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 Alienated's Initiation Workshop Assignments

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alienated

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Age : 23
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PostSubject: Alienated's Initiation Workshop Assignments   Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:01 pm

Week 1: The Core Virtues and the Doctrine of Nonintervention

While one of the main reasons I joined the Gallifreyan Tradition was to connect with like-minded Doctor Who fans, I also saw it as a way to improve myself. I suppose it was an excuse to actively participate in a community rather than lurking from the sidelines like I usually do. I was also intrigued by the idea of cultural reconstruction and applying aspects Gallifreyan ethics and culture to life on Earth. While we may not be responsible for the web of time, the six core virtues and the Doctrine of Nonintervention are highly applicable to everyday life.

The first virtue, tradition, is somewhat of a tricky one for me right now. I was raised in the Catholic Church, which is known for a heavy emphasis on tradition. I enjoyed this aspect growing up because of the sense of history and connection to something greater; however, it ceased to have any meaning once I deconverted. Also, growing up biracial (I’m half Filipino) in suburban America meant that I never really felt connected to any particular culture. To make things more complicated, my suspected kintype does not have any kind of culture or tradition in the conventional sense. I am currently trying to find new traditions that are meaningful to me.

The virtue of understanding is important to me because I make a point to at least try to understand where people are coming from, knowing that there are multiple sides to any issue. When I disagree with someone, my first impulse is often to dismiss them as stupid or ignorant, but when I think about it, I realize that they may just be coming at the situation from a different angle. I try to see whether there are any facts either of us forgot to take into account and to recognize that not everyone has had the privilege of a high-quality education. However, with the rise of the Trump era, I have also learned to recognize that some positions are truly irreconcilable and are not just a matter of “agreeing to disagree”, especially when peoples’ lives and well-being are at stake.

The virtue of discipline can be a challenge for me at times. Procrastination is definitely an issue for me, mostly because I am such a crippling perfectionist. For instance, I am still typing this assignment up hours before it’s due. I use self-discipline when I put in the time and effort necessary to achieve a goal, regardless of what I feel like doing at the time. On the other hand, I also have to continually reevaluate whether my goal is worth pursuing and that the steps I am taking are not harming others or myself. Discipline is also important when it comes to expressing my emotions in a healthy way rather than repressing them or unintentionally hurting those around me.

I often associate the virtue of integrity with those anti-cheating lectures we used to get in high school, but there is much more to it than that. One way I can use integrity is by taking a more active stand against hatred and ignorance, whether by attending protests or simply not standing by when someone says something bigoted. Integrity is also important when it comes to owning up to my mistakes and admitting when I am wrong. Rather than dwell on the mistake, I try to make amends and learn from it so I do not repeat it in the future.

The virtue of loyalty is another important one for me. I naturally try to be supportive and helpful to my friends and the groups I belong to. Betrayal is also one of my biggest deal breakers. Another, more challenging, aspect of loyalty is learning to balance my commitments to school, work, family, friends, GT, etc. with my own mental health and determining which ones to prioritize when they inevitably conflict.

I consider the virtue of respect important because I believe that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally. While I am not a naturally friendly person, I generally try to treat everyone I meet with common human decency and remember that they have their own thoughts and feelings and experiences. Respect is not the same as nice, especially when they are causing harm to themselves or others. I also try to treat positive authority figures with respect for their knowledge and experience rather than just for their title.

As for the Doctrine of Nonintervention, I tend to err on the side of not interfering. Most of the time, I prefer to stand back and allow those involved in the conflict to work things out for themselves. I usually only step in if it involves me or if things seem to be escalating out of hand. Also, while it can be frustrating to stand back and watch someone make bad choices, I have learned from experience that it is better to give them a chance to learn from their mistakes and only intervene when their actions are causing others harm.
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alienated

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PostSubject: Re: Alienated's Initiation Workshop Assignments   Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:50 pm

Week 2: The Chapter System and Why I Decided to Switch Chapters at the Last Minute

As you may or may not be aware, I have recently experienced somewhat of a chapter related identity crisis. Thankfully, Patrician Cassandra has graciously allowed me an extension on this assignment. After careful consideration, I have decided to change my chapter affiliation from Drome to Patrex. I have been having doubts about my chapter affiliation for some time and I want to make sure that I am in the chapter that best enables me to use my interests and abilities to become a better version of myself.

