Sequence of Questions and Talks
A Theological, Philosophical, Psychological and Sociological Model of Unlimited Personal Growth
Summary (2,000 characters)
Dr. Kulikauskas considers: How to nurture an alternative culture of independent thinkers? Since 1982, by way of hundreds of investigations, he has developed a comprehensive philosophy which fosters, here and now, an attitude of learning, growing and living forever.
He seeks financial support for three years to establish his philosophy as a practice of inquiry.
A unifying theme in Dr.Kulikauskas's work is unlimited personal growth. He thinks of this as learning, as growing in understanding. This includes first-hand understanding of theology and philosophy by exploring the limits of one's imagination. It also includes first-hand understanding of psychology and sociology by empathizing with people in the widest variety of real life experiences. He seeks to formulate a model which makes sense theologically, philosophically, psychologically and sociologically. Such a model may then serve as the basis for a new culture.
Objective and tasks (2,000 characters)
Since 1982, by way of hundreds of investigations, Dr.Kulikauskas has developed a comprehensive philosophy which fosters an attitude, here and now, of learning, growing and living forever.
His goal is to communicate his philosophy as a practice of inquiry:
Originality and relevance of the tasks being addressed (4,000 characters)
Dr. Kulikauskas asks: What makes for an alternative culture of independent thinkers? He wishes to nurture a culture much like Lord Baden-Powell created Scouting, Bill and Dr.Bob founded Alcoholics Anonymous, and Jonas Basanavičius inspired the Lithuanian independence movement.
Dr.Kulikauskas's research is defining how his envisaged culture runs counter to many assumptions in society and academia.
Society assumes that all adults are of equal maturity. Dr.Kulikauskas has documented stages in the growth of independent thinkers. Hundreds of mature thinkers have provided unique answers to his questions: What is your deepest value in life? What is a question to which you seek an answer?
Psychologists such as Maslow distinguish an ultimate state of maturity such as self-actualization. Instead, Dr.Kulikauskas is fostering a culture where independent thinkers, much like Socrates, can ever grow to live with more questions and fewer assumptions. Such an attitude distills one's self as one's deepest value which points one ever beyond what one knows.
Many insist, "All truth is relative." But then such an absolute statement must be false. Not all truth is relative, and so there must be absolute truth. Dr.Kulikauskas has taken the concept of Everything as a starting point for absolute truth. He will document and share in his Overview a metaphysics of dozens of conceptual structures that he has observed in his investigations. Many are based on divisions of Everything, for example, into two perspectives for considering existence (inquiring & answering), three perspectives for a cycle of participation (take a stand, follow through, reflect) and four perspectives as levels of knowledge (whether, what, how, why). Independent thinkers with very different values may yet share a conceptual language.
Many conclude, "Great questions have no answers." Dr.Kulikauskas organizes workshops to show how to investigate any question to one's satisfaction. A very fruitful method is 1) existential: formulate the question so that we care, 2) phenomenological: recall examples from our personal experience, 3) conceptual: organize the examples into categories which capture their essence 4) structural: organize the categories into a self-standing structure 5) pragmatic: apply the structure as a real-life model to answer the question.
Many suppose they can discover wisdom within a sheltered academic environment. Dr.Kulikauskas draws on his childhood quest to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully, his living in distraught Black American neighborhoods of Chicago, teaching "fighting peacefully" in Israeli-occupied Palestine, finding and serving clients for his Internet laboratory, falling in love in an enlightened Lithuanian village, challenging friends to take up their questions, living life as thousands of experiments, and adding a new insight to his philosophy every day.
Many insist that God is beyond our reach (Heidegger) or that spiritual heights must be mystical (Ken Wilbur) or that we must rely on God's purposes (Rick Warren). Dr.Kulikauskas interacts with God by ever imagining God's point of view. If God is not cruel, then there is validity to what we imagine, especially what helps us live on the edge. And we rely on our own imagination to participate in God's investigation: Is God necessary?
Theological or philosophical models are rarely tested in psychology and sociology. The dialogue between the Dalai Lama and psychologist Paul Ekman is atypical. Dr.Kulikauskas is keen to challenge his own theory with data from surveys about cigarettes, e-cigarettes and marijuana. Such large surveys are typically used to consider trends in usage, but they also provide information about behavior, intentions, beliefs, circumstances, friends and peers. Dr.Kulikauskas will use them to explore a gradient of susceptibility of individual minds with respect to a "group mind". He hopes to show that drug use is an escape from growing as an independent thinker.
