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200 ways for self-learners; why aren't we independent thinkers?

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    I ve put up a list of 200 ways that I ve figured things out: http://www.selflearners.net/ways/ I share with several other groups who may be interested what I
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2011
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      I've put up a list of 200 ways that I've figured things out:
      I share with several other groups who may be interested what I and
      others from Minciu Sodas are now up to.

      In 2010, when I came to Chicago, in my free time, I put together this
      list in Lithuanian, along with examples from my work. I've translated
      into English at least the names of the many ways so that you can get an
      idea of what I'm up to. I plan to write up a wiki page about each of
      the ways, including examples from my own work and life, and also from
      others' work, too. Please write about your ways!

      I will also share a lot of theoretical work I've done about what the
      ways have in common and how they fit together. I think they each relate
      to a question leading to an answer within some scope within which we
      have faith. We experience this as a dialogue with some abstract
      quality. Similar qualities make for similar methods of discovery. They
      all fit together into a big picture which I'll diagram and write more
      about. My methods are noteworthy in that they tend to apply to murky
      issues, as arise in philosophy and life. Science, math and engineering
      have many fantastic methods, but they tend to require well-formulated

      Tom Wayburn, thank you for sharing with me a beautiful notion of God,
      imaginary or otherwise. I won't agree or disagree for now, but simply
      say that I think that God in a full variety of manifestations is
      relevant in some way for each and every of the "ways of figuring things
      out". Each of them involves a bit of a leap of faith, which I think is
      to say, presumes God or the absolute or simply the truth in some way. I
      will be looking out for that. Certainly, God may arise as beauty or
      elegance, which is extremely important in science and math, and yet not
      explicitly acknowledged. We'd have no science without awe and no math
      without aesthetics.

      How can we judge a person's inner life from their outer signs? Yet,
      still, from 1998 to 2010, we saw a lot of instances of personal growth
      at Minciu Sodas. I'm moved to see (or imagine) fresh instances. Tom is
      an atheist of great conviction and so I greatly appreciate his
      stretching to reach out to me with a concept of God. Pamela McLean is
      (or was) an inherently tangential thinker (maybe even more than me!) and
      so I'm impressed by what a crystal clear and compassionate portrait she
      drew of me (or wrote, that is) and I've even started a page of "kind
      words": http://www.gospelmath.com/Andrius/KindWords I've seen Benoit
      grow and Franz grow and Samwel grow and many others. I look at my own
      life, and I remember in 1993 saying "I don't know how I could grow any
      more", and I'm humbled by my ignorance of what I've gone through since
      then. Much of what I learned that had me grow was inspired by people here.

      I'm not a fan of Facebook or Twitter, but I've realized that I won't be
      offering an alternative, and so I'm trying to learn to make good use of
      them, as minimal as that might be. Franz Nahrada and Douglas Arege
      responded to my comments about my shift from "independent thinkers" to
      "self learners". It's a shift from identifying with others as my peers
      (as "independent thinkers") to identifying with a behavior (of "self
      learning") which may manifest itself in a very constrained domain.
      Bobby Fischer was a genius as a chess player, and certainly an
      "independent thinker", but I think in many ways an "underdeveloped
      person" in an unforgiving society, so that he couldn't interact well
      with most people. (Compare him with Garry Kasparov, no less remarkable
      of a player and also, I think, a very constructive person in so many
      ways.) God understands us all, and in some deep way we are all the same
      person, yet from where I sit there are so many spiritual cripples
      hobbling along on this earth. I think that there is growth and healing
      in the "feedback loops" by which we learn from life, and yet evidently,
      so often there's a failure of integrity that keep those loops from
      having effect.

      Franz asks, What keeps people from being "independent thinkers"? which
      is to say, in my words, from "self learning" in all aspects of life, and
      not just a particular scope? I suppose that people who "care about
      thinking" are certainly going to care about their "learning", hence
      their "self learning", hence their "personal growth", ultimately, in all
      aspects of life. I suppose what happens is that people shut down
      certain aspects of their thinking, their conscience, their
      responsibility, their potential for growth. People like Bill Clinton
      and Monica Lewinsky may never appreciate that their personal dalliance
      may have contributed to the election of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.

