OK, so I am going to be candid for a minute. I was shocked by the responses I received on my last post. Not sure if many of you have been reading some of the things people were writing, hopefully you missed the bulk of negativity as I have had someone working consistently to take down the negative and hateful comments as quickly as possible. I was so disappointed and discouraged. I feel so naive.
See, I have this idea. An idea that involved the creation of a place that fosters the development and discovery of interactions that inspire thought, the building of wisdom, and the advancement of love.
After the responses from last week I realized building this type of community may take more thoughtfulness and work than I imagined. I didn’t really know how to do it but I figured a good place to start would be by looking into those who have tried this before me. I am not so arrogant as to think this is a new idea. So I decided to investigate and turned to the godparents of philisophy. Have toga will travel.
My research led me to Aristotle who was generating these types of scenarios way back in the day. He built something called the Lyceum where he would lead meandering discussions and inquiries. He had students he called “peripatetics” that he would question and engage in philosophical thoughts and explorations.
The intention of the peripatetic student was to evolve their way of thinking; proactive intellectual evolution. Ooo. . . Just the sound of that gets me excited, yes, it’s true, I am a total philosophy geek. Throughout these discussions each of the students were asked questions intended to shine light on their beliefs, prejudices, and confusions and, as a result, each philosopher would walk away from their time at this “Lyceum-brain-gym” having a stronger, more ethical, and more holistic understanding of the concepts discussed.
This is beautiful to me. The idea of intellectual exercise is so intriguing. I want it. I want to be the Ultimate Thinking Champion!! I did not have a formal education. While many of my friends were in university I was fighting aliens and overcoming kryptonite poisoning. I spent most of my twenties seeking learning elsewhere, everywhere, in life and with people.
I don’t believe educational institutions have a monopoly on learning. It is possible to create such an experience anywhere: in line at the grocery store, at a coffee shop, a dinner party, a yoga class or at the gas pump. I also believe the internet is an incredibly accessible forum for this type of community to blossom. The simple fact that anyone with a computer from anywhere in the world can log-in to a “room” with the sole purpose of reading and sharing offers the perfect formula for learning. A modern Lyceum, using new tools to create new class rooms.
This is what I want to create with my site. I want allisonmack.com to be a place all people feel not only welcomed, but encouraged to come and share their voices, their perceptions and their beliefs. At the same time I would hope this site is a place that encourages curiosity and openness. A chance to truly hear others and adopt new ideas instead of blindly holding on to what is most familiar, to what we have always known.
I also believe that in order to have a space like this we need to agree on a few things. I see this as an opportunity to proactively generate the type of environment needed for modern peripatetics to run wild! Sounds like a bunch of frenetic dinosaurs.
So I came up with a few ideas. Agreements for engagement.
To open the conversation here are a few things I have been thinking:
1. Please be kind. Simple as that, just be kind. If you do not like the topics or the way I express myself, don’t come back. I have a writing style that is very personal and honest and I like that; if you don’t then maybe this isn’t the site for you. In my mind, kindness and creativity go hand in hand, so let’s make this a space to nurture and build.
2. Please express honestly, but respectfully. No haters please, and, if you don’t agree with what someone writes, absolutely share your perspective with respect. However, if you feel you cannot speak without berating or attacking the other person, be responsible enough to write about it in your own journal, not here please.
3. Please refrain from any slanderous commenting on any person’s character or history. This is a space for free expression, but name calling and negativity is simply not something I am interested in supporting. It is too easy and cowardly to objectify a person when you are not standing face to face with them.
What I ask on this site is that you take the same care and attention with your fellow writers that you would with someone you are staring at directly. Please remember, there are people on the other side of the words you read.
4. I want to make it clear that I live my life in search of wisdom and education. The most important thing for me is learning. I want to share this learning with those who care. We are all learning, stumbling and striving to figure this crazy “life-thing” out. It is hard enough out there without someone deliberately looking to beat you down. Let’s be sweet with each other and be sweet with ourselves in the process.
And I would also love to hear from you. What do you think is important when one is building such a forum? What types of things would you include in this list? Please, feel free to share your ideas and let me know.
Thanks for reading and I am excited to read about your thoughts and ideas, failures and successes, dreams and disappointments. . . it’s the stuff art is made of, it is what makes us human, and ultimately, it is the whole point and purpose of existence. . . in my opinion, of course. 🙂