You're reading Scholé Supplement, the bi-weekly newsletter for grokkists who insist on relating to the world with curiosity and care.

Each edition contains the latest from the Grokkist Press, a wrap-up of events and highlights from our community, and a care package of snackable outside links selected to nourish your curiosity.

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Hey friends and fellow grokkists,

First up, a bit of news (it is a 'news'-letter after all!)

Nathan Dufour's Intro to Philosophy for Ecological Action course is back for its fourth outing starting early March (check dates and times here)

The course creates a safe and sincere space to explore what it's like to be alive in a time in which we sense the world is dying.

It unpacks complex and interconnected ecological themes and different ways of thinking about them, drawing on ancient and modern philosophical ideas – we call it the Ecosophy course for short!

Most importantly, it invites us to reflect on and articulate how our own personal way of making sense of it all shows up through our individual actions – how our 'ego' connects to our 'eco'.

The course continues to evolve and expand each time we run it – here is a short video of Nathan talking about how he's approaching it this time around.

We're trying to create conversation, connection and community around these ideas and to make all of this radically accessible to anyone, all while doing it in a financially sustainable way that allows us to not only keep going, but also to push back against precarious work and the 'starving artists' paradigm by modelling another way that promotes the dignity of all involved.

The suggested tuition is USD$175 – if you can't afford that, we have plenty of pain-free and dignity-first options for you (see our Forget About The Price Tag page)

Enrolling in the course gives you lifetime access to all future cohorts, so if you've already enrolled in a previous cohort, a reminder that you're welcome to participate again by dropping in on the live sessions, joining the discussions or following along with the workshop recordings.

We've recently refreshed the course spaces on the Grokkist Network, so if you haven't logged on in a while, you'll notice lots has changed!

I'm very proud that we get to host this course through Grokkist, and our ambition is to keep developing the course into the world's best and most accessible ecosophical educational experience.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey so far. Your support and belief is helping us speak this thing into existence.

Grok on!
- Danu

This edition at a glance:

  • Press: “I was so undecided”: navigating personal fulfilment and professional purpose – Christopher Schoenwald
  • Network: Update on our events program
  • Snackables:
    • The dying art of fan-making
    • The woman who spent 500 days in a cave
    • Are we post-racial yet?
    • Lawyers arguing over what a potato is
    • Explore interesting places near you with NearbyWiki

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From the Grokkist Press

Articles, videos, podcasts and other creations

“I was so undecided”: navigating personal fulfilment and professional purpose - Christopher Schoenwald | S4E2

by Danu Poyner (6 min read / 50 min podcast)

Christopher hosts and produces the internationally-awarded "Life as A.." podcast, helping people find professional career ideas and business pathways by exploring jobs from around the world.

We discuss the interplay between career and identity and the pursuit of purpose-driven work.

Christopher's story in brief

  • Christopher didn’t have a Plan A. He was a high-achiever who had the grades, but not the roadmap for his future.
  • Studying sociology without a clear direction, he simultaneously worked in Canadian Customs and Immigration, where he gained an early appreciation for how our jobs can shape who we are and how we see the world.
  • His quest for clarity led him to Japan to teach English, a temporary plan that turned into 20-plus-year adventure including teaching, consulting, and co-founding a marketing company in Tokyo.
  • It wasn’t just a career shift; it was a life transformation. Christopher realised his professional purpose was deeply tied to entrepreneurship, creativity, and a desire for variety and novelty in his work.
  • Christopher’s podcast, "Life as A..," is his way of shining a light on the myriad of career paths out there. It's about giving people a real taste of the options they have, helping them find their own spark in the professional world.

Conversation themes

  • Navigating career uncertainty
  • Curiosity, exploration, and enthusiasm as career catalysts
  • The interplay of career and identity
  • What it means to find purpose and fulfilment
Explore the Full Story ↗

From the Grokkist Network

Events and updates from our community

Community updates and highlights

Click here to start exploring the Grokkist Network. Create a free account when you're ready to join in.

An update on our events program

The most common feedback we hear about Grokkist is some version of "thank you for creating this space".

The second-most common feedback we hear sounds like "it's so nice to have a space to be social that isn't social media".

