This post starts section I of the rough draft of Chapter 3, of my non-fiction WiP, Baby Acres.
Since this is a rough draft, and I am very keen to hear suggestions if they improve the ideas presented here, as they are still in flux, please do share your thoughts per the Action Items at the bottom of this post.
And once again, by way of disclaimer, the overall goal is now to explain why we need both equ. + justice, & why in 4 phases. This chapter will transition to a chapter (2-5) for each phase, showing what Phases I-IV could look like as part of a possible roadmap for a fully inclusive society for all of us. This vision is laid out in the hope that All HumanKind will eventually have each person’s basic needs met, without taking anything from anyone, and without violence, intimidation, nor coercion of any kind.
I. (1500 wds): What Adulthood Challenge prerequisites could look like in the early years of the second phase of this project:
I. A (425/300 wds).
The set of prerequisites required, if any are in fact required finally, before admission to attempt the Adulthood Challenge, the core of the Adulthood Rite of Passage, may be in a great deal of flux, at the start of Phase II. This second phase of our vision for a safer and kinder world for all of us must never lose site of the ultimate end goal, toward which all of the four phases must move us: a world in which each and every human being benefits fully from the Four Freedoms outlined by president FDR. Building on the work just completed, but never entirely finished, of Phase I, library conference rooms could be set aside on certain days, should the community decide so, for Adulthood prerequisite confirmation work. Aside from the most obvious work of meeting to decide whether a given candidate has met the designated prerequisites, such days can also be used for local Adulthood Challenge volunteer committees to meet and decide on issues such as how to make decisions on what prerequisites are appropriate for that particular community, and how to add, remove, or change their regional or community prerequisites, and how those requirements are defined, or whether they are even codified as guidelines or suggestions. Local committees may also decide to move the meeting of such requirements to the beginning of a longer process, or deffer them to the end of the Challenge, depending on the needs of the local area. Local volunteers should define both when various prerequisites should be met, and why those requirements are made mandatory, or as guidelines, taking into account local geography, etc, and the needs and abilities of the candidate in question, as well. Adjustments to the process could even go so far as to decide whether any candidate should be asked to meet a set of prerequisites. Given that every culture in human history has had some form of initiation timing, before which only the business of being a child is required, it seems reasonable to put some sort of qualifier upon the ability to attempt the Adulthood Challenge rite of passage tests. Since needs and conditions differ from location to location, those criteria, and the reasons for them, should be clearly noted someplace where all prospective candidates or committee volunteers can easily access and offer constructive comment on them. The question of exactly/precisely who makes these decisions leads us to a set of key questions that will only be clarified with the passing of a bit of time, and trial and error, to be addressed shortly.
The next step of concern for the volunteer committee handling this new rite of passage would likely be knowing who is earnestly interested in attempting the process. A declaration of intent to attempt the Challenge would probably be a useful thing, with several steps along the way. First, a set of guidelines or questions could be created, suggesting how a candidate might decide whether to venture a try, outlining details of the process in the specific community where the candidate would like to test, along with notes of interest, contact information for the person or persons needing the declaration of intent, and probably also a set of risks, benefits, expectations or responsibilities, and expected outcomes for both the individual and for the wider community resulting from this declaration of candidacy. Local committees can designate any manner of ways, as well as either a point person, contact subcommittee, or even the entire community, if desired, for the candidate to declare an intention to take up The Challenge. Whether by private message, published newspaper banns, or smoke-signals and carrier pigeons, the committee must justify the need and manner of declaration of intent, and even perhaps show why one might wish to undergo public initiation, rather than some variety of self initiation, if such could be an option in a local community. Committees should also take care to detail whether an examination of the candidate’s declaration of intent may be requested, and if so, whether some type of justification, from an essay to an object, could be included to show firmness of intention, with the initial contact information sent by the candidate. This is meant to ensure transparency in the widest possible way, again, should a local community decide that an examination of intent by the candidate to accept the Adulthood Challenge in good faith, and for the benefit of all of humankind, is even necessary for the given community in which that volunteer committee is handling candidates.