You may be wondering why I decided on the Dromeian chapter in the first place since Drome and Patrex seem very different from each other. Interestingly, my top two choices were actually Drome and Arcal. I chose the Dromeian chapter because, while I am very interested in science and technology, the Arcalian descriptions seemed overly technical and the deep, mysterious, philosophical Dromeian descriptions really resonated with me. I have often speculated that if I did have a past life on Gallifrey, I probably would have been in the CIA, which may be where some of the confusion was coming from. As I read more chapter descriptions and interacted with members of various chapters, I began to notice that I actually had more in common with members of the Arcalian and Patrexean chapters, although I got along with people from all chapters.

While my interests seem to align more with the Arcalian chapter, I believe that the Patrexean chapter best encompasses my personality and the way I view and interact with the world. I am curious and analytical, but I am also creative, imaginative, enthusiastic, spontaneous, and unconventional, which are all qualities valued by the Patrex chapter. I believe that creativity can be applied to more than just traditionally “creative” fields like the arts and writing. For example, science is considered a very left-brained discipline that requires objectivity and attention to facts and details, but there is also a certain amount of creativity involved in designing experiments and interpreting data. I’m not especially artistic, but I am aesthetically inclined and highly appreciative of beauty in the natural world. Music is also a big part of my life and I almost always have a song stuck in my head. (Right now, it’s “Unbeliever” by Imagine Dragons if you’re curious.) On the other hand, I can also be somewhat moody, rebellious, hipsterish (but in more of an anti-hipster way), and somehow both impulsive and indecisive at the same time.

One thing I have learned from this experience is that it’s okay to be wrong sometimes. You’re not always going to get things right the first time and that’s okay. And realistically, I don’t think that much is going to change with my new chapter affiliation. One thing I like about GT’s chapter system is that it’s not as restrictive as, say, the House system in Harry Potter. While the chapters provide a sense of community within a community, people are also free to mingle with members of other chapters and there isn’t an “evil” chapter or a “loser” chapter. Going forward, I will use my newfound knowledge about my identity to get back in touch with my creative side. I used to draw a lot when I was younger but I stopped because I believed I wasn’t good enough. I may also take up piano again, or even a different instrument.
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PostSubject: Re: Alienated's Initiation Workshop Assignments   Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:52 pm

Week 3: History and Culture of GT

On the surface, the Gallifreyan Tradition Society seems like a fairly typical fandom/pop culture pagan/alterhuman community. In fact, many of the study group participants saw GT as an extremely dedicated Doctor Who fanclub before joining. I believe that what makes GT unique as an organization is the fact that it combines elements of these subcultures in a way that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The main characteristic GT shares with fandom-based communities is the fact that its members are united by a common interest in a particular work of fiction, in this case Doctor Who. Specifically, we are united by our shared appreciation and respect for the Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey, including those who do not necessarily consider themselves Whovians. Those of us who are fans love to geek out over the show, especially after a new episode or important announcement. Many of us express our love for Doctor Who by making fanart, cosplaying, critically discussing the show, and even learning Gallifreyan. We also participate in Cards Against Humanity games and Classic Who livestreams. However, GT has also developed its own culture distinct from mainstream fan communities. We have our own memes and references, which can be observed in the CAH games. We also have a more personal connection to Gallifrey, whether through alterhumanity, spirituality, or simply a sense of solidarity.

GT also has a lot in common with alterhuman communities. From what I understand, the Society was originally intended as a way to connect with other Gallifreyan fictionkin. Many, but not all, current Society members identify as Gallifreyankin and have developed a community based on shared experiences. One of the reasons I joined GT was because I was questioning whether I was Gallifreyankin myself. I still come back to question it every once in a while, although this is complicated by the fact that I’m fictionhearted (or even kin?) with the Doctor. Identity is confusing. There is also a lot of overlap with the plural community. I’m a singlet, so I can’t comment on any similarities or differences between the two communities, but I know that a significant portion of GT does identify as plural. I suppose the main distinction between GT and most alterhuman communities is the cultural reconstruction aspect. We do not just identify as Gallifreyan, but we are also working to apply aspects of Gallifreyan culture, ethics, and spirituality to our current lives on Earth.

