2012.09.16 19:00 - Spirits and Stories

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Calvino Rabeni. The comments are by Calvino Rabeni.

    Calvino Rabeni: Hi Hana :)
    Hana Furlough: Hi Cal! Long time no see!
    Calvino Rabeni: Long time
    Hana Furlough: How are you?

    Calvino Rabeni: I'm doing well. What's up lately for you?
    Hana Furlough: Not much, just same as usual
    Calvino Rabeni: Japan same?
    Hana Furlough: Yep : )
    Hana Furlough: How is your Original Face group going?
    Calvino Rabeni: It's gone well.
    Calvino Rabeni: Steady over the last year ...
    Hana Furlough: Yay! Good to hear!
    Calvino Rabeni: we recently had an open house meeting
    Calvino Rabeni: and have two new members
    Hana Furlough: Nice!
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Ah, I just saw the fabled Rail Car Ghost
    Hana Furlough: Ooh what's that?
    Calvino Rabeni: I'd heard about it but never before seen it
    Calvino Rabeni: Its a second life perceptual anomaly ... people reported seeing the rail car - the one you might have noticed in the distance - going through the center of the fountain here
    Hana Furlough: Whoa...
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, it's funny to think of a completely artificial world having these unintended and unexplained phenomena
    Hana Furlough: It isn't something that someone made?
    Calvino Rabeni: Well, it was made "over there", but no one intended it to suddenly appear and disappear "here"
    Hana Furlough: Ahhh I see
    Hana Furlough: then it has a mind of its own?
    Calvino Rabeni: Maybe. I'd personally think of it something more like a rainbow or reflection
    Hana Furlough: Interesting
    Calvino Rabeni: I'm not sure what I'd think if I saw an apparition, say of a person, in real life.
    Hana Furlough: Right... ever seen that?
    Calvino Rabeni: No
    Calvino Rabeni: I've heard Japan has interesting ghost lore
    Hana Furlough: Ahh yes there is a lot
    Hana Furlough: also many interesting monsters
    Calvino Rabeni: Nods
    Hana Furlough: Here is a ghost frog with a hat:



    Calvino Rabeni: I watched one anime - forget what it was called - about a young man who has a book of ghosts - do you know it?
    Hana Furlough: Oh no... I don't
    Hana Furlough: Sounds interesting
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, it was modernized - his grandmother had been a ghost catcher .. to accumulate and imprison them .. but he became their liberator
    Hana Furlough: Wow sounds cool!
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes
    Calvino Rabeni: Nice picture ...
    Calvino Rabeni: Here's a book on the subject
    Calvino Rabeni: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Ghosts-Demons-Art-Supernatural/dp/0807611263
    Hana Furlough: Ahh very cool
    Hana Furlough: I'm going to have to try to check out that anime
    Calvino Rabeni: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-02-21/natsume-book-of-friends-gets-3rd-tv-anime-season
    Calvino Rabeni:

    The story revolves around Natsume, a boy who has been able to see ghosts since he was little. Unfortunately, humans shun him, and there is not much fondness between him and ghosts either. One day, he inherits a Yūjin-Chō ("Book of Friends") from his grandmother. The book is actually full of contracts that his grandmother made to trap ghosts. As one ghost after another shows up, Natsume tries to release or help them — even while many of them seek vengeance on him.

    Calvino Rabeni: Hi, Paradise :)
    Paradise Tennant: hiya hana nice to see you hiya cal :))
    Paradise Tennant: sorry if I stepped on anyone still rezzing
    Calvino Rabeni: We were chatting about Japanese lore of the supernatural
    Hana Furlough: Hi Para!
    Korel Laloix: Heya
    Hana Furlough: Hi Korel!
    Calvino Rabeni: Greetings Korel !
    Hana Furlough: Thanks, Cal! Looks great!
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, they have a monster designer on staff
    Hana Furlough: As it should be : )
    Korel Laloix: What did I miss?
    Calvino Rabeni: and the main character has a mentor, a cat that looks cuddly but turns into an ancient dragon like creature (not sure if it's a traditional figure)
    Korel Laloix: Sorry for being so late.
    Paradise Tennant: smiles hiya korel :)
    Hana Furlough: Cool!
    Calvino Rabeni: It's no "hello kitty" that's for sure
    Hana Furlough: Hehehe
    Calvino Rabeni: Hmm, you missed, the start of :) a discussion on the lore of ghosts and demons
    Calvino Rabeni: In Japan
    Calvino Rabeni: which are so different than then the american / european variety
    Korel Laloix: I really know nothing about Japan.. but trying to learn a bit right now.
    Calvino Rabeni: from my perspective, more naturalistic
    Calvino Rabeni: every traditional culture has a ghost or spirit animal lore
    Korel Laloix: Been out with a girl from there a couple of times.... so trying to understand things a bit better.
    Calvino Rabeni: I've always liked the Japanese one
    Paradise Tennant: ytes
    Paradise Tennant: yes
    Calvino Rabeni nods
    Calvino Rabeni: The discussion I think started with a sighting of the rail car ghost right here tonight
    Paradise Tennant: smiles
    Calvino Rabeni: This "Natsume" anime is touching ... he has a book of the names of ghosts captured by his grandmother (I think)

