So, I’ve made a few changes to my weekly Research Journal, now that I’ve taken on the uThM degree plan. You can read more about it here.

To start with, the format is a little different, focusing more on my studies, though this might change, depending on the future of my Eden Project. More on that later. I’ll also be adding an official Tally each week for the Metrics page.

You can read all of my journal entries here.

Let’s get started….

Interesting Discoveries

If you’ve checked out my uThM Study Plan, you know I’ve undertaken an auspicious endeavor – unschooling a seminary degree. Of course, it is much, much more than just a Master’s degree in theology. It is the sum total combination of all of my interests and research questions, spanning theology, mathematics, fringe science, supernatural, death and philosophy.

But, this week I spent most of my time shoring up the Study Plan, adding more courses and other resources, and conducting a war of software programs.

That’s right, all the software programs that have been specifically created for organizing homework and school life went head to head and one came out on top a winner. You can read more about the winner over at my Patreon page. It will either be a screencast or a paper, depending on how the screencast turns out (fingers crossed for the screencast).

The study plan is nearly complete, though. I spent several days trying to fill in gaps, providing more resources (specifically, online courses). I added several more books and many seminary courses from Master’s Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary. I discovered Youtube to be a tremendous resource, as many universities are publishing their videos there as organized playlists for each class. Handy.

Now I’m set to get started (and did so on my last day). It was a great feeling to actually get into the texts and read with purpose. Learning is such an invigorating activity, and to do so as (hopefully soon) my main vocation is a dream come true.

On that note, I did some figuring today while at work and I’ve come away with these estimates. Starting the beginning of May, I will have 4 months of savings. If I stay at work until June, I will have 8 months. By July, 11 months of savings.

My plan at this point is to remain at my job until circumstances dictate I resign. No matter at what stage, I will be positioned to take a month off, then put my house up for sale. My hope is I can remain employed until Jan 2020, in which case I would have $17,700 saved. At my current expense requirements, this will afford me 2 years to sell my house, car, and settle into a full-time hermitic life at the Eden property. We will see how it all works out.

This Week’s Resources

Even though I focused mostly on organizing resources for the Study Plan, I did manage to get some study time in.

I am currently reading Mammoth Hunters, Going to Seminary Blog, PhD and Uncommon Guide, Biocentrism, ABP Seminars, Celibacy in Crisis, and the Portable Thoreau. I’m also reading Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, which has, surprisingly, become a favorite author. And to think, he was recommended to me by someone I have zero respect for. Strange. It’s odd how the two best books I’ve ever read have been given to me by people that are polar opposites of the authors.

I am looking forward to getting out of a book “about” Thoreau and back into his writings again. I’ve located a copy of the Complete Works of Thoreau, which I expect to be a great read. I will also be excited to finish the short online course from Standford, “Hacking Consciousness.” Though it did have some interesting points, most of the content is a self-help advertisement for new age and the occult.

I’ve also been re-reading my books In the Meadow and its sequel, Returning the Meadow in preparation for the outline work on the final installment of the series, Beautiful the Meadow. I can’t wait to get started on it. I really like how the ending has come together and opened a whole new world where I can experiment with Dawn and Erin and Zack one last time (don’t worry, it won’t actually be the end of the story).

I will be focusing on filling the gaps in the Study Plan in the future. One place that seems to really be lacking is the Septuagint Seminar. If I can’t find more books on the subject, I will have to try and offset the lack with an over abundance of articles.

I also watched a short but tremendously helpful video by Dr. Patton on the Literature Review. I think I will end up doing a review on several subjects before I’m finished with my uThM.

One thing I’ve discovered in anticipation of a scheduled appointment with a counselor, I’ve been able to coalesce the component elements of my drive to isolation, to hermitic vocational testing, for the longing of contemplative solitude.

The answer is: I’m in search of something. A common thread, maybe. The one that was used to weave the trapestry of life, the hidden knowledge that binds us all together in a singular, objective reality of thought and action and sentience.

It is not the secret knowledge of the gnostics I seek. I’m not trying to somehow escape the material world. Rather, I’m seeking to understand the singular creator, the singular creation – the purpose by which everything we experience with our senses and with our minds manifests and persists.

Consciousness , the mind, the contemplative aparatus. The purpose, origin, and future of death. I wish to prepare for it. To embrace it and welcome it. To glimpse what is otherwise of the living. To sate the curiosity.

I wish to know the secrets of God, if, indeed, he be willing to share with me.

The Tally

I spent a total of 20 hours researching this week. Two hours reading non-fiction books, an additional hour on fiction. I spent an hour in a cursory search for academic articles and I wrote one article.

Plan for Next Week

Next week I would like to focus more on actual research (reading, writing, assignments, etc).

I will need to figure out an alternative for my discussion forums. I posted my first question on Quora Friday and have not received a single answer by Sunday. I think forums will be better…..hopefully. I may have to extend my Discussion post assignment, starting on Sundays and responding on Fridays, giving people more time.

Until next week…..

I set up a Patreon page so others can join in and support my work as I pursue this Unschooled Master of Theology in Biblical Studies degree, similar to traditional graduate students and professors seeking grant money from individuals and organizations.

Your support and encouragement mean the world to me, and I’ve set up several options so everyone can afford to participate.

Even just a few dollars a month can go a long way, allowing me to buy books and other learning materials, partially funding travel and other necessary expenses during the journey.

Thanks in advance.

I went native and dreamed away days on the shore of the pool under the waterfall, wandered naked as Adam under the cottonwoods, inspecting my cactus gardens. The days became wild, strange, ambiguous—a sinister element pervaded the flow of time. I lived narcotic hours in which like the Taoist Chuang-tse I worried about butterflies and who was dreaming what. There was a serpent, a red racer, living in the rocks of the spring where I filled my canteens; he was always there, slipping among the stones or pausing to mesmerize me with his suggestive tongue and cloudy haunted primeval eyes. Damn his eyes. We got to know each other rather too well I think. I agonized over the girls I had known and over those I hoped were yet to come. I slipped by degrees into lunacy, me and the moon, and lost to a certain extent the power to distinguish between what was and what was not myself: looking at my hand I would see a leaf trembling on a branch. A green leaf. I thought of Debussy, of Keats and Blake and Andrew Marvell. I remembered Tom o’Bedlam. And all those lost and never remembered. Who would return? To be lost again? I went for walks. I went for walks. I went for walks and on one of these, the last I took in Havasu, regained everything that seemed to be ebbing away. Most of my wandering in the desert I’ve done alone. Not so much from choice as from necessity—I generally prefer to go into places where no one else wants to go. I find that in contemplating the natural world my pleasure is greater if there are not too many others contemplating it with me, at the same time. However, there are special hazards in traveling alone. Your chances of dying, in case of sickness or accident, are much improved, simply because there is no one around to go for help…”

Edward Abbey from Desert Solitaire

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