Chapter 30a: Agatha Macbeth

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    Agatha and I met in the old teahouse at the Zen Retreat.  We chose the site after Agatha had mentioned she wished she had been there at the beginning of PaB. Our discussion in the cozy space of the teahouse had the feel of one of those early indoor sessions. I learned some things I did not know about Agatha. One of the things was how well versed Agatha is on PaB history.

    Agatha interview_012a.jpg

    Adams Rubble: It is nice to have this chance to talk to you again
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Yes. I love it here
    Adams Rubble: and nice to be in the teahouse again too
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Only 7 cushions wow
    Adams Rubble: It is an intimate space
    Adams Rubble: that was why they built the bigger pavilion
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth) nods
    Adams Rubble: but we used to meet outside on benches when groups were larger
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Yes. I remember from the logs
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Still Dakini's?
     Adams Rubble: Yes, Dakini built the second on
    Adams Rubble: If we have time, we can walk over later. It is very close
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Good idea. Still has the bell i think

    We did get to walk over later and Agatha was correct about the bell.

    Adams Rubble: Are you ready to get started?
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Sure

    Agatha interview_005a.jpg

    I asked Agatha how she discovered PaB?

    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Completely by accident! To be honest I had never heard of SL and only had a passing knowledge of virtual worlds at all. I certainly don't recall any reference to it in the PC and gamers' mags to which I then subscribed. So when I came across these pictures from the Marketplace (or X Street as I think it was then) I wondered what on earth this could be about and was intrigued enough to jump in and find out. I wasn't too impressed by the male avatars, they all looked like complete dorks, so I chose one of the girls instead and named her for someone I knew in RL. That's how I started, with a bare minimum of seriousness and not having any idea what to expect. I think my initial plan was to just nose around for a bit and leave, instead of which I kept on coming back and spending more and more time here. I spent about three days on the orientation island, learning how to walk, run, jump, type, and I was amazed to discover I could fly! Then I TPed to the mainland and landed at Hanja Infohub just south of Bieup. Not knowing where to go I simply chose north and walked (or rather waddled, I hadn't discovered AOs yet) and found Storm's old observatory and the Kwan Yin terraces. Then I found the balloon (it was all a bit like the Wizard of Oz) and it landed me at the pavilion, where as luck would have it there was a session in progress. Wol asked me to join them, and I ran away! (I believe the exchange is still in the log, I appear as Visitor 1 or something). After that I kept trying to hide on the roof to listen to what was going on, and Wol kept on seeing me and IMing me :p Eventually after about the fourth time I felt confident enough to come down and join in. Dunno if I was persistent or just plain nosey...
    Adams Rubble: wow, quite a story :)
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth) smiles
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Nearly 4 years ago
    Adams Rubble: Pema wanted the pavilion close to the welcoming center so that new avatars would find it
    Adams Rubble: It certainly worked in your case :)
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): It did indeed. And I'm duly grateful!. Tho i doubt many of the arrivals from Hanja have stayed that long...
    Adams Rubble: :) No they haven’t.

    I then asked Agatha what has kept her coming to sessions?

    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): In a word...the people (sorry, two words). PaB is certainly quite unlike anything else I know in SL and maybe that's why I kept coming back to it even after I had discovered other sims and other groups. In fact PaB and PaB-related stuff has been pretty much Agatha's life. I found Wol and Eliza particularly amazing and wanted to get to know them better. Bleu, Sun and Aph are incredible too, tho they came along later. I wasn't initially sure I felt entirely like I belonged with all these buddhist types, but then I read Wol's blog and her famous 'warthog among butterflies' line and it totally clicked with me. Then there was Pema and Stim of course...I found them intriguing too but in a different way, even if I didn't understand what they were on about much of the time. Storm of course is still a major figure in PaB, albeit largely in the background these days ;-) There were others too initially such as Fael, Sharon, Gaya and Sophia P who made quite an impact, but whom we sadly don't see any more :( Zen, Mick, Ara, Maxine, Pila, Bert and QT were there too, and happily I do still them regularly. My biggest regret is that I wasn't in on PaB at the beginning. I would love to have been in the tea house right from day one and watched the whole thing grow. By the time I arrived things were pretty much set in place.
    Adams Rubble: Yes, I am glad we were able to meet here in the teahouse for this :)
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Indeed :)

    Agatha took a cup of tea and we waited while the script ran through its routine. Aggers (agatha.macbeth): I love talking tea.
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Seems a little *too* chatty for its own good mind
    Adams Rubble: :)

    The next question was what brought Agatha to PaB. I had hoped to draw out some background information and got a very modest answer.

