Learning to be

What does it take to preserve authenticity & nurture ingenuity?


This is a part of a series of posts where we talk about our micro-scale, deep-impact work leading up to our grand vision towards building the next Nalanda - A school, university and a glacier for culture, philosophy, math, art and science.

This series focuses on one aspect of our work. Possibilities and outcomes if and when we are ready to give ourselves permission to rethink, without resorting to shortcuts, what it means to learn. You may want to read our previous posts first, for context.

Nalanda University

Material Design

Back in 2014, Google introduced Material Design, a design language or to be specific, a set of standards and user interface principles for the web.

During that time, Google was neither known to be a design powerhouse nor had any products that showcased jaw-dropping design. The guidelines, however, were extremely well specified and covered many of the use-cases for the modern web. A lot of plugins for web developers used those principles and it became, and to a large extent still is, the de-facto design language for the web.

Material you light

Why did Google, an Ad company, release a massive set of design guidelines? It is not hard to guess as their Ad revenue comes from search and their search product is better if they can tag the content they index well. If the websites are in “standard form” it becomes easier to index the content.

Before material design, when you visited a startup web page or any of the websites, you will be surprised at-least once in few tens of visits. Fast forward a few years, the entire web looks absolutely the same. Fast forward to now, AI can generate entire websites given natural language specifications.

Web-design, once a breeding-ground for radically cool visual layouts is now a dump-yard of boilerplate content that AI can auto-generate.

Standard Humans

What does material design have to do with learning? Well, you can probably see where this is heading. A standardized education system produces mostly “standard” humans - all keyed-in to contribute to the economic engine with highly specialized labor.

There are a few who keep their authentic sprit because of a super-hero teacher, a great friends group or exceptional parenting.

Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour 2

This has served us well during the course of industrial revolution and the computational age which has been a slightly more comfortable and lucrative extension.

However, in the upcoming age of intelligence, one of both abundance and scarcity, standardized humans are sub-standard, easily replaced by an AI agent or a few agents coupled with some guided robots.

What we need in large quantities are high-agency creative polymaths that can look at a large set of possibilities, problems and find intricate ways to connect them. What we need are free-thinking individuals that can work alone or in groups to tackle problems of large scale having at their disposal reasoning machines and executing robots.

Logic Gates

We are excited to showcase our learner’s next production. A walkthrough of Logic Gates that you can play, explore and learn.

A set of mini-games in Minecraft

Walk through the Quigate Colony, role-playing a medieval gig worker, completing delightful quests and collecting coins.

Mini Games

Not just games

Behind those games are complex circuitry for decision making, execution and game logic; all built with foundational logic gates, command blocks and other dynamic contraptions - with Minecraft redstones powering the decision making.

The circuitry is well-labeled and spaciously designed and can be explored as part of the game. When you complete a quest, you are given a honorary key to the engine room to explore the circuitry behind it.

Engine Room

Learner becomes the teacher

The mini-games come with an extensive SocratiQ exploration to learn Logic Gates in detail. It is packed with excellent resources, guides for playing the Minecraft games. That’s not all. It has exceptional inquiries loaded with his intentions as a teacher. This will be an active curriculum for Logic Gates that will be improved over the coming months and years.


Thematic PixelArt wallpapers

Wallpaper Set

As part of this year’s work, one of the challenges we posed was to see if his art skills are production ready. We are now convinced that if he chooses to be professional or semi-professional artist, he has the chops, desire and persistence to do so.

He has 3 sets of thematic 5-pack wallpapers you can download for free or name your price if you’d like to compensate his work.

Check them out: Powerlines | Water Scenes | Hero’s Journey


Saultoons’ Septembit community events are fantastic and he is such a great host and patron for all artists. Our learner cherished this feedback. We were pretty happy as well to recieve some external validation.

Why do we cherish it? Here is a story (Click to expand).

mimeOnce upon a time there was a mime. He wandered across cities and states, entertaining people with his renditions and lived off of the dimes and dirt that was given to him as compensation. Dirt or dime he loved them all as his craft was his honor.

One day, he entered the prosperous kingdom of Kagi ruled by the generous King, Kuga. As a patron of arts and sciences, Kuga decided to preside over a city wide performance when he heard of the mime’s arrival.

The entire city thronged the auditorium and the mime began his performance. The king had never seen such an impeccable mimicry that was a perfect blend of mastery and entertainment. He offered jewelry, gold-coins, ornamental daggers and foldable arrows. The mime politely bowed, accepted the offering and placed them in his bag.

Towards the end of his performance, a cow-herd wandered by. Seeing him, the mime performed his cow act. The cow herd rejoiced and slyly picked a small rock and threw at the mime. The rock hit the mime and the mime convulsed his muscles just like a cow would. The cow herd was elated. He took his worn out shawl and offered it to the mime. The mime was elated at the offer. He took the shawl, wrapped around and paraded with child like joy.

The king appeared puzzled. He stood up and asked the mime, I gave you riches you’ve never seen before, yet you seem to prize the cow herd’s smelly shawl more than everything I gave. Do you mean to insult me?

The mime shuddered, bowed and spoke humbly. “Dear King, I meant no disrespect. I value your generosity and appreciation. It has been an honor. But I’m rejoicing receiving this shawl because the cow herd tested to make sure I deserve this and he parted with his most prized possession because I proved worthy.”

The King, impressed and moved by this response, gave the mime and the cow-herd a signed ring that allowed them to freely meet the king whenever they needed help or advice.


SocratiQ Planning

Our curriculum, scheduling, facilitation, reviews, his planning, broader learning, note taking have all been done using SocratiQ. We will be leaning on SocratiQ much more heavily during our upcoming year.

Next Steps for our learner

zen learning

This year, we set out to provide as much agency as we can for our learner. In combination with our use of SocratiQ and extensive project based learning, we accomplished the goal beyond our expectation.

Isn’t it great that you can draw, work in Minecraft, write some code and end up having a super grasp on complex constructs and concepts? Learning as learning ought to be.

There are a couple of projects that he is currently working on that will reach completion during the next year. We will go from “student-led” to “student-chosen-and-driven” learning when we begin our next academic year.

We are also super-excited about the upcoming year as we are beginning one of the most cross-functional projects we have done yet.

Next Steps for Puthir

This year has given us ample confidence in the long term success of our methods and approach to learning. We can say with fair amount of certainity that the current system’s approach to knowledge acquisition, assessement and general strucutre of educating humans is not just outdated but actively harmful in the new world creeping up on us. We definitely have a solution.

We are now kick-starting our plans for a third-entity alongside Puthir (our research institution) and Koodup (our large scale, online company): We will be reaching out to cities, countries and large schools to open Solvers Clubs across the world as embedded spaces or independent parallel schools.

Reach out if you are interested.