Reply To: Hello! I’m happy to be here

  • Mike Todd

    July 11, 2023 at 2:12 am

    My apologies, Andrei. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood your wishes. In your opening post you mentioned having an “agenda of personal research”, and, perhaps projecting my own wishes a little, I inferred from this that, like myself, you would be interested in, among other things, resources providing research-level articles, media and webinars. For the most part, the links I shared provide just that.

    Research and academia go hand in hand, so it’s to be expected that resources providing research-level material will necessarily draw on academics with postgraduate or postdoctoral qualifications. This basis in academia is more or less explicit in the names Science and Medical Network and Weekend University, for example, and in Essentia Foundation’s raison d’être:

    Essentia Foundation aims at communicating, in an accurate yet accessible way, the latest analytic and scientific indications that metaphysical materialism is fundamentally flawed.

    The Galileo Commission, likewise, is upfront about being an offshoot of academia, which leaves only Science and Non-Duality (SAND). Unlike the other resources I shared, SAND’s contributors are not only professional scientists and philosophers but also spiritual and indigenous leaders, mystics and artists, as its smorgasbord of articles and current events makes clear.

    Of the above resources, I believe that SMN is the only one hosting discussion forums, which would facilitate the kind of peer-to-peer engagement to which “mesh networking” appears to allude. There are, as I’m sure you’re aware, a multitude of peer-to-peer resources across the web, including, dare I say it, Reddit. However, as already noted, I assumed you were looking for more scholarly resources amenable to lifelong learning, to which the kind of practices Don mentioned would be ideal complements.

    Regarding the play between lifelong learning, in its conventional sense, and practice, here’s something I messaged to a friend yesterday:

    “Stay unassuming”.

    I’ve been thinking about the purpose and value of learning – lifelong learning, that is. Googling along those lines reveals that, apparently, lifelong learning is: crucial to self-development; something that keeps one young; something that builds capacity and character, and enables one to succeed in life; something that empowers and elevates one above the uncritical masses, etc.

    There is also another common vein of thought, which says that learning keeps one humble. To my mind this seems the most intriguing aspect, the one most worth pursuing. I would qualify it, however, by saying that, rather than keeping one humble, learning keeps humbling oneself. This brings out the sense, not only of remaining grounded, but also, more significantly, of being continually defeated. (The adjective form of “humble” is prone to misuse: whenever someone says, “I’m humble”, it suggests anything but humility.)

    I think that this sense of being continually defeated is central to the value (and purpose) of learning. Progress is possible only in the face of – with recognition of – setback. Learning is an ultimately enlarging experience which initially makes one feel smaller. To borrow from Wheeler’s famous analogy, as one’s island of knowledge grows, so too does one’s shore on the sea of ignorance: learning reduces one’s ignorance but exponentially increases one’s awareness of it. Learning can be painful.

    I believe that this may be the primary reason why most people give up on learning sooner or later – most of the time, sooner. It suggests that, in order not to feel that learning is too difficult, the initially enervating experience of learning may be best complemented with an energising experience, such as can be found in art, spirituality or nature (though these too can be humbling at times). Since I’m short on time at present, I try to find learning materials that serve double duty: I seek out subjects that both humble me and enlarge my appreciation of reality.

    On that last note, here’s something: