A criteria for choosing individuals to learn from and work with is necessary because the work I want to do may not fit in any existing field and, therefore, my criteria for choosing a field may not work at all.
If I just focus on looking for specific individuals I can emulate, there is a higher chance that I can find people to support me in pursuing my poetics.
Here are some criteria I am looking for:
- My ideal mentors and peers should be have an intellectual practice, they are proponents of intentional living and contemplation, and they share their knowledge and experiences through writing and/or other art forms.
- I want my mentors and peers to favor process over product. They balance thinking and being, that is, they are very good thinkers but they also have a consciousness practice, or espouse intentional living. They need to have a strong consciousness practice but are also very good in thinking about the world. They are engaged in serious, deep thinking about life. They don’t have to be a philosopher per se, but they should be really intentional about how they understand the world as demonstrated by their writings. But they don’t just research. They apply their philosophical insights in their daily life (use-inspired basic research). They are intent in living an “ethical life.”
- They must have a dedicated practice of building a philosophy of their own.
- Ideally, the main question they ask is, how should I live? or how to live
- While excellent thinkers whose reasoning skills are well-developed, they express themselves beautifully in writing. They use personal narrative and poetical language. They also show interest in other artistic art forms.
- They write books, published or to be published.
- They write from the first person. They write about their personal philosophical and contemplative journey. They present their thought processes. The form of their writing is tracing the trails of their thoughts, not necessarily beautiful language.
- The best mentors (at least those I plan to interact with) should be alive.
- (Optional) Does poetry and photography.
In short, I want an autobiographical writer who writes about their attempt to understand the universe and act on that understanding.
Here is a list of peers and mentors I have encountered in research or real life.