Self Organized Learning

The 52-point Toolkit for Creativity, Community, and Peak Performance!

The Whole SOL Deck

Are you a Parent, Teacher, or Student?

Would you like excel in all realms of life — while maintaining balance and avoiding overwhelm?

SOL Education gives you the tools to manage yourself and your goals. The Self Organized Learning System enables you to

  1. Make a Plan: Organize your life and your projects (Defeat The Paradox of Choice).
  2. Maintain Flexibility: Allowing your life and plans to adapt and thrive within the unexpected (Anticipate The Unknown, be Antifragile).

Table of Contents

  1. Why learn or plan with playing cards?
  2. Building your own SOL deck of cards
  3. Modular Matrix, Connecting SOL cards to concepts
  4. Cross-Disciplinary Insights
  5. Social SOL
  6. SOL for You
  7. Teaching with SOL
  8. SOL Creativity
  9. SOL Worksheets

1) What Does a Deck of Cards Have to do with Learning or Planning?

A: Cards are more useful than a spread sheet.

[SOL Matrix] You could use this. Or… you could have fun.

SOL was originally created to organize Whole Human Development courses taught at a farm school.

Whole Human Development is founded upon these key concepts:

When you put it all together, you get this:

The SOL Compass includes:

  • 16 Vocational Archetypes
  • Maslow’s 19 Traits
  • The 4 Elements
  • The 4 Essentials
  • The Reason for Being: Maximize (Healthy) Joy, Minimize (unnecessary) Suffering.

Beyond the Compass

While the compass shows the connectivity of all these concepts, the compass is limited in its ability to serve parents, teachers, and students. The compass does not sufficiently demonstrate the dynamic, modular, and tactile nature of Whole Human Development. We needed something different.

2) Luck of the Draw

Building your own SOL Deck of Cards

As luck would have it, a standard deck of cards has

  • 16 face cards
  • 36 number cards
  • 4 suits

Perfect! With these numbers, we are able to assign all of the cards with the components of Whole Human Development. We encourage you to make your own deck, here’s how we did it:

Face=Vocation. Suit=Element.

16 Face Cards=16 Vocational Archetypes

Conveniently, we found that there are face cards which loosely match the vocations. IE: The queens hold flowers which match “healing”, “ecology”, “cultivation”, and “self care”.

It is not necessary, but, in the photo above, each card as a unique symbol to go along with each archetype. IE: A circle containing a level is on the Engineering Card.

Face Card Functions

  • Ace vocations are “Academic” skills.
  • King vocations are “Yang” skills.
  • Queen vocations are “Yin” skills.
  • Jack vocations are “Physical” and “Playful” skills

Suit Symbols

Each suit is modified by simple lines to indicate an element:

  • Heart=Fire. Heat and Passion (Kinetic Learning)
  • Spade=Earth. Food and Plants (Tactile Learning)
  • Diamonds=Air. Shelter and Breath (Aural Learning)
  • Clubs=Water. Hydration and Cycles (Text Learning)

Nine Numbers

Now that you have 16 face card representing the

  • 16 Vocational Archetypes,
  • The Traits of Actualized People, and
  • The 4 Elements representing Life’s Necessities (the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy).

The next step is making number cards which represent 9 Aspects of Life.

9 Numbers. 9 Aspects of Life.

Label Number Cards

Each number represents an essential aspect of life, a color, and a body part:

  • 2=Mechanics and Technology (Silver, Prosthetics)
  • 3=The Environment (Dark Green, Earth)
  • 4=Survival (Red, Base of Spine)
  • 5= Community and Commerce (Orange, Pelvis)
  • 6= Motion and Play (Yellow, Navel)
  • 7= Emotion and Family (Green, Heart)
  • 8= Society and Belonging (Blue, Throat)
  • 9= Intellect and Intuition (Purple, Temple)
  • 10= Spirituality and Contemplation (Gold, Crown of Head)

Most of these cards correspond with a chakra which enables you to connect the SOL system with charts like this one. This is not essential, but it is one example of how any number of cards (nine in this case) can be assigned meaning which enables dozens of cards to represent hundreds of people, places, things, and ideas.