I. C (518/300wds).
One can certainly ask ‘why bother’ with this work of a new rite of passage, especially before Phase IV, when more of the updated infrastructure and governance systems will be in place, allowing for newly recognized Adults to take part in more meaningful roles, as our governance systems open up to and need more participation from ordinary citizens -the answer is that without the cultural changes facilitated though a new manner of recognizing adults as both capable, because they have been thoroughly educated and prepared for a changing world, and responsible for taking an active hand in shaping our changing world for the better, those governance system updates may very well not actually take place. While the initial “benefits” of Adulthood may seem to be more troublesome than they are useful, especially in the early years of Phase II, it will be necessary for an intrepid group of volunteers to lead the way in showing the importance of having a cadre of willing workers on our future (yes, a new form of WWOOFing!!) who are prepared to educate themselves and others with creativity, compassion, and the later generations of humanity in mind. While it is true that, in the first few years of this project, the consequences of failure to pass the Adulthood Challenge could include a relatively major loss of face and time, with little material reason to make the attempt at all, that fairly high level of risk with little to nothing to gain may be the best argument in favor of making the attempt. Only a fully committed group of volunteers will have the will and the stamina to keep finding solutions to seemingly intractable problems, and to turn those solutions into tools that can then be shared with a wider public, who must then learn both the value of those tools, and how to use them. One example is RCV/IRV, which has been passed in NYC, but slowly implemented due to objections regarding education of populations unused to anything other than first-past-the-post style voting.Adulthood as a commitment to all of humanity, and an agreement that our skills, talents, and even our very lives, are to be laid at the feet of service to Humankind, is the purpose of this new rite of passage, especially in the beginning of Phase II. Forming a core group willing to make this commitment may be vastly facilitated by The Challenge, at the start, and in later stages, spreading a commitment to new ways of educating all of us may take the innovative sorts of thinking that The Challenge is intended to inspire. Thus, Adulthood is both a commitment to long term thinking, teaching, and tool-building for all of humanity, regardless of personal cost. This type of commitment will be needed, especially during the early stages of Phase II, but will also benefit toward the end of Phase II, with the formation of a core group of Adults pledged to the cause of Humanity, and learned enough to help create and share new tools for building a more equitable, just, safe, and kind world for all of us.
I. D (321/300wd).
Moving to some details of the Rite of Passage ritual itself, the first steps, in the early years of Phase II, may have multiple iterations of trial and error. Creating a new rite of passage into adulthood that provides a simultaneously satisfying and useful initiation for our modern society is not likely to be either an easy, nor an immediate process. The so-called “Teaching Terror” test first envisioned back in 2011 involved teaching a difficult, significant, and absolutely needed life skill to a person from scratch. This idea was intended to build both empathy and problem-solving skills with creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Some local communities, however, may not find this a useful means of attaining that objective, and so may choose to dispense with or update the Teaching part of the Adulthood Challenge, in favor of some other way of meeting those objectives. Any task, or set of tasks, involving challenge, daring, perseverance, empathy, and at least a little bit of courage, while demonstrating the skills needed by every adult in modern society, could be substituted for the first part of the Challenge. Local communities may also decide that a second part of the challenge may or may not be appropriate, depending on specific situations. As long as some proof of ability to learn and teach cooperation, empathy, critical thinking, and long term planning can be shown by a given candidate, along with the ability to navigate all of the obstacles the modern world may throw at one, a local committee could decide to award recognition of Adulthood, at community discretion. What is certain and immutable is the need to show that any person being recognized as an Adult has proven the ability and will to build innovative solutions as tools, to share those tools and teach others how to use them, and to share the talents and skills that person has in the service of Humanity, with honor and empathy.
I. E (378/300wds).
Finally, the most visible part of any rite of passage is the recognition, usually in some form of a public ceremony, of the newly granted status, in this case, of being an Adult by the standards of a new society, which does not yet exist, but which these new Adults can, in great measure, help to bring into existence. The first years of Phase II may see few volunteers or Adults to grant recognition to new Adults, so by necessity, Adulthood Challenge committees will be made up of some who are not yet recognized as adults in our new sense of this word. Nevertheless, volunteers should come to such committees from all walks of life, in this author’s opinion, in order, in later years and epochs, to prevent Adulthood from becoming another elite, chosen only be themselves. Every member of society, if given a voice in the process of this new rite of passage, and allowed to see the workings of the process, as transparency should always allow, must have buy-in, and be able to choose to opt-in, to opt-out, and to also be able to help shape a process that may one day have a great effect on shaping our society. Thus it can be argued that Adulthood Challenge committees should always have members, perhaps even a majority of members, who are not recognized as Adults, and perhaps do not even aspire to be. Every committee member must serve the community in good faith, intending only to help recognize Adults fully committed to serving humanity in empathy, non-violence, and cooperative problem-solving, but not every committee member needs to have passed the rigorous requirements of the rite of passage Challenge. Committees will define both “community,” whether geographical, community of interest, or other form of community, and the test criteria for testing eachAdulthood candidate. What remains immutable is the commitment to serving humankind for the long term equitable good of all of us. Other details can be updated to suit the needs of the time, area, and/or persons involved, as circumstances require. We can now move on to look at what a new rite of passage could look like in later stages of Phase II, as trial and error transitions into a more mature set of processes.
I’m considering this Rough Draft as the block of clay from which my book will eventually emerge, obviously, and some ideas for phases III and IV are still becoming more fixed in my mind as I write, so the final version will likely look pretty different from this Rough Draft, and will need updating once I get to the very end.
And once again, yeayyy( !!)with regard to audience, I may have at least a couple of comps: Walden Two meets The War on Poverty: A Civilian Perspective (by Dr.s Jean and Edgar Cahn, 1964). I know that lots of people consider Skinner’s writing to be stilted, but I like the tilt of most reviewers, in that the idea is that a community should keep trying policies that members agree upon until they find what works for all of them.
As for genre, I’m still wondering: Non-fiction, System Change, Causes, maybe even Inspirational, but I doubt it.
Last week’s installment of this series…
1.) Consider some ideas you may have on whether our society could use a new rite of passage,
2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please, and
3.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those sources and your thoughts.
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Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil
our year 2021 CE = 12021 HE
Stayed on Freedom’s Call
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includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.
Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.
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