Semester 2: The Soul: a quest for discomfort

There's not a ton to say about the next three months, other than... IT'S GONNA GET UNCOMFORTABLE UP IN THIS PIECE. From introduction to ballet to running a 10k, I'm going to be wearing leotards and generally feeling out of my comfort zone. 

New York City is the absolute best place to live when you want to change things up. Taking a different route to work, eating food from a country you've never heard of or generally hanging out with people from different backgrounds can be both uncomfortable and inspiring. Cheers to more of that for the next few months.

My hope is that moments of discomfort cede to clarity about what I'm made of and what lies underneath my exterior. We'll see what we find!

Questions to consider
What is it about being outside the comfort zone that brings out deep inspiration? Is there a term for this?
Is it true that you lose 21 grams when you die? What are the theories about what those grams represent?
How do different religions view the notion of soul?
What is Plato's essence of a person?


Readings (choose 6 of 8)
Even Silence Has an End by Ingrid Betancourt
The Long Run by Matt Long
The Discomfort Zone by Jonathan Franzen
The Age of Comfort by Joan DeJean
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
A Rope and a Prayer by David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill
Question 75 of the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas
the Bible- the temptation of Christ/40 days in the wilderness - from gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke

Other Resources
Wikipedia's Soul entry

Do a public presentation about my work at Arc90.
Run a 10k.
Attend 10 ballet classes.
Publish a soul post every Friday.


Katie said...

Jen! I am taking ballet too! Can't wait to hear about it. I like having another "adult beginner" to compare experiences with.

Tara said...

Jen, I love following your posts. This Semester on the Soul sounds really amazing. I can't wait to hear about your discoveries this spring!

Steve said...

This is a really, really great podcast that I'm going to force you to listen to one of these days if you don't soon check it out:


This episode asks the question "what happens after you die?" and talks a lot about the 21 grams theory.

Meg said...

Hey Jen. I love that you're tackling the Soul this semester. Getting outside your comfort zone is scary and awesome. When I was a high ropes teacher we used to teach kids to think about their comfort zone as a hula hoop laying on the ground. We'd stand inside and mention things that were really comfortable and eventually have one foot in and one way out of the hula hoop. That's what we'd challenge kids to do on the ropes course - push themselves as far as they wanted and could still feel connected to their comfort zone. They were often surprised at how much their "hula hoop" grew by the end of the week. It was great.

I just read a book that might be interesting, especially regarding the 21 oz question. It's called Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, by Mary Roach. She delves into a lot of ideas about the soul and historical and current scientific exploration into finding it, weighing it and quantifying it. It was an interesting read. You may want to check it out, although it looks like you have quite a list already.

Anyway, good luck with the 10K and ballet. You're so brave!

Meg said...

Whoops. That was meant to read "21 grams question"

You get the idea...

Jen said...

Dear everyone who commented on this,

You made my day. Made it! It is made.

xoxo Jen