Most outsiders see the Flint School ships and have romantic notions of the adventures that went through - and indeed we did. (See the movie White Squall (1996)) But, the owners of the school, primarily used their ships to as a controlled environment to teach their philosophical approach to life. The teachings from the Flint School have had a profound influence in my life. My entire 4 year high school career was spent at this school. I want to honor and the hard work the Stolls put into their noble visions. At the same time, I want to share some of the lessons that I have learned from the 'school of hard-knocks' since my graduation from the school in 1980.
The school had many strong messages for me - especially around being an accomplished, rational human being. Much of the 4thR's philosophy was driven by Ayn Rand's philosophy - "Objectivism". One of the major themes of 4thR was premise that if you had the correct ideas about reality, then your life would be wildly successful. For most of us, this was our first exposure to an organized approach to be successful in life. Many of us, being naive adolescents, took to it like religion.
This drive to possess all the correct ideas and have insider information, lead me on an oddessy to figure out my world. I wanted to have control in my universe and to manipulate it to my satisfaction. During my twenties, I was striving for my image of a successful future and someone who measured-up. In the present, I was lacking intimacy and satisfying relationships. Over the past several years, I have gone through a process of determining what is true - for me, apart from the circumstances into which I was born and conformed. If you are interested in my (School of Hard Knocks) journey, you can read my essay: And you can read my list of the some of the most valuable post-Flint-School lessons that I learned.
Most Flint School Alumni have not enjoyed the success that George Stoll had hoped for. Although George worked hard to give every one the tools of rational objectivity (as he and Randians understood it), most of us have had our share of struggles in our personal lives since departing the ships. I stayed involved with Objectivism, the Hard Money movement and others for years afterward. Over the past two months, I have reflected upon my psychological residue from this experience on these two floating temples to rationality. And, through my emotional awareness oriented men's work, I have found myself in the unique position of being able to articulate many insights. Through my stories and commentaries, I will try to illuminate the atmosphere and share some wisdom that I have gained from this unique school.. I have also included some readings (or listenings) that have helped round-out my education after the Flint School.
P.K. Stevens, February 2000