B. Sophia Placebo

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    Sophia invites me over to her PaB plot, which I haven't visited before. SL is being slow. Today Sophia reminds me of Pippi Longstocking with her freckled skin and pigtails.

    Gaya Ethaniel waits for sophia to rezz :)
    sophia Placebo: I rezzed already
    Gaya Ethaniel: Now I can see you :)
    Gaya Ethaniel looks around ... :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: How interesting ...
    sophia Placebo: take your time until everything rezz for you

    We arranged ourselves on pillows that are scattered on a lovely 'oriental' rug.

    Gaya Ethaniel: Where shall we sit?
    sophia Placebo: On the pillows
    Gaya Ethaniel: I like your AO, sweet poses :)
    sophia Placebo: thanks :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Green ones behind me?
    sophia Placebo: yes , or any pillow that you like


    Gaya Ethaniel: When did you build this plot? I'm curious of your inspiration for it.
    sophia Placebo: the first week I got it I think


    Sophia after the interview sent me an email regarding the inspiration:

    SL did inspired the design of the plot. As I first joined SL, I experienced a kind of cultural shock but then I felt this subtle agreement over many issues. Though the agreement is warped with language and culture , media influence and things like that. There are things that we have been thought that they are true, but there are things that we feel that they are true. And there, the agreement appears more clearly.

    The thought of universality is one of them, though many may state that there is no universal truth or agreement. But still there is a feeling that many concepts are shared across the globe despite the difference in how we express them. We might not agree on what degree of color is red or orange but we all have the color concept as long as we have functioning eyes.

    As I came to PaB, this personal observation was reinforced by the discussions about how many different traditions holds  common practices or similar ones. This with my background which says that we as human have primordial nature, Fitra, that all nations across the globe and through history had been sent a messenger with same message  Roman, Greek, Mayan, African, Egyptian etc. So part of me wanted to test this concept , do human really have primordial nature that guides them? How is it different from ego? Plus how much are we similar than different in traditions and philosophies.

    So the plot was built to look like ruins to denote time irrelevance to the correctness of statements. Truths or agreements are not fashions that are made for consumerism.

    Art work displays give notecards as I feel people accept art and artists' options more than other people nowadays. And added some trees, rocks, carpets, and pillows to make the place cosy :)

    As I wanted to get a rough idea of the timeline, I start again asking Sophia's beginning of her journey in SL.

    Gaya Ethaniel thinks ... ok let's start from the beginning :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: When did you join SL?
    sophia Placebo: almost a year ago plus couple of months
    Gaya Ethaniel: How did you come across SL?
    sophia Placebo: MMORPG websites
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Compared to games, what were the impressions when you first started?
    sophia Placebo: too chaotic for a game , very hard to grab the concept behind it if you joined in it as a game rather a platform , games here have very weak rules and laws which is good from the angle of flexibility and creativity but it is not that good in terms of competition as it hardly exists
    Gaya Ethaniel nods.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Now I want to know why you stayed on. Because most of newbies try a couple of times then stop.
    sophia Placebo: I had time , in fact I had plenty of it a year ago , plus I had not been in multinational community before not even online community in which SL is really amazing in this aspect , lots of people lots of creativity and lots of unfamiliarity hmm I mean unfamiliarity to me but to the others it was just as familiar as water
    Gaya Ethaniel: I agree. In right places you get to meet an amazing mixture of people from all over the world.
    sophia Placebo nods

    I had a feeling that Sophia took to PaB like a fish to water.

    Gaya Ethaniel: So I guess ... PaB [place/group] is one of those places for you?
    sophia Placebo: sure
    Gaya Ethaniel: When did you first discover PaB?
    sophia Placebo: though in Pab it is more about what's common rather about what is different
    Gaya Ethaniel thinks ... I don't think commonalities/differences are mutually exclusive in 'spiritual' terms :)
    sophia Placebo: hard to remember dates but I guess after Piet first Phenomenology seminar
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah ...
    Gaya Ethaniel: So Pema introduced you to PaB?
    sophia Placebo: yes
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)

    I now wanted to get into juicy details :) Someone's first impression of PaB is always interesting to hear.

