Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Trade Shoes With a Stranger

Here's an idea for a school I've never heard of before.

The best math professors assign problem sets such that solving problem n requires you learn skills needed to solve problem n+1. I think this is obviously the best way to learn math. In my experience, the vast majority of things worth learning are best learned in this way as well.

Suppose you took on a problem set that looks something like this:

  1. Trade shoes with a stranger.
  2. Cause a mariachi band to play at the corner of First and Main at 4PM on Saturday.
  3. Cause a group of at least five strangers to cross the street together while skipping.
  4. Cause at least twenty people in a mall foodcourt to dance the macarena together.
  5. Build a pillow fort the size of a basketball court in Central Park (without using money).
  6. Cause a silent rave to happen at all 12 Big Ten universities simultaneously.
The above problem set isolates "coordination of arbitrary groups of humans". Related skill sets are "fundraising", "meme propagation", and "bureaucratic navigation". Problem 6 almost certainly requiers medium-level delegation, but you'd probably want an entire problem set just for delegation. Once you've got all of those, you've unlocked problems like "run a successful political campaign".

I've been thinking about how to transfer apparent superpowers from one person to another. I'm pretty sure this is the correct approach. I'm also envisioning a pretty kick-ass domain general leveling-up training program.


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