Ashley’s Manifesto

To whom it may concern,

My name is Ashley Flowers and I’m writing to Earth to inquire about a vacancy aboard the ship that I may be fit to serve. I am applying to work aboard the ship as an inquiry officer, one of the vessel’s chief question askers. I have over 27 years of experience asking questions and gathering answers.

In my life I have learned that Life is the question we’re called to and why we live it is the answer. As an inquiry officer my role aboard the ship will be to record the collective ‘whys’ of my fellow crew members but also the native environment and its inhabitants. Collecting and connecting the whys of the ship will be essential in maintaining the mission’s progress and uniting the crew members and with external entities.

With few exceptions, many of our whys are the same: protecting our family or accessing resources. The only difference is the ways in which those are met. The spectrum on which those activities are express are as varied as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on a beach. As an officer of inquiry it will be my duty to unite all people in contact or the ship through their common ‘whys’ and help them overcome the differences in their approaches.

For further preparation of this pursuit I have done extensive research on other officers of inquiry and the positive role they have had on protecting the commonality that exists among all living things. I’ve learned more about people and the person I am and the person I want to be from a double-hearted alien of a nearly extinct race of time travelers called the Doctor than anyone else. So, it is their wisdom I’ll be relying on to justify my claim to the position of officer of inquiry aboard spaceship Earth.

1. People are different.

“In 900 years of time and space I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.”

Doctor Who-A Christmas Carol

Our duty as staff members aboard a departing spaceship is to come together and protect each other’s unique experience. This is one of the most central pillars to the position of officer of inquiry. I have learned not only is it important ask questions-but to listen with an absolutely open mind and heart and spirit when receiving answers.

2. Opening up to new questions.

“We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear.”

Doctor Who-The Time of the Doctor

It is only through our willingness to open our ears and having the courage to change our minds when necessary that we are able to see the world through new perspectives. These new perspectives will change us and how we see the world. It is critical to be willing to allow new ideas to shape our identities and how we interact with the world.

3. Being human.

“Fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly. Fear can make you kind.”

Doctor Who-Listen

Trying new things takes a great deal of bravery, but I have learned that there is all kinds of bravery. Not only that, I’ve learned that they only times that you can truly act with a brave heart are times when you are afraid. Trying new things means being brave enough to be vulnerable to failure or disappointment. It means being kind to yourself when you identify shortcomings you would like to improve upon or overcome in your life.

4. Hidden assumptions.

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but, actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff.”

Doctor Who-Blink

No amount of question asking or fearlessness can rid us completely of our assumptions. But knowing we are burdened by our assumptions gives us an edge over them. In many cases, the first conclusion one can jump to is the one they’ve been taught by the world around them. But the second thought they have is what they know from experience and our experiences are created by the world we interact with. The people, the places, the books or music. All of those are factors in shaping our interpretations of the value of the things in our lives and the way we use them.

5. Our tools and us.

“All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?”

Doctor Who-Eleventh Hour

For my application I’ve been citing many of the most wise and inspiring words from one of the greatest heroes the universe has ever known. The Doctor first began traveling the universe after stealing a TARDIS that was permanently frozen to look like a police phone box. The Doctor was given a box to call from for help. His TARDIS has created for him several screwdrivers over the years. And his race, the time lords of gallifrey, are most noticeably anatomically different from humans in that they have two hearts. He has no weapons or space ships with guns or anatomical modifications that make him super strong or smart. He has a screwdriver for fixing things and two hearts for pumping love it the world with. The Doctor is made by his tools in the same way that he uses his tools to make a better world.

6. Realizations.

“It’s bigger on the inside.”

