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Hyperion March 10, 2004

the Hyperion Chronicles
“My Milkshake brings all the readers to the yard”

#287 The Institute


I’m full of ideas. Actually, I’m full of a lot of things (insert joke here), but ideas are a big part of it. Sometimes the ideas are moving around like those lottery balls; so fast that I can barely keep up with them. Sometimes they are at a more sedate pace, like when you blow bubbles, and I can reach out and pop most of them as they go by.

Occasionally I go through stretches where I get just a slew of good ideas. It’s like ripe fruit or something, and I’m picking them off the tree left and right, knowing if I don’t they will fall to the ground and be lost.

I’ve been in one of those periods lately. I had this epiphany about the psychology of human development. I figured out how humans might be able to fly. I even thought of a way the Red Sox could win the World Series. (Not really. Nobody’s that smart.)

I had this other idea, and I’m not sure how bright it is. At first the idea was to launch a third column. I have a desire to write things, of shall we say a more erudite nature. Topics on philosophy, psychology, anthropology, theology, and a host more. In the Hyperion Chronicles I never try to dumb down, but I am cognizant of the wide audience and the need to communicate as effectively as possible. Let’s be honest: there are quite a few of you who don’t have a great attention span or interest in these things. That’s okay. But maybe there are some who do.

So I’d been thinking about this the last couple of days. First I brought it up to my friend Zach, and he was supportive, but I didn’t really have my head together on it yet. Then last night I had dinner with Marcellus, and we got to talking about weighty issues. I told him of my idea, where I could write some of these thoughts, even if they weren’t fully formed, to people who were interested. The idea evolved. “I would almost need a guarantee,” I told him, “ that the people who read this would respond back, give their thoughts, and not just passively take without giving.”

As we kept talking, I realized I would probably need to set up a website, as a forum for these ideas. I could post my illuminating (or not) thoughts, and then people who were a part of this group could respond.

I was also evolving what I would call it. At first with Zach I thought of something like Hyperion I.Q. As I played with that I changed it to H.I. Q. and then Hy-Q. I thought that was rather clever. Then I realized that Hy-Q sounded like Haiku (a Japanese poem), and so I started jotting a few down on a dinner napkin. (The dinner napkin, by the way, has throughout history been a source of great ideas.) Here is the best I came up with:

I dream of a day

Where ideas flow like wine

And the world is changed

It was at then that my idea (and the name for it) met at the same point. “What you’re really talking about,” Marcellus said sagely, “is the Institute.”

How True.

For those of you who are rather new (or don’t read the boilerplate at the end), this column is put together by the Hyperion Institute. We have many goals here at the Institute, besides just the two columns we put out right now. There is of course community theatre, blood drives, world domination, teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony, and spreading the Good Books throughout the land.

Besides all that, though, is getting people to think. Like my haiku, I dream of a time and place where intelligent people could come together to discuss the great ideas of the day, to think about things that are not yet and dream of how they could be. This is the Hyperion Institute to me. I’ve even had discussions with an architect friend of mine about what it would look like.

Okay, that’s a ways off unless someone in the Hyperion Nation donates three billion dollars to us upon her death. (And might I say, if you’re going to do that, could you do it sooner rather than later?) In the meantime, this might be the best way to start a true community. Perhaps by email at first, and then as soon as I can manage it, a private website where those interested can go discuss in a forum the great issues of the day, or any other weighty topics that go through my head.

But that’s a lot of work. It is work I’m ready and willing to dive into, if there is a hunger out there. But I need to know. I could “recruit” a few people I know and ask them to be a part of this, but I talk to them frequently anyway. I’m curious how many of my readers are interested in something like this.

I got home and called Bear and pitched him the idea. He was enthusiastic, but suggested I take it further, and actually write a column detailing the evolution of this idea and finding out what people think. I told him, “If I write a column laying it all out, this conversation will be included. If you have anything witty to say, say it now.” Bear laughed at replied, “I only break out the witty box on special occasions.” But despite that comment he did have good advice. “Write the column,” he said. “See how it goes.” So that’s what I’m doing now.

As much as you enjoy reading the Chronicles (and if you receive it, Hyperion X), do you hunger for more…meatier topics? Do you wish there were a group of people out there who were interested in more than whether Ross and Rachel will end up together, what Janet Jackson’s not wearing, or who will win the next game? If you have ideas on how the world came to be, how it works, and how it can be better, now is your chance. You can add be a part of a movement, a new way of looking at things. You can add your voice to the chorus for a new tomorrow. Well, that sounds a bit fluffy, but at least we can argue a lot.

But leave the witty box at home.

Until then,

March 10, 2004

Thanks to Zach (twice)
Thanks to Bear
Thanks to Marcellus
Thanks to Achmed

Motto Explanation
I really don’t want to explain it. If you must know, do a Google search of the word “Kelis.”


Tracy Lynn said...

I'm not at all sure that I'm smart enough to participate in this. Or maybe it's just that I'm not used to being surrounded by people as smart as I. :-)

Either way, I'm kind of intrigued. So again, I say "Bring it on."

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