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    Bruce Interview_017a.jpg

    One of the perks of my job here at the Chronicles office is that I get to visit people’s homes for these interviews. I met Bruce at his place and we settled into comfortable chairs to begin.

    Adams: Last week when I interviewed Aphrodite, I noted she had appeared in quite a few wiki pages in her year and half in PaB. I wonder if you are aware that in that same time period, "Bruce" appears in 988 pages. That is close to two pages a day! Aphrodite and you have been very, very active.
    Adams: I also learned from Aphrodite that you introduced her to PaB.

    I started with a question about why Bruce came into Second Life

    Adams: Starting at the beginning what attracted you to Second Life?
    Bruce: ;-)
    Bruce: I'd heard of Second Life for years before actually coming on-board. I'd been a regular listener to National Public Radio's Science Friday, and every week I'd heard its moderator say "Join us in Second Life!" What actually caused me to take the plunge, however, was a Public Broadcasting System show called "Digital Nation" ( http://
    www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/virtual-worlds/second-lives/inside-a-virtual-meeting.html?play ).
    Bruce: That link is to the segment of the show that peaked my curiosity enough to try it out. When I watched those IBM managers conducting global meetings in Second Life, well, I got hungry to see what else could happen there. Initially I sought out a Second Life Quaker Meeting and daily meditation groups, and the rest evolved from that.
    Adams: Nice. I did visit that group a few times but have been busy with PaB. It is a nice
    group

    Discovering Play as Being

    Adams: How did you discover Play as Being?
    Bruce: By checking out the groups in other meditators' 'Profiles.' Joining PaB is largely a result of my Real Life geographical predicament: For forty years I've lived alone on our family farm in a remote rural area of southern Ohio.
    Bruce: For a lifelong dyed-in-the-wool hermit, the farm is an almost ideal setting. The problem is that even finding a meditation group, or book club, or men's consciousness group requires a 100-mile round trip to Columbus. In a word, Play as Being gives me ACCESS . . . to intelligent, playful, creative, courteous involvement with others in virtually everything that interests me.
    Bruce: There are so many PaB sub-groups (Ways of Knowing, Original Face, Art as Being, Time Magic, Dream Circle, Regarding Reality, I Ching, etc. etc.) that PaB soon became the only SL group I participate in on a regular basis - and still is.
    Adams: I know what you mean :)
    Bruce: ;-)
    Adams: Do you remember your first session and who was the guardian? What were your first impressions then or in the first few weeks of PaB?
    Bruce: Actually, I don't remember my very first session. (Maybe I'll search that one out!) I do recall that I was fascinated at the time by inter-species communication, and during my first few PaB Pavilion meetings I mentioned this. (That may have been why I shared my sonnet "Forest Chat.") Bruce: I was amazed, to put it mildly, that others quickly picked up on the topic and enhanced my own interest by branching out into poetry, art, epistemology (philosophy of 'knowing'), language, and phenomenology - -
    Bruce: In forty years, I'd not had any Real Life discussions like those - without signing up for college classes (again, fifty miles away). I quickly got "hooked" on PaB and still am.

    Adams: You have enriched us all with all you bring to Play as Being including your time as an English teacher. I hope you do not mind if I repost two poems you wrote in July 2010.
    Bruce: Sure!
    Adams: Thank you
    Bruce: yw!
    Adams: It was a pleasant surprise to find those when I looked back

    [Note: the poems are posted at the end of the interview]