All of this is to create a system which empowers you to compartmentalize the world’s infinite data points into digestible and meaningful categories and manage the Paradox of Choice.

3) Modular Matrix

Modular Matrix fits in your pocket!

Remember the SOL Matrix from above?

Now that you’ve made your own SOL Deck, you have all the components of Whole Human Development and Self Organized Learning in a format that fits in your pocket! Everything is ready to be reconfigured as needed (That’s what “Self-Organization” Means).

What worked for someone else, might not work for you. Heck, even something that has worked for you once before might require some changes over time! SOL and these cards enable you to do that. The cards allow you to make all the components tangible and observable. These elements can be combined or separated as needed.

Want a demonstration? Absolutely!…

16 Vocations, 16 Books

Vocations=Vertical Axis

The “Vocational Archetypes” (represented on the 16 face cards) might seem vague, but one way you may ground them in deeper meaning is to assign a book to each archetype. Take the photo for example:

  1. “Teacher”(Ace of Hearts)= The Schoolyard Wildlife Activity Guide
  2. “Diplomacy”(King of Clubs)= The Biology of Desire
  3. “Exploration” (Jack of Diamonds)= Tom Brown’s Field Guide
  4. “Healing” (Queen of Spades)= Linchpin

Four cards, four books. Now imagine you read one book for every Vocational Archetype. This way, whether you are a parent, teacher, or student… something vivid and tangible comes to your mind, no matter which face card you draw!

9 Aspects, 9 Books

You can do the same thing with number cards:

Numbers=Horizontal Axis
  • Physical” (6 of Clubs)= The 4-Hour Body
  • Intellect” (9 of Hearts)= How the Mind Works
  • Social” (8 of Spades)= Doing Time in the Garden
  • Mechanics” (2 of Diamonds)= The Independent Home

Just appreciate this for a moment:

If you read a book for every every card, you will have read 52 books about all the essential components of human existence! 52! That’s just over 4 books a month! Completely attainable!

Now, I would never tell anyone to stop reading, but imagine if you and everyone else on earth went through their life with at least 52 foundational books informing their thoughts and actions. It would be a first step towards a more peaceful and intelligent world populated with whole, happy, empowered people.

But, let’s not worry about others. How else does this benefit you?

4) Cross-Disciplinary Insights

Material Demo for constructing Mental Matrices.

If we take the guidance of the SOL Matrix, our Vocational cards and books create a “Y” axis while our Number cards and books create an “X” axis.


When you combine insights from two separate fields, you create something rare and valuable. The traditional, “specialists” model encourages people to specialize, learning more and more about less and less. While specialization provides valuable insights into specific subjects… The specialists themselves can miss essential revelations presented within their work because their specialization has limited their perspective, disabling them from noticing some things which would be obvious to novices in other fields. But, with an isolated perspective, their perception is limited.

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail…” The Law of Instrument as stated by Abraham Kaplan

Don’t be a Hammer Head

When you begin to imagine the cards as books and other concepts, you begin to recognize the complementary intersections of information which reveal themselves as you cross-pollinate ideas in this fashion.

Take the photo from above. Intersect a book from the Vocational Column and intersect it with a book from the Aspect Row:

IE: Tom Brown’s Field Guide crossed with How the Mind Works (aka, Jack of Diamonds meets 9 of Hearts).

What does Tom Brown present in his book which adds to the ideas Steven Pinker presents in How the Mind Works? What might you use from Steven Pinker’s book to make you a better explorer trying to use Tom Brown’s Field Guide?

In this exercise, you’ll be forced to think about both resources in a different way. Not only will this provide you with cross-disciplinary insights, it also activates and diversifies all of your neural activity related to these subjects, increasing their accessibility and fortifying your memory.

5) Social SOL

Don’t Stop with Books!

Sure, you could read 52 books. One book for every card. You should! But, the SOL deck is much more than a playful way to explore the library.

