to a god. Only in this case it’s serving humanity and would have tangible results.
I have been very absent recently but I hope to make this a habit again. I have a lot of work to do and only one lifetime to do it in. Wish me luck.