Building an Optimistic Future

Michael Strong
4 min readApr 16, 2023

I derive immense joy from creating schools where children love to learn and nurture a positive culture. Every day I see young people becoming happier and better at so many things. It keeps me young and spiritually nourished.

So many people are unhappy. I’d like to share how to have a joyful life.

  1. Creators need freedom in order to develop new and better ways of doing things. They need to be able to try out new ways of doing things and see what works. Where is the beauty? Where is the love? Where is the joy?
  2. Building new schools is hard. The first year is brutal. The second year is very hard, just a step above brutal. It is only in the third year that it becomes merely very challenging. One needs to be sure one is building something valuable for the long haul in order to make it worth it. We need to allow people to build things in which they can have some confidence that the work will last. Hard work is worth it if one has something substantial to show for it at from the resulting effort.
  3. The most important work in creating new educational institutions is creating new subcultures. Children in indigenous cultures had tremendous agency — they were actively involved in play and exploration in nature, they were actively involved in imitating adult hunter/gatherer activities — if not substantially doing valuable work in their communities. Our society, since the global domination of the Prussian educational model, now forces the vast majority of children into a position of passivity and submission (and for teens, this often includes humiliation). This model is profoundly damaging. Idealistic people of all sorts need to be developing new agency-centric models of education.
  4. Subcultures must be created voluntarily. No one should be forced to be part of a community they do not want to be part of. These voluntary communities will be able to develop a deep alignment with respect to ideals, heroes, norms, traditions, rituals, and humor (what is funny and what is sacrilegious is an important boundary).
  5. In order to create educational subcultures that allow us to manifest that which is good, true, and beautiful as we see it, we need to allow others to do the same. We need to be broadly tolerant, rather than righteously intolerant of cultural difference. We should…

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Michael Strong

Founder, The Socratic Experience, socraticexperience.com, a virtual school 4 innovators and original thinkers,author The Habit of Thought and Be the Solution.