Most people I speak to are sick to death of message boards, chat spaces, webinars... all that digital noise.

Most of us have no need or desire for another bloody thing to keep track of or feel bad for not keeping up with.

But people do want genuine and sincere human connection. In a live setting. With no bullshit. And without being sold to.

The kind of space that offers invitation to connect without obligation to.

Where you don't need to perform. Where there are no particular beliefs you need to hold or tests of purity to pass. Where you can just show up as yourself, or not show up at all, and not have to worry about explaining yourself.

All of this informs our approach to offering events. We've put a lot of focus on figuring this out in recent months, and those efforts are now starting to come to fruition.

In brief, here's what we're trying to accomplish:

  • A mix of live offerings – social, informational, experiential and project-based
  • The vast majority of events free, public, and open to all
  • Pathways and hands-on support for community members to host their own events
  • An average of one event per week so people always have a menu of enticing options to select from
  • Focussed paid offerings that create value in our memberships

This is what our events menu looks like today:

We've recently added some guides for grokkists who want to lead an event:

We also know there are some of you who are keen to participate more but the current events are either too long, too generalised, or too inconvenient to commit to. We hear you and we're working on that.

Meanwhile, we'll continue to offer a joyful and experimental bombardment of interesting and usual events. Consider getting along to some and support your fellow grokkists who are tentatively but joyfully putting something into the world with care and curiosity.

There will be some magic and probably some misfires as we go along – everything is a learning experience and it's all part of the fun.

For an up-to-date list of all our public events shown in your timezone, bookmark the Events and Meetups space on the Grokkist Network.

We are a global community – featured events listed below are shown in the host's timezone. For all other dates, add +1 day for Aus/NZ.

Grokkist-Led Events

Red Thread Café

🗓️ Tue 13 Feb | 9am–11am NZT (view in your timezone)
Facilitated by Danu Poyner

Welcome to Red Thread Café – a relaxed and informal social space for grokkists to connect over the weird and wild episodes that make up our squiggly personal and professional stories, and the red thread that runs through it all.

Whether you’re in a life transition, having a career crisis, navigating burnout, or simply looking for inspiration and new friends who you don’t have to explain yourself to, come along and chill out to share what’s been going on for you, exchange perspectives and resources, or simply enjoy the vibe while feeling less weird about yourself.

Open to all free of charge, regardless of whether or not you’ve taken our Find Your Red Thread course.

Event Details and RSVP ↗

Other Upcoming Grokkist-Led Events

Member-Led Events

The Music Itself (Grassroots Workshop)

🗓️ Tue 20 Feb | 7–9pm ET (view in your timezone)
Hosted by Grant Swift

If music can express truth, or God, or something deeply human - how does it do that? What are the phenomenal aspects of music - what is it made of, and how do we perceive those parts?

These questions are essential for talking about music, and yet, so rarely do these questions get direct face time. It often seems as if musical discourse is something either mediated through social taste and personal preferences, OR, reserved for stodgy institutions of higher learning where “theory” and the “classical tradition” dominate the discussion. Can’t we talk about music in more interesting ways than that? Can we discuss the music itself without appealing to pure relativism, or old and narrow conventions?

Join us for an exploration and discussion of the phenomenon of music, and of all the interesting ways we think about and experience it.

Event Details and RSVP ↗

Other Upcoming Member-Led Events

🍬 Snackables

#1 - The dying art of fan-making


Three Ravens is an English myth and folklore podcast series on heritage crafts and forgotten arts. This episode is all about the 3,000 year-old legacy of fans from China, Japan, and Africa, the European craze for fans, and their religious uses, their styles, hidden compartments, and secret language.

Everyone used to be seen with their handheld fans in public, similarly to how we are all inseparable from our phones in public today.

After exploring the shifts the 19th century offered around fan culture, including their place in merchandising, make-up, and mass production, the hosts also discuss how and where collections of fans might be seen today, and where to go if you want to learn how to make them using traditional methods...

#2 - The woman who spent 500 days in a cave

The Woman Who Spent Five Hundred Days in a Cave
Beatriz Flamini liked to be alone so much that she decided to live underground—and pursue a world record. The experience was gruelling and surreal.

