The Freedom Twenty-Five PhD: Semester Zero

Most schools don’t start summer classes in late June. Fortunately, the Freedom Twenty-Five PhD program isn’t most schools. We start when we want, study when we must, and classes are chaotically sprinkled throughout life, ready to ambush us without warning at any time. There is no degree awarded for successful completion of the self-directed PhD program, because it is unending – it’s less an actual program, than a metaphor for a lifetime of active, independent learning and self-improvement, guided by tangible goals and structured measures of performance.

The first semester, given its brevity and dearth of ambition, will be labelled Semester Zero, and will span the months of July and August. Since it’s the season of cottages, bachelor parties, campgrounds, patios and beaches, I’m taking a light course load: Phys Ed, Ornithographic Studies, and a Directed Reading. Here’s a brief primer on each:

1) Phys Ed.

Everyone loves gym class.

When I traded the lifestyle of a 21-year-old intercollegiate athlete for that of a 40-year-old cube monkey, it started to show. I still looked fine. But I felt my body take its first few tentative steps towards becoming a soft, stiff, creaky, middle-aged fat man.

Fuck that noise. Old age isn’t getting me without a fight.

After a bit of research over the past six months, I decided to embrace some radical changes. I started eating paleo, working out harder, shorter and smarter, and made a few other changes to my lifestyle that I’ll elaborate in subsequent posts. So far, the results have been positive, but I’m not done yet. Pushing my fitness level to near-perfection is going to be a major focus over the next two months.

To track my progress, I’ll be posting a comprehensive review of my diet, exercise, and whatever else I think is relevant every Wednesday. From my wise and impartial commenters, I delegate the task of assigning a letter grade for my weekly performance.

To set a baseline for grading, I will make this week (Wednesday to Wednesday) an example of the perfection to which I will aspire to, and then write out my food, exercise and supplementation schedule in detail.

2) Ornithographic Studies

Bitches be crazy. We gots to study dem.

If I’ve ever given the impression that I’m a master of seduction, it wasn’t deliberate. I’ve always done well with women, but not because I’m a smooth talker. The truth is that it’s hard not to get laid in the western world today, when you’re young, good-looking, and reasonably socially savvy.

The danger of having a bit of natural ability though, is that you use it as an excuse to avoid getting better. A decade of meeting women through my social circle, happenstance and mindless drunken approaches has given me the illusion of mastery. So over the next two months, I’m going to re-learn the fundamentals of game. The first two books on my re-reading list are The Mystery Method and Bang.

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Freedom Twenty-Five readers, what should I add to that? What are your favourite Game blogs and websites? Feel free to pimp your own. I’d also like to start reading other writers who are on similar missions. Got links for me?

3) Directed Readings

It’s hard to exaggerate how badly the mainstream school system has failed my generation. What, you think you’re smart because you read To Kill a Mockingbird in grade 10? Bitch please. I guarantee I have spent more time grappling with the cream of western literature, philosophy and history than 95% of my peers, and I’ve barely scratched the surface.

So where to begin? The task I’m assigning myself over the next two months is to put together short- and long-term reading plans to maximize the wisdom and enjoyment I get from the finite hours I have to read in any given day. I’m currently dog-earing two books that are helping me with this – Harold Bloom’s How to Read and Why and The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. I’ve also previously used Mencius Moldbug as a never-ending source of (contemporarily) obscure treasures.

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So that’s what’s in store for me and this blog over the next two months, along with whatever other random bullshit I feel like spewing out in between – in my imaginary degree as with my real ones, I plan to spend at least as much time engaged in extracurricular activities as not. But the F25 PhD Program will provide structure, focus and tangible, measurable goals to a few key aspects of my life.

Readers, commenters, lurkers and well-wishers here’s what I need from you:

1) I need recommendations. I think I’ve been through the paleo and game blogosphere’s pretty much from ass to elbow, but I’m always looking for new reads. Also, which classic works of literature and philosophy should I move to the top of my list?

2) I want to be surrounded by like-minded people with similar goals and ambitions. Are you working to improve your health, game, and/or ignorance? Let me know in the comments what you’re doing, and how it’s going for you.

3) Continuing from #2, I want as many people along for the ride as possible. When I post something you think is valuable, email it, link to it, post it on facebook and reddit, print it out and tape it to a telephone pole, tweet it if you’re on of those kinds of people. Tell your brahs over beers. I want readers, and more importantly, I want high-quality readers.

4) If you think I and my readers would be interested in your blog, send me an email. I haven’t updated my links in a while, and I want to use this platform to point my readers towards as many useful resources as possible.