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As I write this, Auckland's winter weather has just turned and the first hints of spring are in the air.

I've also just wrapped up a large consulting gig — the last remaining engagement from my previous incarnation in the world of academic research management.

This means I'm now able to throw my whole-hearted attention and energy into Grokkist!

It's a big moment for me on many levels, as those of you who are more familiar with my personal story will no doubt be well aware.

My friend Emily (one of many new friends I have made through starting Grokkist) plopped a gentle drop of insight into my awareness to mark the occasion (as she so often does), by reminding me of the moment of eclosion.

After a new butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, it needs a moment to dry out, pump its wings full of fluid, and gather its strength before taking flight. Here's what that looks like.


I'll shortly be off to New York for a few weeks to cook up some stuff with Nathan and other grokkists. And also just to hang out. I am constantly reminded how miraculous it is that we are able to form such thick and meaningful relationships with people we only know online. At some point though, it's nice to meet up in person.

If you'll be in NYC in late-September - mid-October and would like to catch up, get in touch!

Meanwhile, I have lots to share today. Let's get into it.


PS: A reminder that our newsletter and podcast are both on reduced frequency for now while we focus on spinning up our community platform, foundational courses, and events program.

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

🗓 An update on our events program

🎉 Grokkist Symposium #2 | Comfort in Contradiction: Whole-Brain Living with Self and Non-Self

❤️‍🔥 An update on our grokkable course offerings

🍬 And in Snackables...
#1 - The Illusion of Control
#2 - Capacities: networked note-taking that breaks silos
#3 - A 3D reconstruction of the capital of the Aztec Empire
#4 - Wooden Overcoats: a sitcom podcast about rival funeral directors
#5 - Lull yourself to sleep with the soothing white noise of your favourite tech giant’s terms of service

An update on our events program

Events are the life blood of a community that is about curiosity and human connection, and which hopes to spread viral levels of self-acceptance among generalists.

We've been working to get ourselves into a position where we can offer an exciting ongoing events program. While that work continues, this week we reached an important milestone – our first ever online 'grok cafe'.

The Grok Cafe is a chill and lightly-facilitated online meetup all about unearthing connections and interests between participants. An opportunity to "info-dump our passions", "share a heart-space", or simply "discuss whatever the **** we want", as some of this week's participants put it.

We're pleased to offer Grok Cafe as a regular fixture – it's a perfect low-key way to suss out the grokkist community and see if it's for you.

The event is free and hosted through Grokkist Network – our community platform. We'll be adding October and November dates shortly, including an option that is more friendly to our friends in Euro-timezones! Hope to see you at the next one.

Grokkist Symposium #2

Speaking of events, we have another coming up in October that we think you'll love...

Comfort in Contradiction: Whole-Brain Living with Self and Non-Self

What burdens do you currently carry that weigh you down with suffering? Are you genuinely living life to its fullest, or do you sense the constraints of past choices? Perhaps the source of your suffering in one realm serves as an anchor in another. Can you justify its presence, shift your perspective, or simply release it?

How can we free ourselves, and in doing so, empower one another to fully savour the perpetual present? Can we cultivate the art of letting go to live more, leading to a more profound experience of life where both freedom and comfort coexist with contradiction and uncertainty?

Explore and embrace the power of non-self, which allows us to put the delusion of self into perspective. This is not an esoteric exercise - it's grounded in the realities of everyday life. How many contradictions do we unknowingly overlook, silently eroding our well-being? Though they may start small, they often snowball.

Let's embark on a journey of self-exploration and collective discovery, unearthing our blind spots and letting go of what no longer serves us. 

Join us for our second Grokkist Symposium! Our first symposium on education ignited passionate discussions, kindled international and intergenerational friendships, and sparked collaborations that continue to flourish today. What will happen this time?

🗓 It's happening on Thur 26 Oct at 7–9pm ET (or 27 Oct if you live in Aus/NZ) — and it's free.

You can expect an energising and insightful talk from Lalith Gunaratne, musical moments from Nathan Dufour, voluntary group discussion, self-organised anarchic whiteboard ideating, and camaraderie you can gently sink into like a warm mineral bath that leaves you glowing for days afterward.

We'll send a proper blast around about it soon once we have some nice artwork ready, but if your appetite is already whet, you can find out more and RSVP through the Grokkist Network.

An update on our grokkable course offerings

Our 'grokkable' courses are our answer to the question – what would it look like to create a radically accessible and inclusive educational curriculum focused on igniting the soul's passion rather than just passing tests?