I admit that I am not as familiar with pop culture pagan communities as I am not following any specific spiritual path at the moment. Based on what I have read, it seems that pop culture paganism is much like traditional paganism, only it incorporates spiritual entities based on works of fiction. One example that comes to mind is the Jedi Order based on Star Wars. While the spiritual path is only one of the paths one can follow, many in GT worship the Menti Celesti and some also venerate the founders of Gallifreyan civilization. Many also practice witchcraft and other forms of spirituality. Pop culture paganism overlaps with fandom and even cultural reconstruction in a way, but what sets GT apart is the emphasis on self-improvement and becoming a better person.

Above all, I believe that the main thing that makes the Gallifreyan Tradition Society different than most pop culture pagan, fandom, and alterhuman communities is a sense of solidarity that goes beyond our past lives or spiritual practices or our love for Doctor Who. Many of us are neurodivergent and LGBTQIA+ and many of us are also victims of abuse. We are essentially a bunch of broke millennials trying to find our way in a world screwed over by previous generations where it seems that everything has been stacked against us. We support each other through rough times, encourage each other in our personal projects, and hold each other accountable in order to grow as people.

I apologize for submitting these late. I’ll make sure to plan ahead better in the future.
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PostSubject: Re: Alienated's Initiation Workshop Assignments   Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:28 pm

Week 4: Cultural Reconstruction

Ten years is a long time for any organization, especially a small, internet-based, fan-run group, but I would like to believe that the Gallifreyan Tradition Society will still be around after that time. After all, Doctor Who wasn’t supposed to make it past its first season and it’s still going after more than 50 years and counting. While I have had enough experience with projects falling apart due to people gradually losing interest that it’s definitely a concern for me, I can’t imagine any of the core members of GT (or myself, for that matter) losing interest any time soon.

In 10 years time, I hope to see the Gallifreyan Tradition become a more diverse community with a much wider reach than it has now. While I can’t see GT growing too much larger without sacrificing its close-knit atmosphere and also due to its niche appeal, I believe that we would benefit from a more diverse set of perspectives. Right now, the Society draws heavily from marginalized groups, especially the disabled/mentally ill/neurodivergent and queer communities, as well as alternative spiritualities, but most of its members also seem to be white, educated, English-speaking young adults from Europe and North America. One of our fellow Candidates brought up an example of traditional pagan/polytheistic cultural reconstruction in their community during our most recent class that sparked an interesting discussion, and I believe that we can expect more insights like this if GT becomes accessible to more people.

I would also like to see GT increase its physical presence over the next 10 years. I think that GT should still be primarily internet-based, given that it’s the ideal means for communicating information across large distances. I am very excited about the recent progress toward reestablishing the new and improved Great Houses and I hope to see more Houses established in different locations around the world. Eventually, we could even hold annual meetups at each location so everyone would have the opportunity to attend at least one. The Houses would provide a sense of communal living and offer a safe haven from less than ideal situations, but would also be completely optional if someone isn’t comfortable with it, and they wouldn’t be thought of any less within the Society.

Another goal I think GT should work toward in the next 10 years is to get on better terms with the Doctor Who kin community as well as the fandom in general. I feel that much of the animosity toward GT is due to simple misunderstanding, not to mention the hate spread around by a certain person who shall not be named. I recognize that GT is not to blame for much of this conflict, but I also think we could do better about representing what the Society is about more clearly and accurately. We are already making progress toward this with the 30 Days of GT Blogging challenge on Tumblr. I think there will always be a level of separation between GT and the rest of the fandom because it is not strictly a fandom group and, unfortunately, not everyone is accepting of alternative spiritualities, which form a major part of the Society’s DNA. However, I think that we should also have a large enough presence within the fandom and kin community that people who would be inclined to join would be able to without being biased by things like fake callout posts.
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