Project content and the work plan (6,000 characters)
Indicate the research methodology (methods), projected course of the works, in case an interim report is submitted – draw up a milestone project implementation plan dividing the work of the plan into two stages – Stage I – from the beginning of the project until the submission of the interim report, and Stage II – from the submission of the interim report until the end of the project, provide detailed calendar plan of every Stage; indicate the principal equipment and/or the data resources; identify possible risk and provide for its management plan – provide alternative ways to achieve the aim of your Project
Dr.Kulikauskas's plan is develop both theory and practice in fostering a culture of independent thinkers. He will, in parallel:
The four tasks above are listed in order of priority. The greatest risks to the project come from disturbing this order. Dr.Kulikauskas must assure himself that his philosophy is truly integral. He is writing a personal Overview for himself, in his native language, Lithuanian. He can at some future date rewrite it in English, but meanwhile can share it with those Lithuanian-speakers wishing to work personally with him. He must regularly organize workshops to encourage local circles of investigators in Vilnius, Klaipėda and the countryside. This will help him develop a Handbook which he can use with the English-speaking students he teaches at VGTU. Meanwhile, he needs to reach out around the world in English to discover which of his findings would be valued in other countries as academic talks and papers. This will help him communicate effectively. Finally, he can push himself further by looking for patterns in tobacco survey data by which he might bridge the chasm between theology-philosophy and psychology-sociology. This may lead to entirely new insights.
COMPLETE His most important deliverable is thus to write up a roughly 300 page Overview of his conclusions from hundreds of investigations he has undertaken. He has organized the Overview into 12 chapters:
His key challenge is to complete for chapter 9) his metaphysical conceptual language. His current work on behavior and morality is uncovering the dynamics of three conceptual languages: argumentation (how concerns arise), verbalization (how words get meaning) and narration (how events happen). By March 2018, he will be able to write-up his solutions or the outstanding technical challenges. He will thus have one year to write up his Overview by April 2019. He will be assisted by a graduate student who will research how his system relates to others in Western, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Islamic and Judaic philosophy.
INSPIRE In December 2016, Dr.Kulikauskas started organizing monthly four-hour workshops on how to investigate one's question. The first workshops in Vilnius (How to affect a person positively?) and Klaipėda (How do our concerns develop?) were attended, on average, by 9 people, mostly professors, teachers and graduate students. Preparing, conducting and documenting a workshop takes roughly one day. Dr.Kulikauskas will be assisted by two organizers and a videographer. At VGTU, he also led a Philosophy discussion section by helping his students investigate their questions. Such will be his minimal teaching duties. All of this activity is highly productive and yields excellent insights for the Handbook.
DISCOVER Giving talks and writing papers can be pursued as a social networking challenge. The goal is to share findings in a way that resonates both personally and with some academic community. Dr.Kulikauskas's preemptive risk strategy is to be active online at archives (philpapers.org, arxiv.org) and help forums (stackexchange.com), to email academics with similar interests, and to submit abstracts to events (philevents.org). In 2013-2017, he gave 12 talks on aspects of his original philosophy at Lithuanian conferences. In 2017-2020 he will easily give another 12 talks in Lithuania, but more importantly, give 12 talks in other countries. He is currently submitting abstracts, and so expects his first talk in October 2017, and then one talk every 2 months, with 9 talks by April 2019. This will help him meet people who can direct him to the most receptive academic journals. He plans to expand on talks he gave in Lithuania to publish 12 papers. He expects his first paper to be published in July 2018, and then every two months, with 5 by April 2019. Additional topics include his theory of narration, taxonomy of paradox, and the relevance of his metaphysics for category theory (exact sequences, Yoneda lemma, Snake lemma, Bott periodicity).
TEST His 12th paper will relate his theory of behavior and morality to his analysis of survey data on the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and marijuana. In particular, he is familiar with the California Tobacco Survey of 50,000 students, in which a 1% subgroup is 500 students! He will align subjects along various gradients such as the degree to which their beliefs are pro-smoking or anti-smoking, or whether all, most, some or no friends smoke, and also group subjects hierarchically, for example, never smokers, former smokers and current smokers. By considering unusual groups, such as "nonsmokers whose friends all smoke" or "smokers, none of whose friends smoke", he will tease out the impact of behavior, intentions, beliefs, circumstances, friends and peers. By April 2019 he will know whether he will be able to publish a positive or negative result, and whether he should forego further research.
Publication (dissemination) of the expected results of the project, planned production
The scientific competence of the project leader and other principal project implementators, and the substantiation of the composition of the group of the principal project implementers (4,000 characters)
Dr.Kulikauskas's deepest value is living by truth. His dedication and ambition before God are matched by profound skills as a thinker, writer and organizer. He lives and inspires excellence. Dr.Kulikauskas is one of the best educated scientists in Lithuania, with Bachelor degrees in Math and Physics from the University of Chicago in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California, San Diego in 1993, as well as a year of independent study in Philosophy with Dr. R.Pavilionis at Vilnius University in 1988-1989 during Lithuania's Independence movement. He has also taken graduate level classes in syntax, automata theory and Kant's philosophy.
