intro

       Hi, I'm Colin, I'm a 3rd year student at the U, and I will probably be majoring in psychology. I am attempting to bring together a group of people who are interested in working on a universal question, that is, "What is the best way to live?"

background/history

       I first began work to start this group in May of this year. I had just taken a quarter off, to, among other things, do some thinking and feeling because I was not sure what I was doing here. More specifically, I was not sure what I would study here or why I would study it. I was also lonely, but I did not want to be a part of group that was formed for some external reason, I wanted to be with other people for no other reason than to be with them.
       Part way through Spring quarter I began to imagine the possibility of a group where people would meet and talk openly about things which concerned them, a group where people being together would not be secondary to some other purpose such as in all other campus groups. In fact, in almost all formal groups in our society, people come together apparently for other reasons than to be together. They meet to save the whales, design a human powered submarine, discuss a book, practice religion, practice politics or play a sport. I called my idea of a group where the people meet for no other reason than to be together the "talking club" but it went no further than talk until June 25 of this year.
       On June 25, of this year, I distributed a newsletter about being, being together, and loving to the people in some of my classes (visual aid). It was an experiment to see if I could talk openly about my own loneliness and my own attempts to understand the human situation, and to see if anything would happen. Nothing really happened.
       Then I tried again in a more public way: shortly before Summer break, I put up a few of these flyers (visual aid, 22kb). Again nothing really happened, but later I learned a person had shown up one Friday after I had given up on it, that was Gordon, who has been the other person in this group since then.
       Because of this success, I was encouraged to try again during summer break with "be together to be together" (visual aid, 342kb). This flyer describes the basic purpose of this group well: to be together, to work on experiencing the best way of being and being together. I envisioned a group where people would come together to appreciate each other, to work on our own immediate and personal questions about existence and to compare our perceptions of what is the best of life.

hypotheses

       This past quarter I have developed several hypotheses of my own of what may be the right way to act, but more importantly, I believe there is a way for all other people to develop their own individual understanding of the right way of living.
       I believe that if individuals are encouraged to work on the question of what activities are most conducive to true happiness, those individuals will come to a better understanding of the right way of living and will be able to live a better life than if they had not ever questioned.
       Moreover, I believe that if individuals are encouraged and helped to ask what activities are most conducive to a true happiness by considering their own positive experiences and the positive experiences of others, those individuals will develop an understanding of true happiness and will act in ways which are not harmful to others or the environment. They will come to act in ways which are sustainable for their entire lifetime, in other words, these people will achieve a sustainable high, partly because they are able to find pleasure in a simple way of living and in activities which are simple in nature and do not require significant personal material consumption.

goal for this quarter

       This quarter I would like to begin to test that hypothesis.
       I would like to begin to test in an increasingly scientific way if questioning the nature of the best way of living can produce positive sustainable experience and activity in people other than myself. I would eventually like to make this a study and perhaps a model and a research center for the development of a consciousness development curriculum, the idea being that we are human and we may as well work together and openly on how humans can live the best life. The question of how to live the best life can be broken down into endless sub-investigations to determine the importance of certain activities to the best way of life, for example, what is the significance of sex, and what is the proper approach to that, what is the best way to eat, what is the significance of technology and how does it affect the best way of living, or does it at all, what is a positive relationship with another person, and what is a relationship for, what is the most important work we can be doing, and on and on. Most often now, we are left to work on these questions alone, and we are encouraged to accept that studying history, science, art, and literature, and going to church, and college, taking vacations and traveling, starting a family, and having a house and a car, a nice stereo system and money will make us good, happy people. People need to be encouraged to question all that, and each individual needs to be encouraged to develop her own idea of the right way of living, loving, working, playing, believing, etc., each individual needs to be encouraged to develop her own ideas independent of the societal images she has grown up with.
       In short, I am working to develop a model of a consciousness development curriculum which individuals can use to change themselves, and the world population can use to change itself in the way it wishes to be changed.

forum

       As part of making this group conducive to the development of an understanding of the right way of acting, I think it would be cool if we could make it a sort of "new forum."
       I would like to encourage the thought of this group as a place to present our papers, give speeches, show our artworks, perform our musical compositions, or present the results of our scientific research, formally or informally. I have found that being required to do papers and give speeches has been a huge catalyst in my development of an understanding of my reality and an understanding of a course of action for me to take. But it is foolish and sad to be dependent on an academic institution for our development.
       While "consciousness d," if we take that name, is an informal group, I would like to put out the suggestion that we have an informal requirement that all who call themselves a member of consciousness d present at one of the meetings a significant example of their work. This could be an artwork, a scientific research study, a musical composition, a work of fiction or poetry, an essay, a book, or a speech, or can you think of something else? We can set deadlines for ourselves by assigning ourselves a date for our presentation, and announcing the date, topic and type of presentation to the other members of the group. We can record these works and publish them somehow, or not.
       It would be cool if this group became the first of an endless number of non-institutionalized intellectual and experiential meeting places where every person feels welcome. It is true that we are a subset of the population, but everyone can do what we do here, and I believe everyone needs to, and will want to when they see what we have done.

root purpose remains

       The root purpose of this group will remain, however, to be a group of people who comes together for no other reason than to be together. It is a place to test the validity of your own ideas and perceptions. We can serve as your experimental subjects in a life-experiment you may have wanted to try, but may have been lacking in people to try it out on. We can be your audience or your actors, your critics or your friends, we may teach you and you will teach us.

let's do it.

       We have the foundation here for a group which individuals can use to change themselves and which the world can use to change itself in the way it wants to be changed. The world changes when the individuals change. Let's do itólet's change the world by changing ourselves. If you're curious about what we do here, mostly we sit and talk, think, or neither talk nor think. I hope you find the true goodness in what we do here, and I hope to see you next Wednesday. Thanks for listening to me. If anyone else would like to give a talk, just stand up and talk.