    Calvino Rabeni: Holding the character of the name keeps them imprisoned
    Korel Laloix: In my culture, ghosts are ther fourth soul that lingers for a full year after a person has died.
    Paradise Tennant: bought an engaging book this weekend that talks to our need to belief in the beyond .. "The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy and Sane by Matthew Hutson everyone thinks magically it seems :))
    Hana Furlough: Can you tell us a little more about the "fourth soul" concept, Korel?
    Hana Furlough: : ) at Para
    Calvino Rabeni listens too
    Paradise Tennant: smiles and listens :)
    Korel Laloix: It is odd how people automatically consdier the "super natural" to be that... when it is actually natural.
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Hana Furlough: agreed
    Korel Laloix: The bias is silly and really anti scientific.
    Paradise Tennant: what bias ?
    Korel Laloix: Well.. IN Tsalagi culture, everyoen has four souls.
    Korel Laloix: The bias against the beleif in ghost and spirits and the like.
    Paradise Tennant: not sure I know anyone who has not had some kind of experience that connects to beyond ..
    Korel Laloix: And each soul takes with it a part of you.
    Korel Laloix: And each has a way that it needs to be sheparded away to avoid issues.
    Hana Furlough: Wow... so they go to different places?
    Korel Laloix: Ghosts tend to be the fourth and longest lasting souls that are not taken care of.
    Korel Laloix: Those souls last around the body for just on year.
    Korel Laloix: Different destinations yes.
    Korel Laloix: brb
    Hana Furlough: Fascinating!
    Calvino Rabeni: That seems to be part of the ghost theme across cultures - the soul that's delayed on its travels or lost its way or somehow interfered with its natural journey
    Hana Furlough: Right
    Calvino Rabeni: In "Natsume Yuujinchou" the book of names is called "Book of Friends"
    Paradise Tennant: kind of makes you wonder what we really are :)
    Calvino Rabeni: which is really touching
    Hana Furlough: That is adorable
    Calvino Rabeni: the ghosts are quite difficult to deal with, dark and resentful, until he liberates them
    Calvino Rabeni: finding out what held their spirit
    Calvino Rabeni: something from fate, or developmental
    Hana Furlough: interesting...
    Calvino Rabeni: other than the purely technical binding represented by the "name" magic
    Hana Furlough: what happens to the ghosts when he liberates them?
    Calvino Rabeni: I can see it as a metaphor for dealing with difficult / distressed people
    Calvino Rabeni: which is something we're all familiar with
    Calvino Rabeni: When he liberates them, they have a kind of redemption experience I think
    Calvino Rabeni: delivered from their suffering
    Hana Furlough: then do they disappear?
    Calvino Rabeni: they go to some home of theirs
    Hana Furlough: oh ok
    Calvino Rabeni: a return / homecoming ... I guess it varies, where they live
    Calvino Rabeni: there doesn't have to be one home for all wayward souls, I suppose :)
    Hana Furlough: : )
    Paradise Tennant: How does the Tsalagi culture view us before we die - are we in parts alive ?
    Korel Laloix: back

