- Robert MacLeod
Hello World. I have finally decided to share my thoughts about certain matters more widely and this blog is the forum in which I have chosen to do it. I have now come to think that there is no longer any doubt that we will be collectively facing some tough times ahead. Opinions vary about what that means and just how tough these tough times may be. But, I believe that most people now perceive, however dimly, the truth of this proposition, although I also see some people going to increasing lengths to deny their emerging awareness of the situation. Nevertheless, I have been thinking about this possibility for a very long time and I find the arguments that deny the likelihood of tough times ahead to be delusional and uninteresting.
Consequently, if you, dear reader, will allow me my premise, it raises the question of how people will be able to survive and prosper through these tough times. And, I have only one answer – in groups. This statement will likely immediately lead to some controversy. However, I am actually happy to engage in discussing the fine points of the arguments along the way because many people are just now waking up to the reality of tough times ahead and it is really hard to increase your awareness in this way. Although, if I am allowed the conceit of maintaining that people are going to have to band together and form new kinds of groups in order to negotiate increasingly tough times, then the question that I personally find much more interesting is raised. That is the question of how such groups of people might be most effectively structured and organized in order to allow them to prosper in a much more fragmented and local world.
What prompts me to begin to share my thoughts more widely now is that I finally think I have an answer to that question. Moreover, my answer is that, in general, the future is the past. As we collectively face tough times ahead I propose that the formation of new versions of older forms of community and social organization will offer the best chance of prospering, while preserving the most worthwhile aspects of contemporary life. Furthermore, I maintain that the best chance of achieving this goal of negotiating the expected tough times ahead will be to form secular, cloistered communities organized along the lines of a monastic order. This presupposes, however, that an integral part of this solution will be that the cloistered orders will need to be a part of a larger community that is located outside the gates of their group. Each part of the community would thereby be relieved of the task of fulfilling all of the functions of maintaining some degree of civilized life on their own and may instead enjoy the benefits that accrue to those maintaining relatively complicated social and cultural institutions and relationships.
Why is this blog attached to the pages of Ironwood Sword School?
Well for one, that is the website I maintain and this is what I can manage. But, more importantly, I remain convinced that, like the monks of the Shaolin Temple, one tradition that any future cloistered order will need to maintain is martial arts training – both for the internal discipline it fosters and for the potential defence of the cloister. As a HEMA practitioner and teacher already, I guess I am just working things backward from a school of period swordfighting to an organization that would support such a school as an integral part of its existence.
Consequently, I present to you for your entertainment and edification. . . The Cloister Initiative.