Recently some thoughts that had occurred to me after reaching the conclusion that if one doesn't believe in an
afterlife, then what more noble way to lead ones life than dedicated
to the enrichment of science and the understanding of the world and
universe around us and also helping my community. It's on this matter and the thoughts that grew
from that standpoint that I would greatly appreciate your advice or
If faced with a religious epiphany my choice would be clear there are numerous ways for a person dedicated to religion
to enter a group such as the church or a monastic order / nunnery. Once
accepted into and part of these groups one can dedicate the rest of
their life to prayer, proselytization and be pretty much guaranteed a pension or
a quiet retirement within the walls of their church monastic order,
theorizing, teaching and doing less of the strenuous activities.
However, as a person who believes in reason and wishing to pursue science I find there is no such recourse open to
me, the closest I could find might be a university tenure while
lecturing and researching, however if comparing that tenuous position
with the life long position of the alternative vocation I find it
distinctly lacking. Not merely is it lacking in the sense of freedom
to choose ones research as is sometimes the case in a university
setting, but also lacking in opportunity due to the number of
positions available, the difficulties and cost in obtaining them, the
constant possibility of being replaced and the difficulties and biases inherent in
So as a brief preface to what follows I feel there is need to rectify this situation. When someone who is so dedicated
to the pursuit of a science, or sciences, that they would willingly
go through hardships and forgo some luxuries purely so that they can
improve mankind's understanding of the life the universe and
everything the path to take should be accessible, simple and
Thus, as a solution, I would tentatively suggest the concept as follows; The ideal would be create a community of people who through
determination, dedication and reasoned thought will as a community
and individually dedicate their lives to the pursuit of scientific
endeavour, reasoned enquiry and learning for the benefit of humanity.
What follows beyond this point is some ideas about how this could work, some research and the benefits of such a
community so you could stop reading here if you like, I'm sure from
the premise you can form some thoughts as to the concept and I was
wondering, if time permits, you could comment on a
couple of questions in my head about this idea
Do you think a community of vocational programmers / scientists / teachers could exist in the modern world and would actually attract people to enter a more frugal but a life dedicated
to reasoned thought and research?. In my view it would but I guess I
would like to hear from someone else that the idea holds merit
before I progress further.
As scientific enquiry increasingly seems to become more expensive (especially in regards to the cutting edge of
science such as CERN, pharmaceuticals). Could such an organisation
do meaningful research itself or would it be more suited to
theorizing and outsourcing labour as a private lab
(http://www.wbdg.org/design/private_lab.php) as assets become available
Do you think such an organization would be a good way to interact and reach out too local communities in the same way that
churches have historically done. By organising interesting debates
to debate for reason against local superstitions, faiths and explaining why science is worth investing in, using property help community events and
generally trying to raise the awareness of reasoned thought vs irrational and science amongst them. Not to mention fund raising for groups like "medicins sans frontiers", running soup kitchens and generally helping the community.
A this point and I do apologise in advance but it is possible we can learn a few lessons from organised religion,
namely with their creation of communities through regular church
activities to reach the masses and monastic orders and nunneries.
Joyfully, at least for the Catholic institutions, these are now in
fast decline and yet still over 700,000 members of the “consecrated
life” remain (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7227629.stm).
Depressing as that figure is for all the people who have been so
misled that they should take up such an existence it seems to me if
there are many people willing to do such a thing there are many also
take up a life which actually creates more beneficial results in
comparison to prayer and abstinence.
Imagine for a moment if there were such a system of dedicated reasoned life
where 700,000+ scientists of various disciplines dedicated all
their time in collaboration to aid scientific understanding, developing software for science (more on this later).
In my view such a community would be extremely viable in the modern world. From
software development (applied computer science) outsourced lab
research, private teaching of local communities, peer review,
research and development etc. The income for such an organisation is
without question available.
Of course to get things started one would need, property enough space initially for at least 10-30 people, the initial and primary income would probably have to be through software development (minimum resources) and a plot of land big enough to hold the dorms/rooms, kitchens, communal bathrooms, an office and plots to grow sustainable food. Organisation and a solid plan of organisation. Depending on what people write here I will get onto that part next.
This is merely an idea and I'd appreciate kind and constructive criticism, I would also mention that this is not an attempt to make reason and science like religious cult/order but to offer a way that people dedicated to such things could persistently learn and dedicate their lives without the normal worries associated with life as a community, essentially a reasoned vocation. Also though certainly it would utilise the very tools that religions typically use to gather adherents by visibly interacting, building and helping local communities.
I thank any all in advance for your advice and critiques