Hello.Why do we study

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Why create A Place to Study?

Don't we get enough education? Most everyone has been educated in a worldwide system of formal instruction — some to succeed, others to fail. Helping more to succeed in the system and fewer to fail is important, but not the aim in creating A Place to Study.

What we get from our formal education is important, but far from sufficient. Our lived experience assesses our education in the school of life. That goes on till death and it's up to us to make it good enough, personally and collectively, to suffice for our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

Our personal circumstances provide each with a base, a unique mix of abilities, limitations, and resources. We don't know exactly what they are, but nevertheless we have to work from that base within a larger world, a world that wobbles, fortuitously shaking up the circumstances in which we each live, continually forcing us to use our judgment in coping with things uncertain and unexpected. In seeking to live well, that larger world requires that each pays it some attention as each prepares to act within it. And the wobble is pretty bad.

  • We harbor a pervasive racism, resentment, and complacency in our civic life that subjects large groups and many persons to persistent indignity, degradation, and abuse.
  • We celebrate an economic system that is chugging out of control, over-producing, remunerating unjustly, distributing product inefficiently, and fouling the habitat with destructive bi-products.
  • We compete blindly in politics with weak, hard to manage rules, shirking the tasks of governing the civic whole and ripping ourselves apart through blind battling for power, heedless of its use.
  • We communicate by contagion with novel affordances, oblivious to the potential effects on who says what to whom for what reasons and with what results — a chirping babel passing as voices to make us great again.
  • We educate "universally" through a monoculture normed to serve and reward those who most closely conform to it, as if that system truly and fully anticipates all the vicissitudes of life.

We are all at risk, each in a condition of substantial ignorance. Recognising that, how should we make wise choices? That's the question we can and should examine, each personally and together, in common. That's why we study, and to facilitate that purpose, we construct A Place to Study.

Henry Adams on educational accountability[1]

The picture of Washington in March, 1861, offered education, but not the kind of education that led to good. . . . Not a man there knew what his task was to be, or was fitted for it; every one without exception, Northern or Southern, was to learn his business at the cost of the public. Lincoln, Seward, Sumner, and the rest, could give no help to the young man seeking education; they knew less than he; within six weeks they were all to be taught their duties by the uprising of such as he, and their education was to cost a million lives and ten thousand million dollars, more or less, North and South, before the country could recover its balance and movement.

It offers no solutions, no packages, no planned and vetted paths. It offers each a place to reflect, to inquire, to think, and to study as each sees fit in the company of others with resources that suit the task.

A Place to Study exists as a starting point for any person trying to make wise educational choices while living and working in failing civic systems — instructional, economic, political, and cultural. To do so, we must decisively exert significant effort on unconventional possibilities despite substantial self-doubt.

As a workplace for that effort, A Place to Study does not offer quick gratification, no going viral. You enter it as if you are going alone to a large, complex city where the language and texture of life differs from home. With the navigation map to the right, orient yourself to both the spirit and the particulars of the place. As you do so, you'll find brief comments like this on how activity takes place in the various locations, and you will encounter brief dialogs that open considerations important in a life of study, to expand, not close, the questions.

Throughout you'll encounter diverse activities, things you can do to spur your study. You'll find the Add comment link throughout, the simplest and most common spur to study. Use it, not to grunt a like or dislike, but to think out your thinking as the matter at hand might occasion it, and to express it to others, the why, what, and how of it. With the worlds of politics, journalism, education, commerce, and philanthropy creating such a din aimed at each of us, we feel silenced, unable to think our thinking out loud, for others and ourselves to see and hear. Add your comments, not prefab opinions, but what you think and feel, what worries and interests you, what you wonder and doubt, hope and fear. Let's do that as well as we can, to the best of our ability: that's why we study.