He is a relentlessly original, independent researcher. His 12 talks in 2013-2017 were based on challenges he tackled over the years:
This is just a sample of some of the 200 imaginative investigations he has noted in his database of Ways of Figuring Things Out.
Although he has published few academic papers, he is a successful writer. As a social entrepreneur he won 5 travel grants to give presentations, including at the MIT Media Lab Think Cycle conference in Bangalore, India, for his paper, "An Economy for Giving Everything Away". Chris Messina cited that paper as a key inspiration in founding the worldwide BarCamp movement of unconferences.
Ultimately, his goal is to inspire deeply personal, creative investigation. He has assembled a supportive team:
Contribution into the project by project partners and cooperation of the implementing institutions (3,000 characters)
Dr. Shu-Hong Zhu is a pioneer in the use of telephone counseling for tobacco cessation. He is the Director of CRITC, California Smokers' Helpline and Asian Smokers' Quitline. 100 people work for him to help tens of thousands of people to quit smoking. His centers are worldwide leaders in developing such services. Moreover, Dr. Zhu is a creative scientist whose high standards yield results of philosophical significance. Overall, does counseling actually help? This is not a trivial question! The case of smoking, however, presents very measurable outcomes. Smokers who try to quit either succeed or fail. Of those who quit smoking for one day, how many will manage to not smoke for an entire year? The answer was 4.1% for the control group, which did not receive counseling, and 7.5% for those who did receive counseling. Health politics required that those who did not initially receive counseling still have the opportunity to call again to receive it. The experiment had to be designed to factor out an analogous "virtual" group from those who did initially receive counseling. Ultimately, the unusually large number of participants - 3,279 - enabled Dr.Zhu and his team to report in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine that counseling definitely did help. This example illustrates the wealth of data and subtle experimental design needed to definitively conclude that counseling truly helps. Dr.Kulikauskas has worked remotely (by Skype and email) for Dr.Zhu since 2012 as a writing consultant. Dr.Kulikauskas synthesizes literature, analyzes data and statistics, provides comments on special tobacco control topics and edits papers. Dr.Zhu and UCSD will provide access to surveys such as the California Tobacco Survey, which asks roughly 50,000 youths some 200 questions. They will help with statistical questions and theoretical questions in psychology and public health. They will also critique drafts of Dr.Kulikauskas's papers inasmuch as they make use of their surveys. Dr.Kulikauskas is applying his skills as a database programmer and data analyst to tease out the relationships between behavioral gradients (such as how intensely one smokes) with binary choices (such as whether one intends to quit and whether one has set a date). He will look for the degree to which an individual stands out from any particular subpopulation. As a philosopher, he will explore, model and test related ideas about human behavior and morality: how people learn to take responsibility for the boundary between their own mind and the "group mind"; how participation in multiple subcultures fosters independent thinking; how listening to our moods helps us grow by reflecting on our beliefs under different emotional circumstances, whereas drugs have us escape our moods and align with our peers.
This partnership is meaningful to VGTU as a technical university because it shows how philosophy, psychology and sociology can make excellent use of mathematics, statistics and computer science.
