So I haven’t written in forever, daily writing was my intent until I got a new job, moved apartment, started working full time, also have started exercising. I Have no routine and the last big task to write, based on the masterclass by Neil Gaiman, was unwieldy and while I reached the end I need to revise and rework it.
To break the dry spell I’m going to try and use the book 642 things to write about. It gives you a topic to write just a short paragraph a day on. The hope is if I can just get into the habit of sitting down and writing every day for a few minutes, I can develop that into a habit of writing what I love, science fiction and fantasy. I’ll also try to include a photo I take each day.
What can happen in a second?
A lot of things can happen in a second, you can fall in love, you can make a life-changing decision, step into the path of a vehicle. Anything and everything in our lives can be traced back to a choice we have made.
That’s quite a lot of weight to put on our shoulders though, also it doesn’t mean that other people’s choices have no impact on our lives, the actions that you have no control over, the random vagueries of life that hit you on some idle Tuesday.
Or in the case of my office getting up for one second and having my cat Ninja take his rightful place on my office chair. He seems happy enough with that choice.
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
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.
Contracts between a community and an individual seems initially repellent, as an idea. Although in such a complex environment with a society that pays individuals has ideas of ownership of goods and has mandatory regimes and possible punishments it seems necessary for an exhaustive legal and insurance based contract must exist if not for lifetime members at least then for transitory members who ware there for the university/ higher educationlearning / experience.
Contracts will likely include:
Forms of payments.
Acceptance of punitive measures in cases of inappropriate behaviour.
Now I am not a lawyer so there needs to be some legal representation to confirm the legal contract is acceptable. Eventually legally trained and qualified members of the community may well exist.
Also there may be variations of the contract in different host nations to correctly comply with civil law in that country as such there should be a publicly available (and translated) template that anyone can read with an up to date guide through the clauses and the reasons for each part so that the lay person can understand.
The number mandated by countries of paid vacation days varies a lot. The best would be around 30 days of paid leave + national / public holidays. These should allow members to travel home for important festivals and family gatherings, it should also give much needed rest from communitychores and give you exposure to a different lifestyle.
Additional mandated vacation will occur on a regular 2 or 3 year basis, where members are sent on sabbatical or abroad to broaden their experience of the world (e50).
Finally, there should probably be a variation of days for permanent and transitory members but not too vast.
The most complicated elements would be in assuring the ‘pay’ into the savings account and holidays should only really be allowed at the end of the 6 month grace period.
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 abouttraining 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?
I am about to release a 12-part tweet thread on the subject of whether authors should ever express political opinions. I doubt you will be surprised at my conclusion, but it will have some granularity. Also, it will have a cat picture at the end. About 2 minutes.
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