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For the last few months we've been busy grokking the many hundreds of tiny yet detailed decisions involved in setting up the Grokkist Network—our dedicated community platform where we host all of our events and courses, and a space for grokkists to discover and connect with each other as grokkists.

We've learned a lot, and we're thankful both to those in the Ecosophy course and to those grokkists who participated as willing guinea pigs in our invite-only phase, all of whom have been patient and gracious as we build and rearrange the furniture around them.

There's still lots to do, but we'd now like to open up the space to anyone who is interested in connecting more deeply with other grokkists.

We've also been grokking how to be on Instagram – give us a follow there if you haven't already. We notice you particularly seem to enjoy the little illustrated carousels of grokkist lore, which are quite fun to make!

You might have noticed that production on both this newsletter and the podcast have slowed down a little while we absorb and come to grips with all this new stuff, but we continue to steadily grow our overall capacity to do many things at once.

We're also looking forward to soon being able to give an update on our events program and details of a completely new course!

Meanwhile, thank you for being here and enjoy today's selection...


In this edition (these links might work better in the web version):

💸🙅 Why we're doubling down on our 'forget about the price tag' policy

🌱 A video recap of what participants in our Ecosophy course have been up to

🎙 Free yourself from external validation – my conversation with Erich Leidums on unschooling, outdoor adventure and That Mountain Life [Archive Episode]

🍬 And in Snackables...
#1 - Trains’ weirdly massive problem with leaves
#2 - Love letter to the em-dash
#3 - A surprisingly good free app for identifying and appreciating birds
#4 - A persistent demand for autonomy vs flaking on your friends
#5 - Primal parkour with 'French Tarzan' Leo Urban

Why we're doubling down on our 'forget about the price tag' philosophy 💸🙅

When we started working on our courses, we knew we wanted everyone to have access to what we offer, regardless of their ability to pay.

We decided to keep it simple by advertising a 'suggested tuition' and using a 'choose what you pay' checkout system, with an added option to request fee-free equity access.

The effects of this decision have been wildly transformational, beyond even what we had imagined.

Not only has this dignity-first approach created meaningful pathways for those who have taken it up, it has also opened up heartfelt conversations and connections, and elevated the overall ethos of participation and camaraderie in the course cohorts by contributing to a spirit of inclusivity and collective curiosity.

So we've decided to front-foot this philosophy and make it more visible!

We've made some technical improvements to provide even more options, and have now formalised the details of the approach in our 'Forget About The Price Tag' policy.

Intro to Philosophy for Ecological Action is back for Cohort 3

We've mentioned this course a lot already in the newsletter! But if somehow you needed a reminder, our Ecosophy course aims to address the ecological crisis by bridging the gap between philosophy and action.

It's led by seasoned educator and artist Nathan Dufour, and explores tangible ways to make a difference in the world.

Nathan has made a 4-min video recapping the first two cohorts of the course and sharing some of the projects that our growing ecosophical alumni have been working on.👇

Enrolments are now open for Cohort 3, which runs 27 Sep – 22 Nov. Suggested tuition is USD$125.

One of the more delightful aspects of the course is that those from previous cohorts are invited to stick around and drop in again whenever they like, which has created good vibes all round!

Next week we're having an 'accountability check-in session' to see how everyone is doing with their action projects. If you're thinking of being part of the next cohort, that session would be a great opportunity to meet some of your classmates.

🎙Still Curious Podcast

Visit the Podcast Hub ↗
The next podcast episode isn't ready yet, so please enjoy this episode from the archive.

Free yourself from external validation: unschooling, outdoor adventure and That Mountain Life - Erich Leidums | S2E13

Erich Leidums is the content creator behind That Mountain Life, where he documents his family's outdoor adventures and parenting journey in a small mountain town in the interior of British Columbia, Canada.

We discuss the importance of building a fulfilling lifestyle that aligns with your values.

Episode Appetiser

I had a moment when I was 17 or 18... go to school, work, retire, and die? Like, that's it?! I didn't want that.

And I was set on this path of realising it's probably going to be a lot more fulfilling to work or live a lifestyle that you want to be doing instead of just sacrificing yourself for a job or subjecting yourself to a boss that doesn't treat you well.

I didn't want to be unhappy doing what I did. And so all of my jobs were wired with 'let's make sure we're enjoying what we do'.