    Bruce Interview_003a.jpg

    Previous Experiences and Play as Being

    Adams: You have mentioned four important influences on your spiritual life: the seminary, Buddhism, Quakers and nature. After a year and half, how has Play as Being fit in with those other traditions/experiences for you?
    Bruce: All along the way, my "path" has been basically a solitary one. Even at the [Christian] seminary (way back in the late '70's) I was an odd-man-out, since my viewpoint was (and still is) essentially Taoist-pantheist.
    Bruce: The pragmatic tool-kits of Buddhism and phenomenology are (for me) the most excellent methods I've ever found for exploration. -- That others are willing to share their explorations with me - honestly and without prideful evangelizing, arrogance, or judgment - is truly a treasure.
    Adams: There are a number of opportunities to do explorations too
    Bruce: oh yes.
    Adams Rubble: Can you explain Taoist-pantheist?
    Bruce: Well, by Taoism, I mean the philosophy of Lao Tsu and Chuang Tsu, basically. The Tao Te Ching, etc.
    Bruce: and by pantheism, I mean an ultimate valuing of the natural order.
    Bruce: kk?
    Adams: I was wondering what they meant as a hyphenated word :)
    Adams: or is it just both of them
    Bruce: both of them, yes.
    Bruce : Oh - I hyphenate LOTS of things -- to show that I'm eclectic, I guess.
    Bruce: Hope that's not a bother.
    Adams: no bother :)
    Bruce: ;-)
    Adams: What has kept you in PaB?
    Bruce: All of the above. During the past year I've told RL friends that nothing I've done in the past thirty years has enhanced my life more than my adventures in PaB. Typical RL responses are: "That's not real!" and "Spooky" and "I don't have even enough time for my FIRST life!"
    Bruce: Not a single one of those friends has responded with sufficient interest to look into SL themselves, though. That's fine, of course. -- I've grown comfortable being "odd-man-out."
    Adams: hehe, I can understand that too
    Bruce: I [nevertheless] unabashedly mention PaB events to RL friends the same way they talk about events in their families. Come to think of it, PaB IS family - one that challenges me in every best way. That feeling of being accepted by a diverse group of truly fine people is, without question, what has kept me involved PaB.
    Adams: What do you find most valuable or sustaining about PaB?
    Bruce: a quick answer for that one:
    Bruce: Everything is workable within a framework of mutual respect.

     

    Working Group

    Adams: You have been on the working group since October 2010. Please talk a bit about
    that time either by way of a summary, or a specific event that illuminates some aspect of
    Play as Being during that time.
    Bruce: Well, first let me say that I don't feel qualified to be on the WG. Others who have
    been in PaB for twice as long have a far better overview of PaB's history and procedures
    than I. That's why the present WG continually seeks out their advice and invites their
    involvement in our WG monthly meetings.
    Bruce: What rises to the top as I reflect on the WG is their cooperative spirit and
    inexhaustible energy. This is true of many guardians. I don't know if name-dropping is
    permitted here, but Eliza, Aphrodite, Bleu, Storm, and Adams (of course!) -- to name just
    a few - are downright inspiring.
    Adams: :)
    Bruce: :)
    Adams: I'd like to follow that up with another question
    Bruce: kk.
    Adams: The Chronicles is a sort of history by those living it and your work on the WG represents more than a year in the life of PaB. Does anything issue or "crisis" stand out in that time as an example of the thinking of those in the WG?
    Bruce: oh gosh.
    Bruce: No crisis, surely.
    Bruce: Recently we've been trying to reconcile differing viewpoints concerning building.
    Bruce: But I feel that we've accomplished that with this month's WG meeting -
    Bruce: and with a lot of excellent input from Storm and from the Kira Board.
    Bruce: for which I am (and I'm sure Aph is, also) grateful
    Bruce: nothing else comes to mind right now, actually.

    Bruce Interview_007a.jpg

    Wrinkles and Reconciliation

    Bruce: Someone said,
    Bruce: the job of the WG is to find wrinkles and iron them out -
    Bruce: so they don't become larger problems
    Bruce: for the larger community.
    Bruce: so, that's my philosophy (of WG).
    Adams: It is nice way of thinking of the role
    Adams: So you feel reconciliation of various viewpoints is the important task of the WG
    Bruce: When it is possible to reach consensus within the WG, then yes, that's how I feel.
    Bruce: The important thing is that everyone's voice be heard.
    Bruce: and usually, when all viewpoints are finally aired, consensus is easily reached.
    Bruce: (Can you tell I have a Quaker background?)
    Adams: :)
    Bruce: :)
    Adams: May I leave that in?
    Bruce: oh sure. But I've never 'officially' been a Quaker.
    Bruce: (You can leave that in also... if you wish.)
    Bruce: I just sit with them every week in RL.
    Adams Rubble nods. You have mentioned that
    Bruce: (Twenty-five miles from the farm, but still the closest opportunity for me to sit
    with a meditation group.)
    Adams: :)
    Bruce: ;-)
    Adams: and good people to sit with :)
    Bruce: oh yes.
    Bruce: I enjoy their company very much.
    Adams: What question or questions did I miss that you would have asked if you were
    me?
    Bruce: Hmmmm. . . Maybe, "How did an old hermit farmer like you get to be so virtually sociable so fast?" Must be something in the Pavilion fountain's water!
    Adams: :)
    Bruce: :)