I know many grokkists who are attracted by solitude, living off-grid, dark retreats, the monastic life, and other ways of disconnecting from a noisy, difficult and distracting world. This isn't so much a rejection of society as it is a reclaiming of silence, and self. "It’s not Fleeing. It’s Being.”

Beatriz Flamini worked as a caretaker at a mountain refuge in central Spain, specialising in retrieving people who got themselves into trouble in the mountains. "She had moments of intense intimacy with other people but spent most of her time by herself." She had taken to living in a camper-van, but still found that "the outside world wouldn’t always leave her alone." So she decided to live in a cave in total isolation for well over a year. This is the story of how that went for her, and what it meant for those on the outside.

#3 - Are we post-racial yet?

Are We Postracial Yet?
In the Q&A after a panel during the Virginia Museum of Fine Art symposium “Picturing the Black Racial Imaginary,” a woman in the audience took issue with the word “racial” in the title. But if race…

Sincere and nuanced reflection from Peabody Award-winning journalist and educator Brian Palmer on the Virginia Museum of Fine Art symposium “Picturing the Black Racial Imaginary,” in which he appeared as a panelist, prompted by a moment during the Q&A, where a woman in the audience took issue with the word “racial” in the title:

"But if race is a social construct, I wonder for those of us who are flowing through the current of this river of humanity — should we, are we perpetuating the false narrative of continuing to inject the word “racial”? Should we sort of drop that, select another word and rise up to another narrative, or is that still — does that help segregate or does that help unify?"

A panelist responded:

“I’m not giving up blackness. I’m not,” Imani Perry said. “The desire to move beyond in most instances feels to me a desire to evade the reality that [race] persists. And that I think is unethical.”

Palmer then expands on this response. In teasing out the interplay between Imaginary and Factual, he acknowledges that the complexity of our past is real and rich, and ultimately suggests that we can use our creativity to credibly and powerfully explore that past.

#4 - Lawyers arguing over what a potato is

Walkers Snack Foods Ltd v Commissioners for His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (VAT - snack foods - whether standard rated by Note 5, Group 1, Part II Schedule 8 VATA 1994 - whether products made from the potato or potato starch) [2024] UKFTT 31 (TC) (10 January 2024)

Law – like borders – is one of those things that is completely imaginary, but very real. If, like me, you find something deeply amusing about watching highly-paid and self-serious people arguing with great precision over silly things like what a potato is and isn't, you may enjoy this legal matter involving Walkers Snack Foods vs UK Revenue and Customs.

In the UK, 'food' is exempt from sales tax, but 'snack food' attracts the usual 20% VAT. Australia is similar with its GST-exemptions for unprocessed foods and some other items.

Here the argument is whether Walkers' 'Sensations Poppadoms' products (both the Lime & Coriander Chutney and Mango & Red Chilli Chutney flavours) count as snack foods or not, which hinges entirely on whether they are "made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch", which would put them in an exemption category.

Philosophical highlights also include:

  • Whether potato granules should be considered 'derived' from potato, or 'within' the concept of potato.
  • "Nominative determinism is not a characteristic of snack foods: calling a snack food ‘Hula Hoops’ does not mean that one could twirl that product around one's midriff, nor is ‘Monster Munch’ generally reserved as a food for monsters."
  • Expert witness testimony as to whether the potato content or the gram flour is the most recognisable ingredient from a taste perspective, and whether 'made from' could mean a focal point rather than the proportion of the ingredient, in the sense that cider is 'made from' apples, although the majority content is water.
  • Whether the previous Pringles case sets an appropriate legal precedent.

#5 - Explore interesting places near you with NearbyWiki

NearbyWiki: Wikipedia places nearby
Explore interesting places nearby listed on Wikipedia. Discover sights and destinations in your area or a travel destination.

Exactly what it says on the tin. An interactive map for exploring interesting places nearby that are listed on Wikipedia. There are so many more than I had imagined. Life is always going around us.

A parting thought...

In order for me to write poetry that isn't political,
I must listen to the birds
And in order to hear the birds
The warplanes must be silent
Marwan Makhoul

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