    Korel Laloix: Not thought about it inthat term Para.
    Korel Laloix: I don't think so, if I understand your question.
    Paradise Tennant: ok
    Hana Furlough: (sneaks out -- thanks everyone for the great discussion!!)
    Paradise Tennant: funny we split apart when we die
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye TC Hana
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite hana ;)
    Korel Laloix: Ciao
    Paradise Tennant: but are whole when alive
    Calvino Rabeni: Is that "entropy"?
    Calvino Rabeni: Or is our unitary nature um .. presumptive?
    Paradise Tennant: LOL it is all presumptive :))
    Korel Laloix: I think most people at least thing there is a soul/body construct.
    Paradise Tennant: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: We get at it in different ways - through these theoretical constructs, and through story and drama, and through direct experience
    Calvino Rabeni: Which all cohere, but imperfectly
    Korel Laloix: I really need to sit down with my aunt ans absorve their knowledge of this stuff.
    Paradise Tennant: or conversely it can all be just baloney - maybe we are cosmic computer program that someone has left running while they go make a cheese sandwich and look for the pickles :)
    Paradise Tennant: smiles I think that is a plan Korel ;))
    Paradise Tennant: and your wonderful nana bet - she knows so much
    Korel Laloix: Well, my grandma is actually my stepgrandmother.... so she is not of the culture.
    Paradise Tennant: ahh ok :)
    Korel Laloix: My aunts are at least self proclaimed medicine women.
    Paradise Tennant: smiles
    Paradise Tennant: lots of power to the idea of healing
    Calvino Rabeni: nods, I have such in my family tree :)
    Korel Laloix: In this context, medine does not mena just healing.
    Korel Laloix: It is a broader term.
    Korel Laloix: And can include hurting.
    Calvino Rabeni: nods
    Korel Laloix: OK... off to bed.. thanks for the chat.

    Calvino Rabeni: Good night :)
    Korel Laloix: ciao
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite
    Paradise Tennant: sigh thanks Cal think I will trundle off too :) walk the pup look at the sky and wonder :))
    Calvino Rabeni: nods thanks for the company
    Calvino Rabeni wonders what is in "Pleiades" :)
    Paradise Tennant: my pleasure :))
    Calvino Rabeni: Good night :)
    Paradise Tennant: smiles now going to have to look up the seven sisters and see where they are in my night sky :))
    Paradise Tennant: lol
    Calvino Rabeni: :)
    Paradise Tennant: namaste my friend :))
    Calvino Rabeni: _/!\_

    Calvino Rabeni continues, to no one in particular...
    Calvino Rabeni: Long car drives are a good time to think / listen to podcasts
    Calvino Rabeni: this time the theme was the power of Story
    Calvino Rabeni: I recommend two podcasts - Stanford Storytelling Project
    Calvino Rabeni: http://www.stanford.edu/group/storytelling/cgi-bin/joomla/index.php/shows.html
    Calvino Rabeni: Which is about "real life" stories

    I was fascinated by one story about an interdisciplinary art collective named Odyssey Works that"creates immersive, site specific, long duration performances for very small and fully participatory audiences" - a recent documentary film was produced:  Midden of Possibility

    Calvino Rabeni: But I spent the most time during those long drives with The Art of Storytelling Show which is an interview series
    Calvino Rabeni: http://www.artofstorytellingshow.com/category/brother-wolf/
    Calvino Rabeni: with a large variety of tellers, and both story performance and discussion of the art of storytelling.
    Calvino Rabeni: It's available for free on iTunes podcasts or in recorded form on the web site

    Calvino Rabeni:  We talked earlier in the session about - it's harder to get though - the Japanese spirit-anime series "Natsume Yuujinchou" (Natsume's Book of Friends):

    For as long as he can remember, Takashi Natsume has been cursed by the ability to see spirits, a power inherited from his grandmother Reiko. Upon her death, Reiko bequeaths to her grandson her Book of Friends, a book containing the names of spirits Reiko had bullied into servitude. The Book of Friends is a highly prized item in the spirit world, and spirits haunt Takashi constantly. Whereas Reiko formed the contracts, however, Takashi spends his time dissolving the contracts and releasing the various spirits that come to him for help. But that doesn't mean there aren't malicious spirits trying to kill him. Which is where Madara (called Nyanko-sensei by Natsume) comes in; Madara serves as Natsume's bodyguard and spiritual advisor of sorts, even though he is motivated by his own desire to possess the Book of Friends. He later on begins to become more attached to Takashi.

    The art is beautifully drawn in that series.

    Calvino Rabeni: Now, let's see if I can jump on that ghost rail car :)


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