Manifestos: Revision

Hopefully, you don't have a knee-jerk reaction to the word manifesto, as some do from negative associations to Hitler and the like. Manifesto is an Italian word that means to be clear or conspicuous, originally manifestus, which is Latin for to manifest, to clearly reveal, to make real. It is from this pure definition that we will engage with manifestos at TGS.

Your manifesto is a written statement to publicly declare your intentions, motives, or beliefs. A personal manifesto is a declaration of your core values and beliefs, what you stand for, and how you intend to live your life.



It's important to take a moment before you begin flying through the school year to pause and identify your intention. The word intention is often repeated in art classes, yoga classes, and philosophical drum circles around the world; it centers around the idea that actions and thoughts stem from a purpose.

You aren't at TGS by random assignment. You began with an intention to see the world differently...or maybe it was to develop into a global citizen...or become an advocate for change on a big global issue. In the same way that major periods of your life should have a purpose connecting to your greater life plan, so should your day (and what you fill it with) be driven by purpose to help propel you to your goals.

What is your personal manifesto at this point in time? How might you begin to tackle such a task of defining your life mission?

Just dive in at your preferred depth

In this dedicated time, look at the examples below that represent different levels of engagement with this exercise.

Baby pool

At the bare minimum, you should be able to select a concise succession of words that reflect what propels you forward daily, yearly, and beyond. It should be short enough to encourage daily reading.

The following is an excerpt from Daring to Live Fully: Begin writing your manifesto by making a list of the areas that you want to address. For example, you could make a list of the most important people in your life and write down how you intend to behave when it comes to each of them. You can also decide to include areas such as dealing with disappointment and hardships, approaching opportunities and risks, choosing your own attitude, and using your time.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Fellowship Assets

1. An honest ego in a healthy body.
2. An eye to see nature.
3. A heart to feel nature.
4. Courage to follow nature.
5. The sense of proportion (humor).
6. Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work.
7. Fertility of imagination.
8. Capacity for faith and rebellion.
9. Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance.
10. Instinctive cooperation.

Shallow end

Want to go deeper into your own purpose? Here are some good jump starters, if you need them.

I believe...
I want to live in a world where...
Here’s what I know for sure...
Always wear sunscreen...

Remember that manifestos can be poetry, prose, poetry, narratives, or any genre of writing. Here are two examples that do not compare:

Wendell Berry's Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

My manifesto on the concept of Nomadderwhere

Deep end

You know what to do. Let this commencement speech fuel the solidification of your intention.

Manifestos at TGS

Manifestos can be the building blocks of a great “about” page, one that attempts to define you and what makes you unique amongst the crowd. Your piece could become the outline of a personal statement or college application essay. Your manifesto will also help you consider what you want to project into society and encourage you to set goals for a pivotal year in your education. With personal clarity of your purpose, who knows what you could achieve!?

Take a look at the published manifestos of TGS.

Resources: Improves academic writing