“Anyone can do what I have done, if they do what I have done.” – F. Matthew Alexander
So, there we go. I’ve explained the self-administered tests that I and the Home Game players will be
inflicting on giving ourselves. I’ve outlined the history and philosophy behind the four aspects of the practice (simulflow, meditation, mnemonics, and petit perception). And, in bits and pieces, I’ve explained what I’d like to do.
Today, I’m bringing it all together.
On January 1, 2010, I will administer the first round of the tests I’ve put together. I’ll upload them (God willin’ and the firewall don’t rise) either Saturday or Sunday. I’d like to see a whole group of them, of all of us going all in together, starting the New Year proper. Leave them (or links to them) in the comments. Also on Sunday, I start my practice.
I’ve outlined the whole program, week-by-week, in this PDF. For the first week, I will do Exercise I of Harry Kahne’s Multiple Mentality program, sitting and playing with the alphabet for one hour each day. I will meditate for ten minutes, focusing on my breath, the pressure and level of it, the temperature, the feel of it. I will read and do the exercises in Memory Master, Session A. And I will close my eyes, count things in the room, do mental math, and even memorize four lines of poetry. When I pass shop windows, I’ll remember what was in there, and check that I was right.
This is not going to be easy, or quick. I happen to believe nothing of value really is. But it will be enormously educational. By the first of April, I will be able to better focus, more aware of the world around me, able to do one thing at a time or many things at once. If LeShan is anything to write home about, I will have “a greater efficiency and enthusiasm for daily life.” In many ways, I will be more accomplished, smarter, more involved, more alive. I will have Learned to Think.
Or, I will have learned how not to achieve these things. I will have found problems which are presently insurmountable, approaches that are ineffective, fast-forwards that end up rewinding me. But I will have documentation of it, and if I want to try again, in a year, in ten years, if someone else wants to reach for a better humanity than the one they now know, my records are here to show them where I strove, and how I fell, and, perhaps, how they could avoid doing the same.
More importantly than either, I will have tried. The results are less important than trying itself, than the attempt itself. I’ve made some messy stabs at doing one aspect or another of this practice, but I’ve never organized it and sat down and resolved to do it. I can’t wait to start, and see where it goes. But the game is worth a candle. For the possible outcome of achieving the mental powers I’ve wanted for years, of not only learning to think, but to be more aware and alive, Paris is damn well worth that mass.
“the credit belongs to the man who actually is in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs; who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best in the end knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
But I am not only some faceless, timeless Human, but a man, born in a particular time and place, and to a particular generation. It’s hard going it alone, doubly so for my generation, known as Y but which will be known to history as The Social Generation. On the one hand, it’s a relief to know that there are others out there, sweating as I do, groaning to face Kahne or Weed or Lorayne again, eyeing the clock subtly, cursing that that desk totally wasn’t there a second ago. I suspect the comments section will become a bitching and moaning and mutual support group that way. A carrot, you might say. On the other hand, knowing I have you all to face, ILF and Jaci and Lachlan and wraith and Mira and Billy and everyone else, and that I have to ante up to look you in the eye, puts my pride to good use (for once). You could call that a stick.
So, ante up. Right here, right now. By April, we could have mental powers to shock and amaze ourselves and the world, to enjoy and join our lives. We could be Holmeses, Mentats, Bene Gesserit, better tomorrow than we are today. Sign up in the comments section, and see your name listed on the wall to the left. Put up your videos on January 1st or 2nd. Join a great experiment, to show off what it means to be human, what we could all be capable of.
I leave you with a question:
Are you a bad enough dude to Learn to Think?