Spicy Lifestyle Academy Values

Written on November 3, 2008. Written by .

Evil Empire
Circumventing the establishment.
Photo courtesy of Vermin Inc

The Spicy Lifestyle Academy is the name for a community that we intend to create in order to provide a coherent incentive environment in which we can achieve the lifestyles that we desire. Such a plan is needed because without such an environment, it is too easy to just follow the pack and become a rat-racer who lives paycheck to paycheck and never has the time to work on the things they truly value.

Communities thrive on the coherence of their value systems, and the academy is no different. If members have radically different value systems, the academy will not be able to achieve its purpose because the incentives will be incoherent. If you are trying to start a business, but your housemates are trying to get you to use drugs and tempting you with materialistic pleasures, then the environment is not going to be helping you. Therefore, the academy should be founded with a core set of principles to facilitate the achievement of its stated goal of providing a coherent incentive environment. The more principles the academy declares, the harder it will be to accomodate all the people who want to be members. For this reason, the principles should be kept minimal, serving the purpose of preventing deterioration without superfluous constraints. Below are a few possible principles that target specific dangers that can be found in pre-existing communities.

The danger of becoming like a religion, cult, or secret society. We do not want to promote any form of psychological distortion, hence the Principle of Truth – psychological distortion is bad.

The danger of becoming like a university. We do not want to fall into the trap of valuing prestige and ego more than intellectual honesty like modern universities. Most university professors would rather deceive the whole class than admit that they made an embarassing mistake at the board. And some would present a slanted view of their theory in order to promote it over their rival’s theories. We want to remain bound firmly to the truth, hence the Principle of Integrity – nothing justifies dishonesty in intellectual pursuits.

The danger of becoming like a crack house. We don’t want the members to become complete hedonists who spend all their time playing video games and doing drugs. The theory of flow argues that productive work is more enjoyable and fulfilling than simple pleasures, so anyone who agrees with the theory would avoid allowing such hedonistic behavior to dominate their life. Hence the Principle of Flow – productive work is overall a better deal than hedonism.

The danger of becoming like a normal house. We don’t want to fall into the trap of becoming a big group of rat-racers who spend all their time making money to be used for materialistic reasons. If some members become wealthy before others and started flaunting their money, this would quickly lead to jealousy and an incentive to leave the academy to obtain more money. Hence the Principle of Diminishing Returns – the more money you spend on yourself, the less benefit each additional dollar provides. Rather than spend huge amounts of money on themselves, a spicy lifestyler would more likely reinvest their money in their business, establish a new spicy lifestyle academy site, or provide investment capital to another member.

The danger of becoming like a fraternity. We do not want to force people to conform in any way. The minimal amount of conformity is already ensured by a member’s agreement with the principles and anyone who does not agree with the principles can form a separate academy. Some members will have a higher work ethic than others and they should not scorn those who want to work less. Some members will have different values and interests and this diversity is not only unavoidable, but probably desirable. Therefore we should be accepting of the differences amidst the group and not harass them for their different views, hence the Principle of Autonomy – each member accepts the decisions of the other members without harassment.

Finally there is the question of what should be done when someone is violating the principles. I tend to think that this won’t be a big issue and that it would be best to not worry about enforcement at all. Having a rogue member would probably have negligible cost to the other members unless some kind of illegal activity was involved. These principles could act simply as a filter for applicants rather than as a rule set.

There are also other issues that are more difficult to avoid, but they are probably not lethal to the cause. For example relationships and marriage can be a complicating factor, but they need not prevent the academy from working. Also, there may be a contest between business interests and academic interests, which might need some degree of segregation, but I can also imagine that they could mesh well together. Of course all of these considerations are just preliminary thoughts, subject to debate and modification. Realistically, the initial incarnation of the academy will probably be based more on the principle of “you’re cool, we should live together” than anything else.

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