Well we’re stuck in Puerto Rico through at least Sunday, waiting on the weather, but it’s given me the opportunity to reflect, and for that I’m grateful.
I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of explaining this project. It’s hard because I’m doing it for so many reasons, personal and philosophical, and they mix together in a tangled web. But I’m seeing a thread now, so let me see if I can unravel it.
Why am I sailing to an uninhabited island to build a little habitat, just to leave a few weeks later? And why am I calling it “The Free Academy”?
This is freedom propaganda.
I’m trying to show people a perspective. It might be foreign to some, familiar to others, but probably a faded childhood memory for most. It’s a way of seeing the world without judgement. Open to everything and sold on nothing. An honest search for truth.
This perspective isn’t an answer to anything. Perspectives never are. But my journey has given me the opportunity to peer from a new vantage point, and I’d love to share a glimpse of my vision with you.
I’m trying to help people to think outside the box, but to do that, first I have to get your attention. Sailing to a desert island seemed like a fun way to do that.
But the island works on several levels. Uninhabited islands are intuition pumps. They’re aids to the imagination, tools to help us think. It’s been in the philosopher’s pocket for centuries: the old desert island scenario. People love to speculate about what would happen in a “state of nature”, tabula rasa, and often cite speculation as evidence for various claims. But no one ever runs the experiment! Well, I want to experience it first hand, if only for a short while with a few people.
Is this really a “state of nature” though? We’re taking all the modern tools and technology we can afford, and enough food and water to last the trip. Not exactly an extreme survival situation (hopefully!)
But that forces us to examine the whole idea of a “state of nature”, that elusive foundation for our social contract. If this freshly inhabited island isn’t a blank slate, do blank slates really exist? Because what we’re doing is exactly how every society, large and small, in the history of humanity has ever been formed: a few people went to a new place (often already claimed by another group), carrying all the tools and supplies they could manage, and simply continued living their lives.
So should we form a government? Should we claim property rights? Should we vote on these issues? How will we resolve disputes? How will we build infrastructure? What do we need to survive and thrive?
These are the sorts of questions I hope to investigate, and hopefully some of you will think about them too.
But why give it a name? Why does sailing to an island and building a hut deserve a name like “The Free Academy”?
The name is another intuition pump. I made it up to help us think about learning. To force us to examine the question: what exactly is a learning institution? Could four guys on a desert island be a college campus?
Well, we’ll be thinking a lot, teaching and learning from one another. What else does it take?
It’s important to understand: the hut is not the Academy. The Academy lives in our minds. Like all learning institutions, it’s made of people, not buildings. Buildings are just tools we use to make our lives more comfortable.
So we’ll establish the Free Academy on an uninhabited island and film the entire endeavor, but it sails with us when we leave. Remember, the Academy lives in our minds. I look forward to sharing our adventure with all of you, and building new Free Academy campuses as I continue my journey.
If you’re excited about the project, please help us by sharing this post, and consider making a small donation to our GoFundMe campaign: http://FreeAcad.com
We’re offering a funny t-shirt for donations of $50 or more: http://imgur.com/vd3u7rI S