The international dimension of the project and the experience of the project implementors in the area of international cooperation (4,000 characters)
Dr.Kulikauskas's proposal places Lithuania at the center of a culture of independent thinkers around the world. His upbringing as a Lithuanian nationalist has inspired his wish to assemble a nation of independent thinkers, very much in the spirit of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount. Dr.Kulikauskas was born in a Lithuanian family in California in 1964. He exercised his right to Lithuanian citizenship in 1998. Thus his love of the Lithuanian language, his participation at Lithuanian conferences and his life in the Lithuanian countryside all naturally contribute to Lithuania's integration into the broader world. His current proposal is much inspired by Minciu Sodas, his online laboratory by which he served and organized independent thinkers around the world from 1998-2010. Minciu Sodas means "The Orchard of Thoughts" as participants came to learn. These Lithuanian words adorn the Wikipedia in Kiswahili, the XML for Topic Maps Authoring Group, the Blogging Positively guide for addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and hundreds of online projects around the world. Minciu Sodas was a showcase of practical philosophy: Online working groups were based on leaders' deepest values: F.Nahrada, Vienna - optimal interplay (global villages), J.Feldman, Rhode Island - holistic helping (Africa), P.McLean, London - learning from each other (distance learning), J.Rogers, Wales - participatory society (community currency), S.Kongere, Kenya - motivation through sacrifice (development), A.Anusauskiene, Lithuania - acting ever more broadly (activism), E.Hurn, Wales - fighting peacefully (nonviolence), S.Bosserman, Ohio - social agriculture. Minciu Sodas organized the spectacular Pyramid of Peace: 100 peacemakers on-the-ground and 100 online assistants who Dr.Kulikauskas trained in nonviolent engagement to avert genocide in Kenya in 2008. Dr.Kulikauskas was one of 16 winners out of 1,000 applicants for the Knight News Challenge Award. He won $15,000 to blog weekly at the PBS website IdeaLab about his idea for Africa, the Includer. Minciu Sodas's team from Serbia, Kenya, Israeli-occupied Palestine, Missouri, Nigeria, India, Cameroon and Lithuania organized "My Food Story", a collection of 2,000 food stories, for $24,000, as a pilot project for UnaMesa Association in Silicon Valley. Dr.Kulikauskas created an import/export format for software tools for organizing thoughts, funded by TheBrain and MindManager. He also organized in Vilnius the workshop "Ethical Public Domain: Debate of Questionable Practices" for the EU thematic network COMMUNIA. Minciu Sodas served 30 clients by organizing teams of independent thinkers working openly on projects yielding Public Domain content or open source software Ultimately, Minciu Sodas failed as a business. It's culture was too weak, but even so, was quite remarkable. The focus on deepest values and investigatory questions made it possible for independent thinkers to work together openly, in the Public Domain, with integrity. Dr.Kulikauskas has since focused on the theoretical framework for his philosophy, his Overview. He has also worked to establish himself as an academic, as with this proposal. His 12 academic papers, including on tobacco control, may well generate interest, and certainly Dr.Zhu is very supportive for this and future projects. The budget includes travel to UCSD near the beginning and near the end. Dr.Kulikauskas will maximize opportunities there, as well as in his travels to the 10 other destinations where he will give talks. However, the most remarkable outcome will be a local circle of investigators who enjoy investigating their questions, helping each other at workshops, making use of the Handbook, and sharing a conceptual language, which the Overview will describe. If Dr.Kulikauskas and his team learn how to inspire local activity, then the Handbook will inspire a global following, much like Lord Baden-Powell's book, "Scouting for Boys".
Research conducted by and the resulting scientific and/or technological production obtained by the project leader and other principal project implementers
List the research projects implemented by the principal project implementers in the course of the past five years or currently in progress, indicating the names of the projects or themes, implementation time limits, funding sources, estimated values, published (accepted for publication) publications of the results obtained as a result of the implementation of the projects and/or the resulting technological production (in case of an identical information about several implementers, the information does not need to be repeated, but rather summarised); explain in what way the output intended under the current project is different from that produced previously, also indicate whether the research envisaged by the project does not duplicate a completed or ongoing research (including the proposals already submitted)
In 2013-2017, Dr.Kulikauskas worked as a writing consultant for Dr.Zhu and the University of California, San Diego. He helped Dr.Zhu write papers in tobacco control. These papers considered what conclusions for public policy can be drawn from trends in prevalences for cigarettes, e-cigarettes and marijuana.
University rules prohibited Dr.Kulikauskas from being a coauthor on papers because independent contractors may not be paid to do research.
Dr.Kulikauskas spent hundreds of hours analyzing two surveys, the UCSD Smoking Study of some 10,000 adults and the California Tobacco Survey of some 50,000 middle and high school students. He considered many theoretical questions which he discussed with Dr.Zhu but which led beyond the latter's priorities as Director of the Center for Research and Interventions in Tobacco Control.
The current project offers Dr.Kulikauskas the opportunity to apply this wealth of data to the study of philosophical questions in human behavior and morality.
Additional information (2,000 characters)
Dr.Kulikauskas is remarkably qualified to establish a comprehensive philosophy for learning, growing and living forever. His deepest value is "living by truth" and that allows him to engage God as an equal and as a child.
Since childhood, Dr.Kulikauskas has dedicated himself to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully. As a six-year-old, he engaged God: Give me the freedom to think whatever I need to - whether you exist or not, are good or not - and I will always believe in you.
He is an all-around genius. In childhood, his IQ was measured at 174. He excelled as a chess master. He is a website, database and mathematics programmer. He has expressed his philosophical ideas with 7 large art shows in Vilnius and Chicago. He cycles, swims, rows and hikes. He falls deeply in love.
His personal qualities are those essential for a philosophy of absolute truth.
His extreme integrity allows him to declare that "God does not have to be good", "Life does not have to be fair" and argue that such a broader mindset is necessary to truly appreciate reality and thereby personally grow.