      I myself lived person-by-person the failure of Minciu Sodas as a culture
      and a business. I think that an open culture, freely sharing, in the
      Public Domain, is essential for us to be able to say to each other,
      "Look, we've gone through this together, and we can see, something is
      not working, and we need to address that." What does it take to hear
      from Marcin about what happened with Ben or Jeremy and why? Or from
      Samwel about what happened to the funds I sent and why? Or from Peter
      about when he will pay me back or not and why? And what does it take to
      make such issues relevant to our wider community? How might we resolve
      them? These are just a few examples of dedicated people I've invested
      in with the hope of that being a lifelong investment but being
      thwarted. The fault may lie with me or with others, but what is it? We
      do have thousands of letters that we can study and learn from.

      I think people may be impressive as "self learners" - Marcin, Samwel and
      Peter certainly are, in their various endeavors - and yet be stuck from
      growing, as "independent thinkers", in ways that might benefit me and us
      all. More and more, for better or for worse, I think it is my giant
      faith in God that allows me to push myself out on the edge and grow in
      ways that other people avoid. My maturity means that I can and do free
      myself of more and more of society's presumptions and focus my efforts
      on issues that society wishes to think fruitless. I think part of this
      answer is that, if we want to truly be independent, then we need to
      embrace God wholeheartedly. I've always found that the more I invite
      him, the more freedom he grants me. Those who shun God, in whatever
      sense, are those who shut down their freedom to think "people matter" or
      "I can be forgiven" or "they will help me succeed".

      I'm learning to try another route which is Not to expect so much of
      people, Not to ask them to pull one big "on-off" light switch of
      integrity. Instead, the kingdom of heaven, the culture of "the
      poor-in-spirit", the "self-learners", says that "I can learn at my own
      pace and in my own space". Marcin, Samwel, Peter and many of us have so
      much to offer in our favorite domains. They know and can share how they
      figure things out, for example, to ever improve open source farm
      technology; to pull together an entire system for a village; to inspire
      a group of women; to conduct scientific experiments on a shoestring.
      Their insights are part of a culture of "self-learning" even if, in my
      estimation, they are, as I think, flawed in ways that disappoint me.

      I hope that if I learn to appreciate what they and other "self-learners"
      are contributing in their "ways of figuring things out", then I can show
      the broader relevance of what they are doing for other domains and the
      bigger picture, and so they themselves may be delighted to see that
      they, too, have a natural role in that bigger picture. I and others may
      love them. They may grow bold to see that they can leverage their
      self-learning skills in the bigger picture of life. I hope to see.

      In summary, I am making a shift from "independent thinkers" to
      "self-learners". This allows me personally to:
      * expect less of others - we don't have to be peers
      * embrace their creativity in their particular domains
      * be a natural leader as I engage a variety of domains
      * acknowledge God's relevance and look for his role in all creative
      * be supportive and look forward to how and why people grow on their own

      I'll be writing about sponsors - businesses and individuals - I'd like
      to engage to build up this collection of "ways of figuring things out"
      in many domains: science, engineering, law, politics, education,
      religion, warfare, peacemaking, business, and more. I appreciate our ideas.


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      +1 (773) 306-3807


      Franz Nahrada: Would be interesting to know what you think keeps people
      from being "independent thinkers" - a kind of reference, objective
      evaluation. I met a fantastic man who is training and supporting
      businesses and he is concentrating on farmers, and for the first time I
      see that something like this is possible. Available only in German:

      Douglas Arege quoted me: I was looking for people who, at heart, were
      like myself, but then I was disappointed that, in one way or another,
      they weren't.-Andrius Kulikauskas

      Tom Wayburn: "I like self learning": Andrius, I clicked on the thumbs
      up at your self-learning page. I especially like your classic math
      problems despite the label Gospel math. If I were looking for a home
      for your imaginary deity, I would choose the universe of all correct
      mathematics both discovered and undiscovered including every theorem
      rendered completely rigorously in all of its glory. That’s a world with
      nothing in it that is not perfect, which makes it unnecessary to make
      excuses for God to account for corruption. The premise of science is
      that every physical cause has a physical effect - where by “physical” I
      mean “in the physical universe”. Of course, the ideals reside
      elsewhere. Agreed?
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