Doctor Who-(almost every episode)

The Doctor’s space ship, the TARDIS, is physically constructed outside the understanding of a normal human’s perception of physics. The spaceship takes up more size than exists in a given place while taking up less space than it should take. However, when one thinks of the idea that describes that situation, it’s just as easy to think that the TARDIS is smaller on the outside. It is our own perceptions of space and relativity that impact the ways we describe and interact with the world around us. While completing my fieldwork for challenge number six I learned that things I had believed about myself for years were ideas that I assigned to myself because a closer examination of my difficulties with interacting in some kinds of social situations was not as it first appeared. In lieu of accepting the real reasons for my discomfort at parties I found myself in a different interpretation of my fears which prevented me from being able to actually overcome them.

7. Why we hate.

“I just want you to think. Do you know what thinking is? It’s just a fancy word for changing your mind.”

Doctor Who-The Zygon Inversion

Asking questions and using those answers to reshape the way we think about the world and the people we share it with is a critical component to being able to successfully work as an inquiry officer. Being able to think about problems productively with people of different ideas is critical to helping keep the crew members of the Earth space shape unified while carrying out their duties.

8. How we are disconnected.

“What makes you so sure your life is worth more than those people out there on the ice? Is it the money? The accident of birth, that puts you inside the big, fancy house. Human progress isn’t measured by industry. It’s measured by the value you place on a life. An unimportant life. A life without privilege. The boy who died on the river, that boy’s value is your value. That’s what defines an age, that’s… what defines a species.”

Doctor Who-Thin Ice

When I think of how important the role of officer of inquiry is this lesson comes to mind. By empathizing with the needs of others and acknowledging them as members of the same species as us we take an enormous leap forward in releasing our minds from the burdens of hate or fear or distrust. The only way to learn that kind of empathy is asking questions and understanding that our voices all want for the same answers.

9. Wisdom of the world.

“My experience has been that there is, surprisingly, always hope.”

Doctor Who-Vincent and the Doctor

Although my preparations for this role have taught me how important it is to rely on personal dedication to a topic to master it, it also involves a great deal of mentorship and receiving advice from trustworthy teachers. When experiences from success and alumni center at K-State. So, even on my days when my belief that the there is an order and flow to the universe is shaken by the cruelty that sometimes surrounds us: I am reminded that there are wiser leaders out there who have weather these same storms in the pursuit of my dream. If they can do it I can do it.

10. We make the world.

“I’m not trying to win. I’m not doing this because I want to beat someone, because I hate someone, or because I want to blame someone. It’s not because it’s fun. God knows it’s not because it’s easy. It’s not even because it works because it hardly ever does. I do what I do because it’s right! Because it’s decent! And above all, it’s kind! It’s just that… Just kind. If I run away today, good people will die. If I stand and fight, some of them might live. Maybe not many, maybe not for long. Hey, you know, maybe there’s no point to any of this at all. But it’s the best I can do. So I’m going to do it. And I’m going to stand here doing it until it kills me. And you’re going to die too! Some day… And how will that be? Have you thought about it? What would you die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall.”

Doctor Who-The Doctor Falls

Understanding the Earth and the people who live on it and believing that it can be a good place for everyone go hand in hand. It would be foolish to try to blindly make the world a better place without knowing what ‘better place’ means to everyone and empowering them to feel the same wherever they go. Of the problems spaceship Earth could face, the best way to tackle them will always be together. By learning from each other we become more empathetic and empathy leads to kindness.

Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode 1, “The Pilot”

“Time doesn’t pass. The passage of time is an illusion, and life is the magician. Because life only lets you see one day at a time. You remember being alive yesterday, you hope you’re going to be alive tomorrow, so it feels like you’re traveling from one to the other. But nobody’s moving anywhere. Movies don’t really move. They’re just pictures, lots and lots of pictures. All of them still, none of them moving. Just frozen moments. But if you experience those pictures one after the other, then everything comes alive.

Imagine if time all happened at once. Every moment of your life laid out around you like a city. Streets full of buildings made of days. The day you were born, the day you die. The day you fall in love, the day that love ends. A whole city built from triumph and heartbreak and boredom and laughter and cutting your toenails. It’s the best place you will ever be. Time is a structure relative to ourselves. Time is the space made by our lives where we stand together, forever. Time And Relative Dimension In Space. It means life.”