    Gaya Ethaniel: What did you think of it intially?
    sophia Placebo: I didn't get it , the whole concept was odd to Play as Being , but the good spirit of PAB and the friendly chats that were full of new insights and new information kept me in though I didn't get the concept until very late
    Gaya Ethaniel: It was like that for me too :) I couldn't work out what the group was for in the beginning.
    sophia Placebo: :) good I am not the only one
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: I guess your ideas about the group and the practice changed considerably over the time. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
    sophia Placebo nods , but the change is not dramatic as I explore and find a new thing every day , but generally it started from -undefined- to - spiritual- and now it is more - philosophical - , of course the therapy aspects and the social aspects are there all through
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah yes I see what you mean.
    Gaya Ethaniel: How does PaB compare to other groups you've been part of in SL? In terms of allowing you to 'make' the changes as you put it.
    sophia Placebo: I have not been member of many groups really , maybe PaB is the only one , but the other places I've been visiting has -regulars- rather than members and the turnover of visitors is in faster rate and higher numbers compared to PaB, so the group itself is not stable on one shape and known goals or aims, in PaB on the other hand we have fewer members and we do select the newer ones and though our conversations varies widely usually but the mainstream of it is almost one which is meditation, giving yourself a break from judgmental thinking
    Gaya Ethaniel nods.

    Sophia is one of many wonderful rarities at PaB with her Muslim faith. [Yeah, Buddhists ... too many of them at PaB ^^;;;]

    Gaya Ethaniel: Many of guardians have benefited a lot from your interaction due to your unique [at PaB] background. How do you feel about this?
    sophia Placebo: they did ? well I guess I am happy
    Gaya Ethaniel: I can at least speak for myself that I've learnt quite a lot knowing you :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Are there any favourite topics you enjoy discussing at PaB?
    sophia Placebo: I am glad I said something informative hmm though I guess it is the meditative environment that allow this exchange to happen , in PaB I've learned and gets many insights to many things I couldn't have learned them in different environment
    Gaya Ethaniel: Glad to hear that!
    Gaya Ethaniel: Well, what do you mean by 'different'?
    sophia Placebo: self exploration plus Stim's sessions, well many others are just brilliant but those are my favourite
    sophia Placebo: like schooling , lecturing , word fights and confrontation , you know the too tensed or too passive ones
    Gaya Ethaniel: Maybe you mean the sense of open relaxed feelings?
    sophia Placebo nods
    Gaya Ethaniel: ok :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Would you say that participating at PaB also has had effects in your RL?
    sophia Placebo: everything do affect us :)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles. That is very true :)

    It's almost time to wrap. RL information in Sophia's profile mentions a curious thing, Waq Waq island.

    Gaya Ethaniel: ok last question, what's the connection with Waq Waq island?
    sophia Placebo: lol
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    sophia Placebo: Waq Waq island exists in myths of Arab sailors who said that they are east of Africa where there is plenty of gold that even dog's collar is of gold, where men eat human flesh and where women grow on a tree. In reality Waq Waq is Japan as the Chinese calls the Japanese waku waku. It appears that travelling Arab merchants on board Chinese ships were get attacked by Japanese pirates, and they heard the Chinese yelling, shouting as if they might face a monster (plus some Chinese stories about the Japanese). So Arab merchants developed this strange myth. In modern days if someone asks you where are you from and you said Waq Waq, we usually means it is a far away strange land that we come from. We might as well say that such and such would send you to Waq Waq, that means a very far land that you might not come back or just an unclear fate
    Gaya Ethaniel: heh :) what a wonderful story! You are indeed from Waq Waq island to me.
    Gaya Ethaniel: A mysterious place ... :)
    sophia Placebo: hehe yes I am
    Gaya Ethaniel: Thank you sophia for taking time to talk to me. Hope you continue to enjoy being with PaB.

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