The Institute Lives

Today is International Phobia Day. (Let me guess: you're too scared to go take a look.)

Over on Monkey Barn, the List discussion continues, and Bob Saget becomes the coolest white man we know. And in the Alligator Pit I discuss my profound hatred of coffee.

A little blast from the past: the Top ten Bears.

And if you're interested, this is the very last day (in this incarnation) that you can sign up to be a part of the Five Kingdoms.

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For several years I have desperately wanted a forum where people could come together and discuss the great ideas of the day, of yesterday, and of tomorrow.

In case I haven't gotten this point across, I have ideas. Big ideas. I'd like to convince others of my ideas. And I may not be right on all of them. In fact, I'm sure I'm not. I want people who are just as willing to convince me. I'm in love with truth in all its forms, and I seek it out like a lover's touch. (Or something more manly.)

I wrote about this two years ago. (#287 The Institute) Heck; the entire concept of the Hyperion Institute was a dream that we build a place where ideas can flourish, learning take place, great arguments, great ideas, great innovations, and maybe some great touch football in the afternoons.

I've had my official Hyperion Institute Architect Marcellus design the grounds for me. It's spectacular. And the moment I get Bill Gates (or Oprah) to fork over 40 billion dollars that's what I'll be doing. But in the meantime I (as well as a few truth-driven homie-peeps) are starting this group online.

The way we're going to break it down is to have monthly arguments on topics, as well as a ongoing mandate to discover the true theory that governs the universe (if there is one). Discussion can include anything from philosophy, psychology, theology, meta-physics, politics, and anything else you can think of. We are bounded only by our imagination, and seek to live up to our motto: Ultima Thule.

(For those not up on your Norse Mythology, Ultima Thule was the northern most island of legend, where if you went past it you'd fall off the world. Put another way, it means That which nothing can go beyond. That's our goal.")

It might sound like we only want academics and eggheads. I won't lie to you; idiots need not apply. But that doesn't mean we are only looking for intellectuals. I certainly don't have any pedigree, and I'm not afraid to argue with anyone. Nor should people be scared if they are not familiar with these topics, or have never argued in a formal setting.

What we are looking for is someone with these three qualities:
  • Do you have an opinion or idea that you base on sound thinking, and some form of logic? (We're not worried about how revolutionary the idea is. I myself plan to drain the blood from your face when I propose my ideas. But we don't want people who "feel" a certain way and that's all there is to it.)
  • Can you articulate your position? (Forget about eloquence. We're looking for clarity and the ability to come to the point.)
  • Perhaps most importantly, are you open-minded enough to conceive that your ideas might be wrong? Are you willing to argue passionately for what you've come to believe, but equally willing to take a step in a different direction if the path is made clear to you?

To sum up: do you want to know the truth? Are you willing to talk about what that might be?

The group's discussions will be private, probably on a password-protected website. The ideas discussed will remain private, to encourage people to say whatever they will without fear of outside criticism. If our periodic topic discussions shed any new light, we may publish "position essays" on the consensus (with dissents, kind of like the Supreme Court), and of course if we figure out the universe, we write a book, get rich, and find us each a trophy spouses. (Just kidding. I believe in things, but I still have a sense of humor. We'll definitely each have more than one trophy. )

The group will be selected by an application process. We have come up with five questions we want people to answer; 1000 words or fewer for the whole thing. That you agree with us isn't important (since none of us agree with each other anyway), but what is important is that you can state an idea clearly and briefly. That alone shows thought, organization, and acumen.

While the total size of the group is not set in stone there are not many spots open, and there will be a rolling admission (which means you want to do this sooner rather than later).

If you have questions, please write and ask me. I don't want anyone to be intimidated or think this isn't for them. There are many of you I'd love to have in the group. (Alas; I only have one vote, but some of you are so brimming with promise that I know you can do it.)

If this sounds interesting, go to our introductory site right now and take a look at the application questions.

Some day my friends, people will talk about this day. You will tell people who you visited the website when....

Wouldn't you also like to tell them how you became a part of it?

I'm not even going to tell you what the group is called. Find out for yourself. (Go ahead. click that picture. You know you're curious.)



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