free topic read instructions

    1. Commit to a topic (you can always change it, but the commitment will begin the seriousness of the brainstorm). You will be choosing a social, cultural, religious, biological, abstract conceptual, or complex (relational) norm.

    What does this mean? Primarily it means that you can choose anything that has a robust set of beliefs, views, rules, actions, and practices that are either implicit or explicit to some group of human animals or non-human animals. That’s a really detailed definition that should actually make your topic choice really really easy.

    The only exclusions are simple concepts. For example, if I wanted to discuss the Zen Buddhist concept of ‘nothingness’, that’s not a norm. But, Zen Buddhist practice has certain norms–e.g., the Rinzai sect of Buddhist practice. So, when choosing a norm, all you really have to watch out for is that you are not just choosing a smaller concept within a norm. Now if you’re thinking, well how do I know if I’ve chosen a proper norm? You can always run it by me. However, I think that it is more valuable to analyze if the thing you have chosen is actually a norm. That is, to know that something is a norm is to match up the definition above with specific components of the thing.

    2. In 400 words, write out the details of the following: Explain how this norm works as a worldview. That is, what are the values, practices, linguistic and conceptual components, and perspectives of the cultural norm. Try to really self-locate within the norm. Learn as much about it as an outsider or insider.

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