Daf Yomi Physics
I’m not quite ready to start this idea, but it is getting closer and closer all the time. I have wanted to do something like the Daf Yomi, but for “my people”. I am really impressed with what the Daf Yomi does — in terms of educating and providing unity to contemporary Jews the world over. If I was Jewish I would participate in it — (if you are Jewish and haven’t heard of it please look it up, its really awesome.)
So I got to thinking, could I take this idea and use it to create a stable center for a secular population? To preserve values and education that benefit humanity in some way? Of course to answer this question I would have to first answer the question “Who are my people?” If I want to create a center for a population what center is it that I want to serve?
There are three broad answers to this that are mutually exclusive (as I see it) — first would be readers. What would be a course of daily reading that would serve readers world wide? Unfortunately I don’t think that there is a common cannon which would provide benefit to everyone — I think the question is better answered individually so that population would not be served by that tool.
Secondly I came up with “Those who understand and appreciate the rule of law.” — because I think that the rule of law is the most important political concept ever to have been created. But while I believe this to be true, I don’t have a background in legal history and I could come up with a list of books and ideas, but I don’t have any sense that what I would come up with would be the best possible set — I would like to see a “Daf Yomi” for the rule of law, but I don’t feel competent to create one.
A subset of this might be “What it means to be American.” — a course of reading through the founding documents that make up the unique history of our nation. The contemporary political field has been both dividing us and dumbing us down. I think a focused, one page a day, reading list going through the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, various Supreme Court decisions etc. would be an incredible exercise. I also think that the people who would be willing to participate in such an exercise would be bound to be interesting, and that it might be possible to pull together a group of people who could accomplish a lot of good for the country.
Finally I came up with science and technology — and I’ve looked at this from a couple of angles — from a theoretical angle and a practical angle. In keeping with the spirit of the original Daf Yomi I think that the theoretical angle is the best one to take — a 7 year page a day course of reading that firmly establishes the scientific principles that make the modern mind what it is. It is not a program for specialists, but for everyone who wants to live in the modern world and know about it what there is to be known. So the focus is not on exotic problem solving or speed, but thoroughness of understanding.
Following the theoretical direction would be something along the lines of elaborating this document.
If I were to go with the practical direction I would use something like the McMaster Carr catalog (look it up) and go through page by page and explain what everything is and how it works — a thorough rendering would provide a phenomenal level of practical insight — I would love to sit in on that class.
I would love to get feedback from people about what the best direction for this project would be — like I said, I’m not quite ready to start it, but I think that I will be within the year. I will only be able to start one project like this in my life, so I want to make the choice well.
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