Intro to Philosophy for Ecological Action (Ecosophy)

Our flagship course is kicking off its third cohort this month.

Nathan has created a simply stunning invitation video to showcase what it's all about. I promise it is worth 4 minutes of your time to watch, even if you don't plan on taking the course.

Invitation to the Ecosophy course (4 min)

Find Your Red Thread

Our second course, which we piloted earlier this year, is now runway ready and will run for 5 weeks in November/December.

It's all about making sense of your squiggly story while rediscovering the richness of your true multi-dimensional self.

If you've ever experienced that heart-pounding sensation when someone asks "so what do you do?" and look around admiringly at others who seem to show up in the world with a secure identity – you'll want to have a look at my 3 minute invitation video at the very least.

It's hosted by yours truly and it's where I will unspool life wisdom I've accumulated from interacting with hundreds of grokkists with squiggly stories, and living out my own these past few decades.

More grokkable courses

We'll be piloting our third course in November/December, led by another member of the grokkist community. More on that next time – it's gonna be good.

We're also working closely with others in the grokkist community on more courses which will begin to arrive from early 2024.

🍬 Snackables

#1 - The Illusion of Control

The Illusion of Control - More To That
Freedom is less about doing what you want, and just allowing life to be.

There’s a Death Cab For Cutie lyric: “every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time”. Life is inherently volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, and while we all implicitly know this, we still fear uncertainty and strive to create order out of chaos. “It’s our way of organizing the cacophony of reality into the cadence of the heartbeat. Regular. Predictable. Certain.” This short reflection by Lawrence Yeo of More To That is a thoughtful and affirming offering for anyone who has freedom who feels unfree, or otherwise struggles with allowing life to be.

#2 - Capacities: networked note-taking that breaks silos

Capacities – A studio for your mind
A powerful note-taking tool. All your ideas – typed and connected.

"Our computers made us think like them... break the silo". Capacities is an intriguing personal knowledge management (PKM) tool that offers to create a network of thoughts by connecting objects in the way that we naturally structure information.

After all these years, my own approach to keeping things organised stubbornly remains a forest of red notification badges, fitful journaling, Apple Notes, scraps of handwritten paper, well-meaning whiteboard scribbles, and occasional forays into actually useful Notion databases and filing systems. But if you’re the sort of person who gets excited by bullet journalling, backlinks, and mindmaps, you might like this! Heck, I might like it too if I actually try it at some point. It does look genuinely well-considered. (🙏 Luke M)

#3 - A 3D reconstruction of the capital of the Aztec Empire

a portrait of Tenochtitlan
a 3D reconstruction of the capital of the Aztec Empire

Tenochtitlan was once the largest city in the Americas and capital of the Aztec Empire until its conquest by the Spanish in the 1500s. Modern day Mexico City is built on top of the ruins of Tenochtitlan, using stone repurposed from temples demolished after the city's capture. Thomas Kole has combined drone photography with historical and archeological expertise to create a compelling 3D reconstructed portrait of Tenochtitlan as it would have been in 1518, at the height of its power.

#4 - Wooden Overcoats: a sitcom podcast about rival funeral directors

Wooden Overcoats - Drama Podcast and Sitcom
Sitcom podcast about rival funeral directors in the English Channel. Best of iTunes & British Podcast Award Winner.

A scripted comedy that updates the time-honoured tradition of farcically absurdist British radio-plays for the podcast age. In the small village of Piffling, siblings Rudyard and Antigone Funn battle to keep their ramshackle undertaking business afloat after a new competitor arrives in town. The podcast has been around since 2015 and has won various awards. There are four seasons and the series concluded in 2022, so you can enjoy at leisure. (🙏 Amanda Y)

#5 - Lull yourself to sleep with the soothing white noise of your favourite tech giant’s terms of service

Legal Lullabies
Soothing white noice made with Instagram’s and TikTok’s terms of services.

Hannah Arendt said that irony is a kind of action because it represents an unwillingness or inability to put up with nonsense. At the 'Legal Lullabies' website, you can close your eyes, drift away, or scroll down to join the 1% of technology users that claim to have read the full terms and conditions of Instagram and TikTok. It's a work of art created by TLDR-Institute (short for The Lazy Data & Research Institute), an independent research lab that aims to promote the awareness of important facts through the unusual, strange, and downright bizarre. The experience really is soothing, and the self-consciously patronising tone of voice really helps to communicate the abject nonsense of its subject matter. Enjoy!

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