23 January 2018

Building a Peaceful Future

If you intend to build a peaceful future for yourself, what is your plan of action in that regard?

I am planning to build a higher education residential campus devoted to sustainable agriculture, appropriate technology, evidence-based health care and sustainable living.  It will mainly be for people of middle age and older, rather than for younger people.

The campus is intended to be self-sustaining, with all the services and facilities required of an economically independent, reasonably knowledgeable and intelligent community of conscientious adults.  There will be no facilities for children, or for families more generally.

It will be a scientifically-based community, with carefully managed variables.  There will be no pets or livestock.  The food will be mainly vegan.  There will be no alcohol, tobacco or other recreational intoxicants.

Quietness will be expected.  Activities will mainly revolve around study, reflection, putting theory into practice and planning for a peaceful future.

Sexual activity will be discouraged.  Everyone will have privacy and ample personal space.  Language will be moderate.

The physical campus will have well-designed study accommodation including hostels and halls of residence plus options for experiencing experimental, co-operative cohousing.  There are also likely to be secular cloisters and other covered walkways between buildings.

The campus will not have a religious basis.  It will have a secular code of conduct.  There are also likely to be satellite campuses, possibly of a temporary nature in rented accommodation.

Even students with post-graduate qualifications from earlier studies will be considered nontraditional.  Building a peaceful future is a non-traditional enterprise in itself.

I was a first-generation university student in my 30s.  I did not enjoy university.  Nor did I enjoy school.  But I love learning at my own pace, exploring the topics sparking my curiosity at any given moment.  I do so mostly through reading and personally instigated activities, putting theories into practice.

The higher education residential campus will have some similarities to campus universities, but with several differences.  Firstly, it will not be a university.  Its purpose is different.  Secondly, every student will have an allotment of land for growing food organically, with a small shed, rainwater tank and space for a small tent nearby.  The focus will be on simple living.

Allotment sizes will depend on the interests and abilities of students.  There will be composting toilets nearby but very few other facilities away from the main campus buildings. There will be no internal combustion engines used anywhere on the campus, and no radios or televisions.

All staff and students are expected to enjoy silence, serenity and solitude.  Aggression and unwarranted competitiveness will not be tolerated.

Digital communication will also be kept to a minimum on the residential campus.  Dedicated zones for contacting the outside world will be clearly indicated.

There will also be a virtual campus providing distance education services before and after, or instead of, attending the residential campus.  In fact, most of the facilities of the virtual campus are already established.

To participate, all you need to do, at least initially, is to practice intentional living and accurately document that experience.  To live intentionally is to exist in accordance with your own clear beliefs and values, not those imposed upon you by other people.

If you are a religious person, please note that no active proselytism is permitted.  All mention of religion will be forbidden though spirituality and philosophy are likely to be explored during the studies, along with the sciences, of course.

Restrictions on participation in the studies will most likely be psychological rather than academic.  There will be no academic assessments at all though there will be regular psychological assessments.  Personal insight and empathy will be the two main qualities assessed, in a highly sensitive way.

There is now considerable educational technology available, but how much of it can help mature, independent adults learn valuable insights about themselves, their own values, their own beliefs, their attitudes, their knowledge, their skills, their opportunities for the future and their own unique contributions to a peaceful, responsible society?

A long-term habit of careful study is necessary for anyone seeking to experience life on the residential campus.

Personal insight helps people to be accurately aware of themselves.

Empathy helps everyone to be accurately aware of each other.

Anyone without recent experience of study may benefit from participation in free online courses supplied through reputable organisations. But what sort of information do you currently require in relation to sustainable agriculture, organic food production, healthy food preparation and preservation techniques, personal health, social health, water management, waste management, appropriate technology, simple living, sustainability, and the design of peaceful residential learning facilities for mature adults?

What are the economic issues relating to building a peaceful future?

What are the political issues?

What are the cultural and attitudinal barriers to overcome?

And how should scientific knowledge be applied, and by whom?

What are the most worrying gaps in your current knowledge, and why are you worried?

When you fill those knowledge gaps, how do you intend to use your new awareness, and for whose benefit?

What is your current approach to quieter living?

What are your continual journeys?

What do you know about your identity and values, by any other name?

What do you know about the ancestors within you?

From many years investigating the subject, I know that sustainable living is often lived as an ideal, without the necessary practical foundations it requires.  Without the necessary practical foundation, relationships disintegrate, animosities arise and mistrust builds instead of peace.

An educational campus of short-term occupants cannot supply the essential basis of a sustainable, long-term community.  It can, however, be a starting point for building future sustainable communities, based on clear evidence, not vague dreams.

To begin identifying the worrying gaps in your knowledge, you might like to try the OpenLearn free options next. There is no need for any institution of higher learning to provide services already supplied for free elsewhere online. 

My intention is to supply something of significant, long-term value that no-one else is supplying.  But how free will it be?

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