Key Topics

  • The importance of building a fulfilling lifestyle that aligns with your values, freeing yourself from the need for external validation
  • Erich’s experiences growing up in Canada and his squiggly career journey through outdoor education, adventure tourism, paramedicine, and becoming a full-time content creator.
  • Being an unplanned dad and the challenges and rewards of combining parenting and adventure
  • Embracing risk and the power of giving someone a supportive nudge when they are at their edge of their comfort zone
  • Why playing poker is a form of meditation, and the one book Erich read in high school that forever changed his life

🍬 Snackables

#1 - Trains’ weirdly massive problem with leaves

A fun and factual 5-minute explainer on why leaves falling on train tracks create a slimy black sludge that gets bonded to the rails, making it hard for trains to slow down—and the complicated and expensive logistics of what to do about it. The Half as Interesting channel specialises in this kind of obsessive and entertaining exploration of obscure issues you probably hadn't considered.

#2 - Love letter to the em-dash

The Long Dash | JoAnna Novak
JoAnna Novak on digression, discovering Nicholson Baker, & her lifelong obsession with the em-dash.

It hadn't even occurred to me to have a favourite punctuation mark until Emily McGill (who facilitates our new Grok Café meetup series) declared hers to be the em-dash in a list of 'odd favourites'. It's my favourite too. Something else that hadn't occured to me that this article makes clear—how oddly expressive it is of my character. Like the author, for me "the dash often serves as the butterfly leaf on the dining room table of a sentence—usually, an extreme, many-claused, gonzo sentence—in the elbow-to-elbow eatery of a busy paragraph."

“Em-dashes play all types of roles—extender, interrupter, lister—but what they have in common is an inherent desire to do more, to say a little extra, to create a kind of double time.”

#3 - A surprisingly good free app for identifying and appreciating birds

Merlin Bird ID - Home
Bird ID Wizard—Step-by-step Answer three simple questions about a bird you are trying to identify and Merlin will give you a list of possible matches. Merlin offers quick identification help for all levels of bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts to help you learn about the birds in any country i

A delightful free app developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for identifying birds. You can take a picture, record the sound of birdsong, or simply answer questions, and, based on your location and the date, Merlin taps into hundreds of millions of records in the eBird citizen-science database to find out which bird you most likely encountered. It works worldwide and did a great job of identifying one of my favourite New Zealand birds from the trees outside my home—the tui.

#4 - A persistent demand for autonomy vs flaking on your friends

I'm offering these two TikTok reflections together as a pair because they seem to explore similar questions from different perspectives and prompt 'aha' moments in opposite directions.

One is a neurodiverse-affirming coach talking about the phenomenon of 'pathological demand avoidance'—when you were going to do something of your own accord but then someone asks you to do it and now suddenly you don't want to. He prefers to call it a persistent demand for autonomy—a need to do things for intrinsic enjoyment that turns into resistence the moment it becomes any kind of obligation. (A huge part of why I started Grokkist is because I simply can't stand to be employed, even if it's doing something I like.)


PDA has recently been found to link more fo ADHD than ASD alone. Mpre research needed. #actuallyautistic #professorsol #audhd #pda #pathologicaldemandavoidance #persistentdriveforautonomy #adhd

♬ original sound - Prof. Sol, Autism/ADHD Coach

The second is someone reflecting on a podcast they listened to called 'What do we owe our friends?' which explores 'flake culture'—resisting being tied down by social appointments—and what it's like to be the friend who actually wanted to hang out and now feels like you didn't respect their time and they can no longer trust you. Food for thought.


When i hear things like this it really makes me reflect on the state on my friendships and how me ignoring texts for weeks (ugh) prob isnt helping fmllll #podcasts #podtok #friendships #adultfriendships #f #relationships #lonliness

♬ original sound - Miriam

#5 - Primal parkour with 'French Tarzan' Leo Urban

Site officiel Leo Urban
Site officiel de Leo Urban | Boutique en ligne | Produits Primal | Grimpe urbaine

The 'French Tarzan' Leo Urban grew up in the mountains of Andorra, teaching himself parkour from age 12. He practices what he calls 'primal parkour', which is inspired by urban climbing but evolves the practice of self-exploration in a mixed and rugged environment to experience inspiration, the power of the elements, animals and the genetic heritage of our ancestors. Find everything you need on the website, or simply enjoy the fascinating footage on Leo's Insta. (🙏 Jonny T)

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