Ah!Wake - The Thinking Person's bootcamp

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Course Outline*

Day 1: Unlearning

Things are Worse than We Know

The problems that plague our world are interconnected, unsolvable through present mindsets and processes, and fast approaching a perfect storm in a way that many of us are not conscious of. If we can ever hope to solve these problems, we need to find new ways of thinking and engaging with ourselves, and our communities. In this segment, we provide participants with the cultural, political and ecological context that Ah!Wake is inspired by.

The Human Brain

The human brain is the only tool we have to process the world around us. Yet, we have very little knowledge of what happens inside our own brains. Here, we teach participants how the brain operates and how we develop our ways of seeing and engaging. What happens in our brain when we are overcome by emotions? What part of the brain is responsible for planning and logic? How much of our brains did we use when we studied for the examination, when we made a life changing decision or when we fought with our spouse?


Our own specific beliefs, biases, value judgments, attitudes and feelings form the lenses through which we see the world. Our lenses are an accumulation of various influences that we have had over our lives. They help us make sense of the world and the roles we play in it. In this segment, participants have the chance to become conscious of their own lenses, and learn ways to 'correct' them. Unlearning is the first step, and one of the most crucial, in the process of any genuine learning, leave alone transformation.


Day 2: Transformation


Our only chance of bringing the world back from the brink is transformation. However, we cannot transform the whole planet of 7 billion people all at once, if at all. Those of us who have had lived lives of privilege by virtue of birth, social class, education and the opportunities that have come with it have a unique responsibility to change first. As the old saying from the sixties goes - if we are not part of the solution we are part of the problem. It requires us to radically shift our mindsets, challenge ourselves and open ourselves up to the possibility of turning our worlds inside out. This is easier said than done.

Critical Thinking

Very few of us, ever, really think. Even fewer of us Think Critically. Most often we worry, feel, obsess, dream, brood, rationalize and justify. Critical Thinking is a distinct, specialized and disciplined process based on complex reasoning and on our being able to discern real evidence from fake. It is largely dependent on our ability to ask the right questions. A Critical Thinker is not only conscious of what she is thinking, but how she is thinking. Here, participants get a taste of what this would look like. They will also learn principles and techniques to help them embark on the process of developing themselves as Critical Thinkers.


Day 3: Critical and Creative Thinking

Critical Thinking- contd.
Creativity and Imagination

Creativity is a process of creating original ideas that have value. It allows us to imagine what does not exist right now. Chances are, we may have been creative when we were very young. Unfortunately, our education and social conditioning have forced us to stop drawing unsettling squiggles and start drawing reassuring straight lines. It is important that we shed our inhibitions and allow ourselves the freedom to explore our own creative genius. Our ability to make any real difference in the world is limited unless we do so.


Day 4: Identity and Sensibilities


Identities are complex. We craft the idea of our 'self' based on a number of different factors that we are not even wholly clear about. We can drift through our entire lives without any robust understanding of who we really are. This has a direct bearing on the roles we play in our lives and in the world. In this segment, we explore the notion of identity and equip participants with some frameworks to understand themselves at a deeper level.

Re-Visiting our Sensibilities

Our ability to distinguish between beauty and ugliness, the tasteful and the disgusting comes from the ways in which we have developed our sensibilities. Some of this is a part of our ‘evolutionary DNA’, the rest is cultivated though experience and even careful nurturing. A coarse and ‘practical’ sensibility limits our ability to see the complexity in the world and even ourselves. It is important for us to transcend the limitations of this 'practical' sensibility and open ourselves up to experiencing and discerning more from the world.


Day 5: Engagement and Collaboration


All engagement is an attempt to break through the void of detachment and disconnectedness. It is a radical act of intimacy. To address our problems in this inter-connected world it is essential that we engage with others - especially those we disagree with. How do we do this? What are the challenges or the costs?


Societies can only be transformed if we, as individuals, transform ourselves. However, substantial change in society requires us to collaborate with others. The act of collaboration requires both of us to cast aside our separate identities and create a new joint self- at least for the duration of the collaboration. Many people and societies are naturally more competitive than collaborative and hence do not have effective knowledge or skills to be collaborative. In this segment, you experience the challenges and the joys of doing so.


How can we take the learning from this back to our homes, to work and to your communities? How can we support each other? How can we ensure that learning does not stop when the course ends?


Download the course outline here Ah!Wake Course Outline

* Please note: this was the course outline for the Ah!Wake conducted from the 3rd to the 6th of July, 2014. While the basic structure will remain intact, the specifics of the course outline may change for future programs.

Inquiry Form*

Do you have any questions for us? Please feel free to fill in the form below, and we will get back to you at the earliest!

You can also email us here: rachana@meta-culture.in


Management of differences
is tough work. It requires us to move away from easy platitudes about love, peace and unity in diversity. Genuine Dialogue, Mediation and Consensus Building are radical notions for addressing the ills of our country and the planet. They require hard work, effective processes and skilled facilitation. Romanticizing and waxing eloquent about peace and harmony will delude us to the complexity of negotiating the tough differences that beset
our society.