    Bruce Interview_013a.jpg

    We chatted on…..discussing avatars and then

    Bruce: I think we might be discussing archetypes in Pila's I Ching group next year.
    Bruce: I've been writing up some material for this with Mickorod.
    Bruce: and that is taking us into Carl Jung -
    Bruce: and that is taking us into 'introvert' and 'extrovert.'
    Bruce: and that might be taking us into "strong" and "weak" personalities---
    Bruce: I don't know, though.
    Adams: avatars are a great way to explore things like that
    Bruce: I have been wondering whether there is something like
    Bruce: unconscious "archetypes" in Far Eastern thought.
    Bruce : I've posed the question to Pila.
    Adams: the Hindu deities might provide some material for you
    Bruce: Oh yes, indeed!
    Bruce: Very good point.
    Bruce: excellent material there, now that I'm thinking more about it.
    Bruce: You know, in the West, James Hillman (the founder of archetypal psychology) does a whole lot with Greek mythology and the gods/goddesses of that mythic system. I don't see why the same could not be done with Hindu deities.
    Adams: There is an unbelievable amount of material in the puranas
    Bruce: My first introduction to Eastern spirituality came through Ram Dass and
    Hinduism -- also Alan Watts -- way back in the 60's.
    Adams: I was not ready for Hinduism in the 60s :)
    Bruce: ;-)
    Bruce: I think I understand "readiness."
    Adams: It is nice we have a whole lifetime to learn
    Adams: this is an exciting time
    Bruce: although on my path through life there have been many discoveries that I'm not
    yet ready for things that I'm involved in.
    Adams : :)
    Bruce: an exciting time, indeed. "Access" is better than ever - even for hermits.
    Adams: yes, that too
    Adams: :)
    Bruce: ;-)
    Adams: libraries come to us
    Bruce: all distances are near.
    Bruce: PaB is a wonderful campfire.
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Bruce: around which we gather to tell our various stories.
    Bruce: adventures.
    Bruce: fears.
    Bruce: excitements.
    Bruce: enthusiasms.
    Bruce: ;-)

    Finally a last few thoughts from Bruce:

    Bruce: PaB has a very strong foundation.
    Bruce: Excellent guiding principles.
    Bruce: Wonderful people.
    Bruce: That's why I never go anywhere else in SL.
    Bruce: I have neither the time nor inclination to go elsewhere.

    Two Poems by Bruce:

    "Forest Chat"

    A week ago I wandered in the wood
    With no intent, instruction, or incline
    Than friendship with the forest as I stood
    Among the willow, sycamore, and pine.
    A giant oak and I had just begun
    A confidential conversation there
    Beside the creek, beneath a shadowed sun,
    When two heroic hunters stopped to stare.
    I only saw them as the ancient oak
    Was branching out beyond his usual themes.
    For fear of interrupting, neither spoke,
    Though wonder on their faces uttered reams.
    The heart of nature speaks to one who hears
    Each sapling sing the music of the spheres.

    -- by Bruce Mowbray 6-8-10

    Sonnet - "In Praise of 90-Second Breaks"

    There lies in every crude and common crag
    An opening through which to find and flag
    The cosmos down - in wordless wonder's wake.
    A brief hiatus, hole, or bonnie break
    That naughty Nature notches everywhere
    To catch our contemplations unaware.
    And in serenely self-determined mode
    Each one of us will find herself abode
    Therein. A hermitage, an inward home,
    Through which imagination's stallions roam
    Unbridled. Nature made it so in every bind,
    Specific speckle, particle, and mind.
    A penetrating argument for Grace:
    That puny perforations offer space! -

    - July 15, 2010 - by Bruce Mowbray

     
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