Selfism, Process Post 3/3: The Wunderkammer of Selfism

This post is part of my final project for Carnegie Mellon University’s Designing Narratives Across Media course, taught by Professor Ahmed Ansari.

Welcome back, Professor Ansari, or other person who stumbled into this post; this is my last Process Post documenting the process of bringing a cosmology of my own creation, Selfism, into the real world!

If you have no idea what’s going on, and you want to have an idea, reading Process Post 1 and Process Post 2 of this series will definitely help.

That said, picking up right where Process Post 2 left off, here is more on the cosmology of Selfism, more specifically: its Rituals, its Art, and its Technology.

More on Selfism

  • The first ritual that all citizens in the world of Selfism must go through is the water session. In the Alexander Technique, a “session” means 30 to 55 minutes working on the Self, usually with the help of a Certified Alexander Technique instructor; the water session has the same purpose and length as a standard session, except that it is consists on one of the elders of the community working on a baby’s Self after he or she has gone through a water ritual similar to a baptism.
  • Every morning, the citizens of the world of Selfism recite The Daily Directives (think of it as a prayer), which is also recited in unison at the beginning of all communal gatherings. These are The Daily Directives:

Let the ankles be free.
Let the knees be free.
Let the hips be free.
Let the neck be free, to let the head go forward and up.
Let the back lengthen and widen.
Let the shoulders move away from the spine.
Let the arms move away from the shoulders.
Let the neck be free, to let the head go forward and up.

  • Before going to sleep, the citizens of the world of Selfism all go into a constructive rest position, through which they practice deep breathing and release any unnecessary tension accumulated throughout the day.
  • The concept of art being specialized is foreign to the citizens of the world of Selfism. The idea of only certain people being painters, or musicians, or performers is as ludicrous to them as the idea of everyone being all of these things might be to us. However, it is important to note that good use of the Self underpins all artistic disciplines; if one lets one’s Self see well, one will be able to paint; if one lets one’s Self breathe well, one will be able to sing, and so on. Since Selfism espouses good use over all else, everyone has the ability to make art; if a person chooses to specialize in one art form over another, it will be due to an authentic preference, not to any artistic limitations.
  • Art is a vital part of all communal gatherings, as it is present both during many rituals, in the form of music, rhetoric, and performance, and during exclusively artistic events, which communities hold on a daily basis to allow the members of the community to express their selves. Think of it as a great Open Mic Night, every night.
  • The left-brain, right-brain dichotomy does not exist in Selfism. Since art is in everyone and everything, it in no way stands in opposition to anyone or anything, including more scientific, economic, or managerial interests and pursuits. Rather, given that Selfism captures the unity of the Self, art can only add the overall Self, so a scientist who is also an actor will be considered to be more integrated than an equally-skilled scientist who does not let his Self be artistic. This concept has an impact on the technology of Selfism.
  • There is no place in the world of Selfism for technology that does not promote good use of the Self. For example, imagine a phone that was capable of texting and using social networks, and imagine someone in the world of Selfism invented it, someone named, I don’t know, let’s say Mr. Jeve Stobs. Well, if in order to use this phone you were prompted to sacrifice your good use by bending your neck and letting the head fall forward and down, then this technology, by law, would be made illegal. Mr. Jeve Stobs could still create this phone for research purposes or curiosity, but he would not be allowed to distribute it, unless he could redesign it to promote good use.
  • The only technology that can be distributed in the world of Selfism is that which promotes good use of the Self by either reinforcing good habits, helping to inhibit bad ones, or directing the Self toward even better ways of being. Examples would include musical instruments, electronic devices which facilitate business practices without precluding good use (imagine a personal computer that freezes anytime it catches you slumping over your chair, letting your head fall forward and down, or misusing your Self in any other way).

This is the essence of the Rituals, Art, and Technology of the world of Selfism.

Over these three Process Posts I’ve explored the origins of Selfism in The Alexander Technique, the basic elements of Selfism, and some more specific elements of Selfism. All this exploration has, at last, allowed me to decide what I will create for my final project: The Wunderkammer of Selfism.

The Wunderkammer of Selfism

The Wunderkammer of Selfism will contain the following items:

  • A recitation of The Daily Directives to be followed and integrated instantly by any listener, adorned with original music which implies the simplicity, the clarity, and the openness of Selfism.
  • A set of tools used in the world of Selfism to engage in Constructive Rest and to keep in mind the mantra of “Forward & Up”.
  • Several written documents demonstrating some of the organizational intricacies brought about by Selfism, as well as some of the laws that underpin them.

As of now, these will be the elements contained within my Wunderkammer. There might be some adjustments, small additions, or small subtractions, but my intention is to create all of these objects and integrate them into a single digital space, which will then be presented as my final project a week from now, transporting all who interact with it to the world of Selfism.

A painting of a classic Wunderkammer, which in turn contains many paintings. Belgians were really meta in those days.
A modern Wunderkammer. Notice how the child is using her Self well, and the older person is not; bad habits begin and compound over time.