The Bento Society #1

In the beginning, there was the Bento…

Now there’s a newsletter, too.

Welcome to the first monthly update from The Bento Society, the community and organization dedicated to the ideas of Bentoism. 

The goal of Bentoism is to expand what we see as valuable and in our self-interest. We’ll get into what that looks like and how we might get there in updates to come. 

Though this first update is written by the creator of Bentoism (👋), future updates will come from others in the Bentoist community. If you’re ever interested in contributing or suggesting something, just respond to this message.

Bentoism last month

Bentoism next month

  • Two online Bentoism workshops in December (see this video of an earlier one):

  • Friday, December 13th at 11am PT. RSVP here

  • Thursday, December 19th at 11am PT. RSVP here

  • In these workshops (called “Experiments”) participants build their Bento, are taught how to use it, and share it with a stranger in an interactive experience.

  • Beta-testing a Bentoism message board. Check it out here.

Bentoism IRL

People in South Korea are creating mock funerals to put their lives in context. This is an exercise to get in touch with their Future Me:

Dozens took part in the event, from teenagers to retirees, donning shrouds, taking funeral portraits, penning their last testaments, and lying in a closed coffin for around 10 minutes.

University student Choi Jin-kyu said his time in the coffin helped him realize that too often, he viewed others as competitors.

“When I was in the coffin, I wondered what use that is,” said the 28-year-old, adding that he plans to start his own business after graduation rather than attempting to enter a highly-competitive job market.

Effective. But using the Bento is much less existentially dreadful!

Practicing Bentoism

One of the longest-practicing Bentoists is an early workshop attendee, V. I recently asked V. about her experience with Bentoism. She replied:

“I'm finding that the concept of the bento is enough to influence how I make decisions, even though mine isn't clearly defined… More than anything else, the concept simply reminds me to zoom out.”

Even without articulating the exact values that drive you, a Bentoist perspective brings value. Based on this “zooming out,” as V. put it, she decided to quit her job and move thousands of miles to a new city. Seeing her big picture gave V. the confidence to make a big decision.

Try this at home

When you face “Should I” questions (should I move, should I stay late, should I say what I really feel), try what worked for V. Think about each of the four spaces of the Bento and what they tell you.

The easiest way to do this? Make the Bento your phone lock screen for a week. Here’s mine:

Whenever you look at your phone, you’re reminded to zoom out instead. Download the image here.

Feedback loops

Bentoism aims to be a responsive, communally guided philosophy. One where innovations and improved applications of the Bento discovered by members of the community are fed back to the group. When one person discovers a breakthrough, the whole community can share in it.

This email, the Bentoism workshop experiments, and the Bentoism message board all exist to share and collect experiences in self-coherence, growing value in new ways, and exploring Bentoism.

In that spirit, I’d love to hear from you. 

  • Why are you interested in Bentoism?

  • What questions are you interested in seeing answered?

  • What would you like to see in future Bentoism updates?

Respond to this message directly or on the message board to keep the feedback loops going.

Peace and love,

Yancey Strickler
The Bento Society