How will people organize, retrieve, and manage cultural resources in furthering their educational work?
A Place to Study provides access to a broad collection of cultural resources and digital tools that volunteers collect, organize, develop, and interpret for study by persons forming themselves and learning liberally in the digital commons. We find, employ, and share a many-sided record of human self-formation, attending closely to how elements of it can help and hinder our pursuit of fulfillment. Because striving at self-formation and liberal learning is highly reflexive, what we study includes our own needs and reasons for study as the agents studying it.
A listing, provisional yet expanding, of core topics
- In selecting, organizing, developing, and interpreting the resources in the site's collection, we need to attend to a range of mutually limiting criteria.
- We should present copious resources, including in all areas far more than any person or group could effectively use.
- To promote diversity and inclusion, everyone studying on the site should share as peers their interpretations and criticisms of resources on it and suggestions concerning expansions and additions. Authority stems from the quality of the work, not the status of the worker.
- To resist the routinization of judgment and taste, everyone should periodically work together to select unusually significant resources for prominent attention, explaining these judgments.
- We include attention to Language, especially to the Verbs with which we speak about our actions, and to our Concepts with which we shape our powers of perception, action, and control.
- We assemble, read, and assess Masterwork, diverse creative achievements that set a bar of excellence for aspiration, judgment, and taste.
- We single out diverse Persons and their presence as a formative ethos, enigmas of virtue and vice, and hone our understanding of human possibility by contemplating their strengths and weaknesses as evident in their efforts to cope with their life circumstances.
- We explore Places, Mentalities, Junctures, and Styles to uncover how people have formed them and themselves in interaction with them.
- In addition to the cultural record, we critically explore the Motivations and Intentions that drive and sustain the human effort entailed in forming oneself and learning liberally.
- We plumb the Concerns that move us from within to take pains to enhance our strengths and mute our weaknesses.
- We reflect on the Predicaments, the circumstantial complexities, which beset us, and from which people perennially struggle to emerge by sharing sustained commitments and a vision to common possibilities.
- We study the formation of personal Aspirations and the Self-control needed to sustain effort towards them; how a sense of Social solidarity, Public purpose, and Historical vision form, develop, and decline.
Notes towards Definition of some Procedures
A Place to Study will become a large site with lots of content for which simple keyword search will not suffice. Therefore we need a functional structure for classifying materials on it. However, we should NOT confuse the structure with a typology of actual human experience. It does not define real boundaries in lived life or actual divisions in our processes of study. We use it as an incidental classification facilitating complex processes of study that tunnel through and cut across the classification in infinitely various ways. As its affordances and limitations become clearer, we should have no compunction revising it substantially to make it more effective in facilitating study.
- Here are some initial categories, starting with some to group substantive achievements in the cultural record—
- Language—We include a section on the uses of language, especially to that of verbs, in the pursuit of self-formation and liberal learning.
- Concepts—We devote extended attention to how the formation of concepts has helped to shape human powers of perception, action, and control, establishing spectra of possibility within which people conduct their lives and different times and places.
- Persons—We single out diverse persons, exemplars of virtue and vice, and hone our understanding of human possibility by contemplating their strengths and weaknesses as evident in their efforts to cope with their life circumstances as reflected in diverse creative forms—art, literature, drama, cinema, poetry, humor, architecture, the professions, as well as the human, social, and natural sciences.
- Masterwork—Within this grouping, we further select, study, and assess diverse creative achievements that set a bar of excellence for aspiration, judgment, and taste. The selections should represent a wide range of achievements, exploring both the substance of the work and the processes of achieving it.
- In like manner, we explore Places, Events, Mentalities, Styles, and Institutions to uncover how people have formed them and themselves in interaction with them.
- In addition, we explore the motivation that has driven the effort to create these resources.
- Concerns—The feeling that moves us from within to take pains to enhance our strengths and mute our weaknesses.
- Predicaments—The circumstantial complexities from which people perennially struggle to emerge by sharing sustained commitments and a many-sided vision of common possibilities.
- Aspiration—The personal quest to become someone who rises up to meet difficult, uncharted challenges.
- Self-control—The balance, self-possession, and judgment that sustains purposeful effort in the midst of complex circumstances.
- And further, our categories for studying human motivations to create their cultural resources will continue to expand— social solidarity, public purpose, historical vision and many others .