?

Log in

[icon] a secular intellectual monastic community? - a study in contradictions
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (Just me).

Current Music:DI Chillout
Security:
Subject:a secular intellectual monastic community?
Time:12:37 pm
Current Mood:contemplativecontemplative
There are many people in the world who would like to have the opportunity to just think. All day, every day, doing nothing but thinking, writing, creating, developing new ideas and rehashing old ones. They don't like dealing with "the real world", since the "real world" is full of greed, hypocrisy, crime, apathy, and indifference. These people want to be in an environment which fosters growth and discovery, not one in which you must struggle day to day to pay needless bills and put food in your mouth. And, yes, I'm one of these people.

If certain grants could be obtained, whether from the government or from private citizens or other groups, this could happen. I know there are fellowships that do such things as this, but they usually pay for one person for a set time. I also know about some government grants, but they are filled with red tape and are for a specific need or goal. I'm talking about a freeform institution where those of us who wish to be free of the mundane aspects of day-to-day life can live while developing whatever ideas or thoughts interest us at the moment. Science, medicine, philosophy, art, music, political science...any and all of these, and many things not listed, would be "fair game" for people.

The institution could be funded by those wealthier members of society or via government grants. People and organizations could pledge support. The support would go for building upkeep, food, to pay a few staff members (cook, accountant, lawyer, and those "interfacing" with the "real world"), and purchase supplies (books, food, clothing, etc.). The residents could work or not work, as their personal circumstances and wishes dictate, but they'd always have food, clothing, a roof, and a nurturing environment for their studies.

The residents would not be able to patent or copyright their work or research - that would be done by the institution's non-profit corporate structure, or placed somehow in the public domain completely. This would keep the information free and of use to everyone. A resident could use his ideas to make money, but the ideas themselves would be "open source" or "public domain" somehow. This model has worked incredibly well for Linux and other open source operating systems; it can work well for other sorts of information, too.

What would the donors get in return? The understanding that all information and research done here is useful in some way or another and will benefit mankind. They would get no special rights to anything done at the institution, although they could use them like anyone else could.

The institution library would be incredible, with books and media on every topic imaginable, and with published works on all research and study done at the institution. A monthly magazine could be published of current research currents and ideas. A website would give up-to-the-minute info from the institution and the residents, who would be required to publish on the Internet and in print about their progress as often as is practical.

I'd love to live somewhere like this. This is what universities used to be, I think, or at least what their ideal state should have been. This could be a freeform think-tank, a place for new ideas to spawn and grow.

I wish it were so.
comments: Leave a comment Previous Entry Share Next Entry


amp23
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 11:01 am (UTC)
i wish there were such a place too. i think it would be a nice counterbalance to the rightwing think-tanks who spend their time thinking of ways to extend and cement their control mechanisms.
(Reply) (Thread)


openmynd
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 11:06 am (UTC)
Would you live there? Or would you contribute to it if it were built?

And it would be open to right-wingers, too. ;-) The thing about it is that it would need to be extremely open to new ideas and possibilities. People should be in there because they are intelligent, excited (not just "willing", but EXCITED!) to learn, and can't stop thinking and creating. They may say, "OH! I've got this great process for combating world hunger, but it involves worldwide Rush Limbaugh broadcasts, the blood of a chicken, and a computer program!"; you'd have to say, "Well, OK. I think that's nuts, but publish it." The place would generate a massive amount of information, some of which would be useless and some of which would be astounding - an informational bell curve in action, I guess.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


amp23
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 11:13 am (UTC)
i wasn't suggesting right wingers should be excluded, of course. just that an open collaborative community of thinkers would be the antithesis of the right wing think-tank which is all about hierarchy and control.

certainly all viewpoints should be welcomed and discussed, especially if it were an environment where resorting to personal attacks instead of debating ideas would be seen as a weak position to speak from. i'm sick of people who don't agree with each other resorting to attacks that are irrelevant to the discussion - something all sides engage in to the detriment of the real issues.

if i had the opportunity i would definitely live in such a place (would even put work into it building a media studio for allowing the ideas to be disseminated beyond the community). if i wasn't in a position to move to such a place i would support it in any way i could.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


openmynd
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 11:16 am (UTC)
I wasn't implying that you wanted to exclude right-wingers. I can't stand them, either, but if I can get them to think, so much the better. :-)

And, yes, the peer pressure could be that, if you used personal attacks, you would be considered weak, unintelligent, or that your argument was worthless. That would be easy to foster, I would think.

Thanks for the support. :-) Hmmm....I wonder if a guy with nothing to his name could start something like this? [stroking chin in contemplation]
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


decibel45
Subject:I'd love to live there
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 12:21 pm (UTC)
spend all day doing whatever I like and someone else pays for me to live. I love it! Sign me up!

Just don't expect me to be happy with funding it involuntarily (ie: through taxes).
(Reply) (Thread)


openmynd
Subject:Re: I'd love to live there
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 12:33 pm (UTC)
And you missed the point completely. Figures. Most people will probably think this is a horrible idea. "Damn bums!", they'd scream. "Get a job!", they'd yell. Yeah, thinking isn't doing anything, is it? It's worthless, and produces nothing.

Hell, why try to be nice to humanity, anyway? What's the point? Why shouldn't I go out, earn a shitload of money, oppress those who offend or confront me, and buy the world?

Why shouldn't I? Because that option, currently being pursued by a large portion of the human race, sucks ass.

But, enjoy it, if you like.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


decibel45
Subject:Re: I'd love to live there
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 12:43 pm (UTC)
I didn't say it's worthless or that it would produce nothing. I said I shouldn't be forced to pay for it (of course there's a ton of other wonderful stuff our government does that I shouldn't be paying for either).

If you can find some other way to fund it, my hat's off to you, and I wish you luck. Who knows, I could even end up contributing to it if the mood strikes me. I just don't like the idea of the government sponsoring it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

cowquat
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 03:04 pm (UTC)
I don't understand why you think this is different from a university, except that there is a peer community that decides who is accepted, i.e. granted a tenure position. These communities are funded by some combination of the 'wealthy' (alumni) and the government.
(Reply) (Thread)


openmynd
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 09:51 pm (UTC)
This is more freeform. You're not there to "get a degree", only to learn and spread knowledge - that's a very different goal.

As I said, I think universities are somewhat like this, or maybe used to be. Or not.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


equiraptor
Link:(Link)
Time:2003-10-27 09:57 pm (UTC)
But what about the professors? Sure, they have to spend some time teaching, but that's a chance for them to share their thoughts with a wider array of people. Many professors do a great deal of thinking, experimenting, and the like. And if they have tenure, they can be paid quite well to do it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


justbeast
Subject:Linux-style monastery
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-02-18 11:50 am (UTC)
How very, very interesting.
Great (? :)) minds think alike.
I have had a /very/ similar train of thoughts about a year ago, and have started on the (long) way towards making it happen.
I'd love to compare notes as we go along.

~Dmitri
(Reply) (Thread)


openmynd
Subject:Re: Linux-style monastery
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-02-18 01:38 pm (UTC)
Please do. I'll drop you an e-mail or catch you on Yahoo Messenger ( openmynded1 ).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] a secular intellectual monastic community? - a study in contradictions
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (Just me).