The Extended Mission

Refine The Mind is about motivating all of us (myself included) to think more deeply about our lives. It’s about compelling people to look past the surface, to find a broader perspective, and to care a bit more about the world and other humans. The core ethos of Refine The Mind is closely related to the idea that before meaningful changes can occur on the planet, they must occur in the minds of individuals.

To uphold this vision, Refine The Mind’s focus is on being a cross-disciplinary collection of thought-provoking content and perspective. What that means, in practice, is that I absorb a lot of content and write about what I feel is relevant to this site.

I read and research widely in the areas of fiction, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, ecology, history, and psychology. I extract morsels from what I read, combine them with my subjective experience and perspective, and present them on this site in an ongoing narrative about what humans do, why we do what we do, and what we might do to better the world and render our lives meaningful.

At least, this is my aim. The mission becomes clearer all the time.

If this vision titillates your sensibilities in all the right ways, you can receive each post (one per week) in your inbox by entering your email address below:


As seen on…

You may have seen my work featured in the following places:

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Start here:

If you’re wondering where to begin, here’s a list of the essays that I feel are some of the most indispensable on Refine The Mind:


Who am I?

Like you, I’m a complex individual who can’t be pinned down in a few words, but here goes. I am a goofy, confused, and somewhat fractured dude who likes to think about things and make things and who cares about the world.

I’m currently an English teacher in Busan, South Korea. I have a degree in English Literature with minors in Philosophy and Spanish. I enjoy creative writing, skiing, longboarding, rapping, and reading novels. I hate getting out of bed and have spontaneous urges to climb trees.

I love a long hike through the forest and a night spent watching the stars. I love the hiss and crackle of a bonfire with a bunch of quirky comrades. I love the last rays of delicate sunlight that paint pastels on the horizon. I love animals like a madman, and I love my family and friends more than anything.

Me with a monkey on my head.

Me with a monkey on my head.

Why am I doing this?

A few years ago, I began to understand that in any society, there exist dominant social and cultural structures that guide and inform the lives of the populace. The mass media, educational institutions, norms, traditions, and popular mythologies of a given society are a few examples of such structures.

Through personal and academic study, I began to recognize the many ways in which our 21st-century structures are maladapted to our real human needs, not to mention the future of the planet. This blossoming understanding compelled me to start exploring ways we might re-imagine our systems and our individual lives to be more human-friendly, compassionate, and sustainable. Autodidacticism became (and remains) a sort of religion for me.

As of my writing this, the site is nearly three years old. I’ve learned and changed a great deal in that time, and I’ve talked to a lot of amazing people.

It brings me joy to write about topics I think and care about and to meet other thoughtful people. That’s why I created and continue to create Refine The Mind. 


Join the Community

If you appreciate the work I’m doing, visit again sometime. You can check out the ways to get free updates or you can just stop back whenever you feel like it.

Also, 3,500+ humans think that getting everything I publish sent straight to their inbox is pretty cool. If you think you would too, type your email below.


Thanks for reading. Do take care.

Jordan Bates

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