Do you Know 16 Embodied Archetypes?

Potentially more important than reading a book for every Vocational Archetype: Knowing 16 different people who each embody the skill and wisdom of their chosen archetype.

For example:

Community Cards

Let’s say you’re the card in the center: “Self-Care” (Queen of Hearts). All those other cards, the 15 surrounding you… do you know at least one person for each of those cards? This exercise doesn’t only help you because it enables to take a social inventory of essential people who you should know… it also allows you to take stock of the resources around you who you might overlook or forget about because of your casual, non-work relationships… Just think, whether you’re parenting, teaching, or learning… can you see the importance of knowing who these 16 people in your life are? (An alternative would involve taking inventory of the 16 businesses which meet these needs for you)

Voc Inventory. People, groups, and businesses which meet your needs.

Human Resources

Whether you’re a parent, a student, a teacher, or a mayor… you depend on these 16 archetypes to maintain your quality of life. Knowing this is not only a helpful guideline for choosing friends, it allows you to structure any team or group in a way which assigns all of these important roles to people ready and capable to fulfill necessary tasks.

How many projects fail because people drop the ball? How many projects fail because of “insurmountable” hurdles consuming the allotted time/resources?

SOL can help you avoid these pratfalls because, when you create a team with SOL, assigning roles is not an amorphous verbal delegation — it is a tangible, physical mantel. You hand the card to the person in charge of those kinds of tasks. As long as they hold the card, they are accountable for that kind of work.

What if you have less than 16 people?

Easy enough. Take a married couple for example. Between two people, they can delegate the 16 vocational responsibilities as they understand them. By no means does this mean that responsibility cannot be shared… but the cards create a tangible marker of accountability. If you have a team of four people, divide your cards accordingly. People can carry as many or as few cards as needed. SOL can help a team to recognize when a member carries a disproportionate burden.

What if you have more than 16 people?

Two options:

  1. Buy enough cards so you can hand out as many cards as needed. IE: if you have 4 Engineers (King of Spades), get four decks of cards, hand each engineer their own King of Spades.
  2. Create vocational “teams” or “committees”, the team lead carries the card while the rest of the team simply operates with the understanding of who their “point person” is.

For example: If you have a team of 256 people (16x16). Your group is poised to have 16 separate teams. Those teams could subdivide with 16 more cards. IE: A 16 person Research Team(Ace of Diamonds) would give their lead researcher 2 Ace of Diamonds. Within the team, the “Healer” (Queen of Spades) could be tasked with monitoring the health of the group, while the “Self-Awareness” (Queen of Hearts) could be tasked with maintaining communications and documentation.

6) SOL for You

We have described using the cards to take inventory of your friends, businesses you depend on, and delegating within a team… But SOL, first and foremost, is a personal development tool. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or student — SOL enables you to take inventory of yourself and balance of these essential components in your life.

Voc Assessment. Gauge your abilities.
Use a line to indicate 1–10
Do the same with an Aspects Inventory

In doing this, by putting this down on paper, you externalize strengths you might undervalue and you also reveal components of yourself which you neglect, areas for improvement.

With this exercise, overtime you can monitor a variety of factors to give you an idea of balance:

  1. Books [Hyperlink to separate worksheets for each]
  2. Individual Activity (hobby)
  3. Social Activity (peer groups)
  4. Work Activity (balancing your work)

Whether you include the 16 vocations in each day or each week, that’s up to you. Now that you have these reference points, you can engineer you days, weeks, and months in a way which challenges your growth areas and utilizes your strengths your unique circumstances allow.


As mentioned, you can use the 16 vocations or the 9 aspects to guide your reading. If you’re a parent, you might use this to inspire a variety of activities for yourself and your children. If you are a student you might use these reference points to guide your course selection — or — you could use these points to challenge your ingrained patterns: Do you always write your papers from the perspective of “Journalist” or “Researcher(Ace of Diamonds)? What if you switched it up and wrote a paper from the perspective of a Farmer (Queen of Clubs) or a Construction Worker (Jack of Clubs)?


2, 4, 9, 16

Josh Kaufman has found that you can become competent in a new skill if you spend 20 hours practicing that skill. His four step process is:

  1. Deconstruct the skill
  2. Know enough to self-correct
  3. Remove barriers to practice
  4. Practice for +20 hours.

Very good. But, what does “skill deconstruction” look like?

Deconstruction involves recognizing INPUTS and OUTPUTS. What goes in? What comes out? Cause and effect. This may seem too simple, but, this baseline is important. Why? Because, often, people take cause and effect for granted. They assume. Association and correlation get blended with CAUSATION.

  • Read books=get smart. Not necessarily true.
  • Workout=get strong. Not necessarily true.

Alright: Looking for input and outputs means questioning your assumptions, looking at things with a beginners mind and testing what happens when you change inputs.

Now that you know to look for inputs and outputs. You can begin further deconstruction. If it helps, I like to think of “deconstruction” as “chunking” which is simply breaking things into parts which make them easier to remember and process.

Let’s say you’re reading a new book; Following Josh’s advice, you want to chunk everything into important and memorable parts. How might you consistently chunk hundreds of pages and dozens of chapters? You could use your SOL deck!

The number cards in your deck are numbered in an order designed to help you establish the basics and then build on top of that. As you read a book, you could stick number cards into the book as those subjects come up. Or, you could write the card number in corner of the page. Eventually, you’ll become so accustomed to deconstructing or “chunking” in this way that it will happen instinctively.

Let’s deconstruct The Independent Home as an example:

  • 2=Mechanics and Technology. What are the mechanical components that make an independent home possible? (you could subdivide them according to element: Air, Water, Fire, Earth)
  • 3=The Environment. What are the environmental factors you need to consider when designing an independent home? (again, you may subdivide according to elements)
  • 4=Survival. Why is an independent home important to your survival? Is an independent home important to the survival of others?
  • 5= Community and Commerce. Who will you need to know and how much money will this cost you?
  • 6= Motion and Play. What are the physical skills necessary to build an independent home? How might you make this process more fun? Could you gamify this project?
  • 7= Emotion and Family. What are the emotional motivations for this project? Fear, joy, principle? Is this important to your loved ones?
  • 8= Society and Belonging. What communities should you join? What groups might help you? What role would you play in those groups?
  • 9= Intellect and Intuition. What complex and historical ideas are important to this project?
  • 10= Spirituality and Contemplation. Is this important to you belief system? Does this project align or conflict with other belief systems?

Tada! You have taken a 281 page book and broken it down into 9 fundamental pieces. By doing this, you have identified the essential components which will enable you to begin and self-correct as you proceed. Additionally, by chunking this project according to the cards, you will begin to associate those tasks with different tasks associated with the same cards. All of this is a simple way of multiplying and diversifying the cognitive hooks you associate with the subject matter which will make it more meaningful and memorable.

Now that you’ve done this with the number cards,

Let’s deconstruct a different book using the Vocational Archetypes (face cards)

16 cards might seem a bit more intimidating than 9. But, I’d encourage you to “chunk” the cards themselves: Notice how they are placed around the book like numbers on a clock. They’ve been divided into quarters (4x4) the same way 12, 3, 6, and 9 divide a clock. Instead of memorizing 16 vocations, you can start by remembering the elements (suits). The elements are arranged around the clock roughly according to their importance to your survival:

  1. The first quarter begins with Air (Diamonds). Air is first because, you will die in about 30 seconds if your air supply is cut off or contaminated.
  2. The second quarter is Water (Clubs). Water is second because, without it you will begin to suffer greatly within a day and die shortly after that.
  3. The third quarter is Fire (Hearts). Although fire can prevent you from cold and help you decontaminate water… fire rests firmly in third position because it is essential. But, after air and water.
  4. The final quarter is Earth (Spades). This is because, while food is important, you can survive up to 30 days without food. Because of this, it is the last element out of the four.
30 seconds, 3 days, 3 weeks, 30 days.

Now, you have a mnemonic to help you organize your cards, as well as the information you encounter in books and other learning experiences.

Additionally, strengthen your memories by associating what you learn with the past, present, and future. IE: “Hunter”, you read about a hunter in the book. Now associate them with a fictional hunter you knew about in childhood, a hunter you know today, and how this information might apply to you or others as they “hunt” in the future.

This is how you might deconstruct Guns, Germs, and Steel using the Archetype cards (work through the cards clockwise, beginning with “Hunting”):

  1. Hunting. Why are you reading this book? Who are the hunters in this book? Are there “good” hunters and “bad” hunters? Who do the hunters remind you of? Do they remind you of the “hunters” you know?
  2. Ecology. AKA: Setting. Where is this taking place? Take notes as you read about various environmental factors? What kind of plants and wildlife are discussed?
  3. Research. Who is this information coming from? Does it seem like scientific research, or opinion? What other subjects might this book apply to? How might you independently verify some of the information in this book?
  4. Exploration. Can you get excited about this book? Instead of viewing it as an assignment, can you shift your perspective in a way which makes reading this material more like experiencing a movie or a video game? How will this subject matter help you in your future adventures? Who are the key explorers discussed?
  5. Business. What kind of money is used in this story? What are the economic components to this information? Are people motivated by food, money, love, or something else? What are the numbers? How many people, what kind of distance, what kind of timeline?
  6. Cultivation. Where is the food coming from? What are people eating? Farmers, hunters, fishing? Are people growing non-edible plants (like tobacco) if yes, why?
  7. Diplomacy. What governments are involved? What are their laws? If people are fighting… how might they have prevented that? What was legal then that is illegal now? When you read about injustice, what does that make you think about in your own life and in current events? How do people outside of military and government affect change?
  8. Construction. What kind of buildings and structures are people using? What are the materials? How did they do this without machines or computers?
  9. Creativity. Is their any mention of art? What about dancing, fashion, or music?
  10. Leadership. Who are the leaders involved? What do you like about them? What would you change?
  11. Self-care. Are the people in the story healthy, or self-destructive? When you read about people behaving so dangerously, is that because of fear, anger, greed, or something else? What could have been done to make the situation more healthy?
  12. Teacher. Who are the teachers in the book? Can people read? How do they share information? Are you learning anything that you would like to discuss with your teacher or friends? What are you learning that you might like to share with others?
  13. Community. What kind of cultures are you reading about? Who, when, where, how much? Hundreds of people, thousands? What were their core values? What were their taboos and fears?
  14. Healing. What did their medicine look like? What kind of sickness was common? What does that make you think about?
  15. Engineering. What kind of problem solving are you learning about? Did people take action to innovate or avoid disaster? What misunderstandings cause people to engineer bad solutions. What kind of engineering do you think could use?
  16. Philosophy. Why did people do these things? What does this mean about you? What are you going to do with this information?

That may seem like a lot, but most of these questions and concepts are embedded in your memory. The cards simply act as prompts to encourage you to “hang” your new information on firm “hooks” which already exist in your mind. You can learn much more about this if you look into cognitive scientist Ed Cooke. Essentially: Most of Cooke’s work reveals how human learning and memory works best when we tie concepts to cuteness, danger, absurdity, vulgarity, sexuality, and beauty. When we make the effort to connect new ideas to these emotionally charged subjects, we “hook” new information to preexisting ideas in a way which supercharges our memory. Furthermore, we can better organize our memories when we connect them to physical locations or important people. This is why SOL uses archetypes, instead of teaching you construct a memory palace, SOL enables you to create a physical/human/emotional catalog which helps you tie new information to people you care about.

Complex Explanation of Simplification


That was a very complex explanation of how you can use SOL Cards and concepts to deconstruct (aka, “chunk”) books and other learning materials in order to simplify learning and accelerate the development of new skills, as described by Josh Kaufman. That brings us to step 3:

3. Remove barriers to practice

Image Credit

A great metaphor for “removing barriers” can be found in the book Switch (How to Change when Change is Hard) by Chip and Dan Heath. It details the process of eliminating physical, mental, temporal barriers while simultaneously creating “positive restraints” and other enforcement systems which make the new behavior (or practicing a skill) easy, hard to avoid, or even mandatory.

Beyond that, you are left to Kaufman’s step four which is simply: Practice at least 20 hours. It’s going to be painful, embarrassing, and intimidating… but if you just give it 20 hours (2 hours/day for two weeks), you’ll break through the initial phase of blunder and begin to experience the competence necessary to make a skill enjoyable and useful.


What does it look like to plan with SOL?

SOL Daily
SOL Monthly
SOL Annually

Once you have taken inventory of your social connections, you can begin to schedule your life in a more conscious way, intentionally shaping a balance best for you. Notice the activities which dominate your schedule. Which activities do you neglect?

  • Healing (Queen of Spades) — have you been to the doctor recently? What about a dentist?
  • Ecology (Queen of Diamonds) — how much time do you spend outside in a week? Really. Measure it.
  • Hunting (King of Diamonds) — No, this isn’t to imply that you need to go kill something. But, how much time have you spent using your whole person to seek, track, and obtain? Simply recognize: for +90% of our human history, people have needed to track, hunt and scavenge, using their minds and their bodies in concert to acquire something elusive, dangerous even. What can you do to activate these mental and physical muscles? Track and follow a bird (you don’t have to catch it). Track and find someone you admire (not in a creepy way — only to say thanks, maybe have a conversation). What about a collectors item? Not that shopping should be confused with “Hunting” but, what is rare and challenging to acquire — physically and mentally? Maybe that is how you exercise your innate hunter.

7) Teaching with SOL

SOL may be a personal development tool “first and foremost”… but it was designed for teachers to help others in pursuit of personal development. Whether you’re a parent teaching your kids at home, a kindergarten teacher, college professor, or an entrepreneur, you can use the concepts and tools of Self Organized Learning to empower the people around you, helping them to actualize themselves, build community, and restore health to ecosystems.

Lesson Planning With SOL

SOL Weekly

Whether planning out a day, a week, or a semester. SOL provides you with a flexible framework which can help you provide your students with patterns and diversity (note: 16 week semester::16 vocational archetypes). This can help you recognize patterns which you already use, intentionally or otherwise, then you can decide whether those patterns are helpful or harmful.

  • Did you know that you spend 80% of your time lecturing and 20% of your time listening?
  • Does your curriculum consistently include 8 vocational tie-ins while neglecting the other 8 vocations?
  • Might you notice that you’ve been discussing the 9 Aspects of the Wellness Wheel all along?

Whatever you do, recognize the patterns you practice intentionally and try to unveil the unintentional consistencies coded within your teaching habits. What are your strengths, what might you improve? Review this with some friends and potentially more important: run this by some of your critics.

SOL Games

While SOL can help you plan ahead, it can also help you organize an activity, even if you’re unprepared.

The cards can help you organize an activity specific to your subject, or you can use them to play any variety of stand-alone SOL games:

Just to name a few.

At their core, the cards work best when you utilize the random pairing of a Vocational Face Card with an Aspect Number Card.

When you pair them in this way, you don’t even need one of our game sheets, the questions, activities, and discussions materialize simply through the act of challenging a Vocation to address an Aspect. For example:

Construction (Jack of Clubs) meets Spirituality (10 of Hearts)

Whether you handed these out to to the students and request individual essays or you deal these pairings out before the class to begin a discussion… the question is: What does Construction have to do with Spirituality and Contemplation?

First, it is important to note: The SOL Deck does not have a “Warrior” or a “Soldier” card. Despite the significance of “Warriors” and “Soldiers” in human history, we didn’t want the SOL system to imply that war, warriors, soldiers, and other archetypes of aggression are necessary parts of human existence. To this point, we embedded the traits of a “Warrior” within the Construction Card (Jack of Clubs). This is not to marginalize the fighter/warrior/soldier, but to challenge players to reevaluate violence: How might the fighter channel their military mind and their physical strength into the construction of physical structures and social systems which prevent the conditions which cause war and aggression in the first place? (The Jack of Clubs alone can stimulate hours — or years of discussion).

So: If the Jack of Clubs is the Warrior turned Builder… What relevance does Spirituality and Contemplation play in their life?

  • You could discuss the architecture for places of worship. Compare across culture the disparate and universal features. Stone? Size? Stained Glass? Ornate Geometric patterns?
  • What kind of mathematical patterns are important and common in constructing spiritual buildings?
  • What does the construction of religious buildings have to do with violence and aggression?
  • What kind of buildings have significance to Agnostic or Secular People?
  • What are existential problems related to construction?
  • What are the various cultural methods of funding and organizing the construction of a worship building?
  • How do structures mimic nature? How do structures mimic human fantasy?
  • How can fighter re-purpose their skills and their motivations for building? Why would they do this?

You get the idea. Two cards, infinite subject matter. Whether your a science teacher or a math teacher, you can guide the intersection of Vocational Archetypes and Life Aspects in a way relevant to your class at the time. The freedom within the structure gives your students a greater sense of autonomy and self-direction, which improves engagement, while the diverse and emotionally charged subject matter gives them more “somatic markers” which will help them recall and utilize your course material into the future.

SOL Assessment

Beyond using the cards to plan your courses or to inspire discussion, you can also use the self-assessment methods we’ve already mentioned to help yourself gain a whole human perspective regarding your students. Not only will this help you learn about their strengths and biases, you can also help them gain an awareness which will not only improve their school performance, but general well being and health.

8) SOL Creativity

Have you ever read The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse (author of Siddhartha and Steppenwolf)? The book is about a game which involves an abstract synthesis of all arts and sciences. It requires players to make deep connections between seemingly unrelated topics.

The Glass Bead Game played a significant role in inspiring this Self Organized Learning System and its various uses. I bring it up in this chapter about creativity because the story’s main character, after becoming the most esteemed glass bead player, is impressed with the importance that intellectuals and the players of this game should recognize their responsibilities and apply their abilities beyond academic ivory towers. They should practice, not only physical application of their knowledge, but also the creative and playful self-expression.

Mental, Physical, and Creative

In a world, and more specifically a culture, where there are high boundaries established to divide people according to their vocation, personality, and physical prowess. You are presented with the opportunity to unify your intellect with your physical skills in a way which will inspire others to do the same. This is important not only because it will fulfill you, but it will also demonstrate the wealth available to all of us when we refuse to cloister ourselves via labels or professions. “Dork”, “Artist”, “Jock” — “White Collar”, “Creative”, “Blue Collar”.

Humans. We are all intellectual, emotional, and physical beings. We are all endowed with the abilities necessary to excel all areas, in our own, unique (self-organized) way. As a teacher once told me: “We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have the innate capacity for brilliance”. So, as you read about how you might use SOL to inspire you in your creative pursuits, I’d also like for you to think about how your creative pursuits will inspire others. Inspire others to break down the barriers divided them from their essential selves. Inspire others to overcome the silly cultural boundaries that encourage them to isolate, segment, avoid, and judge. Allow your creativity to empower people so they may become their whole selves. How might your work empower entire communities to reach out and work with one another, seamlessly? This is what it means to be a culture maker. No matter your art, every day you are given opportunities to cultivate the art of interaction. How will you change the world today?

Using SOL for Art

The Elements of Story

No matter your style, the SOL Cards are full of the elements necessary for a compelling piece.

Look at the diagrams to the left. Sure, these tools are great for writers. You could simply draw one of these diagrams and then randomly draw SOL cards to place at various spots on each diagram. Allowing Archetypes and Aspects sh

SOL Inventory Workbook

[separate Doc. PDF for all the variations of inventory]

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.