    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Very little! I think the distance down the list of being interviewed is testament to that :p But seriously, that makes me think of the bit in Star Wars where Luke is going into the 'enchanted forest' and he asks Yoda 'What will I find in there?' and he replies 'Only what you take in with you'. I have very little to give, but I give what I have...bit like that widow in the bible ;-). Or to quote Eliza: 'breaking tensions...livening discussions...and stepping in so gracefully when I falter....being sweet to people...little details... like Eden typing from bed....was noticing that the other day.' I do what I can.
    Adams Rubble: I think most of us have felt overwhelmed at time in PaB
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth) smiles
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Right. it can be an overwhelming experience. Especially at first
    Adams Rubble: Meeting here brings me closer to my first days and how naive and ignorant I was
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Like Kwai Chang
    Adams Rubble: who is Kwai Chang?
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): 'That is a beginning'
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Caine
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): from Kung Fu
    Adams Rubble: ohhh
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): David Carradine. Pre-wardrobe ;-)

    I then asked: On environment: What effect does meeting in a virtual world have on Play as Being?

    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Good heavens I'm really not sure....[thinks]....I think it's fair to say PaB is a lot easier in SL than it would be in RL. Could it even be done in RL? I honestly don't know. I think it's a very good thing that people from all over the world can sit in a pavilion and Bieup and communicate with each other, certainly a lot easier than organising RL retreats. Plus you can sneak off during the break and make a cup of tea and go to the toilet ;-) Maybe it's also easier for people to be honest as an avatar than they would be in RL.
    Adams Rubble: :) to sneaking off
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Ha
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): I think a few do that on the quiet
    Adams Rubble: That is a nice answer
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Aww [grin]. TY. Best i could think of!
    Adams Rubble: Of course membersof PaB has met a few times in RL but only after meeting in SL first
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth) nods.
    Adams Rubble: I don't know how it would have gone for me if we had met in RL before SL. Adams Rubble is more comfortable in a group than my RL avatar.
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Has Pema not done it the other way round too?. Met people in RL first?
    Adams Rubble: actually he met some people in RL before PaB, yes
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth) nods. Thought so
    Adams Rubble: Stim, Caledonia, Genesis, Riddle to name a few
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Right
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Sadly we don't see much of the Kira crowd now.

    Adams Rubble: Yes, it is sad some have moved on. I feel good about those who have taken things from PaB with them but feel very sad about those who left angry or sad or disappointed
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Yes, very true
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): But there's always the chance they may return one day
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Un bel di
    Adams Rubble: I would love to interview some of the PaB alumni for the Chronicles on what they have taken with them
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Yes, that would be good

    Agatha interview_011a.jpg

    Moving on…”What is the most meaningful practice of Play as Being to you?

    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Hm, I much prefer the meditational side of it to the philosophical stuff. The latter I just find boring. I like it when Eliza has 'mini-retreats' on Mondays and hope there will be more in-world retreats in SL.
    Adams Rubble: me too :)
     Aggers (agatha.macbeth): I seem to keep missing the inworld retreats for one reason and another, usually RL :(
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): But I think they definitely have a part to play
    Adams Rubble: It is too bad the RL retreats did not get to you

    I like to ask everyone this: What the question what I missed that they would have asked themselves? This was the next question

    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): I think I would like to know where PaB will go and how and if it will continue to develop. Five years is a long time in SL and I think its longevity emphasises what a unique institution it is. I find it particularly amazing that it has in effect outlasted its creator and taken on a life of its own, and again I think that's really down to the people who make it. Maybe we will see more 'side shoots' like Darren's Original Face sessions. Like I said I really wished I'd been here at the beginning, perhaps we could have some meditations in the old locations outside of the usual sessions?

    We had been zipping along here and I wanted to ask a big question

    Adams Rubble: In PaB we "play as Being". We have exercises like APAPB (Appre4ciate the Presentation of Appearance as the Presence of Being) and YSBS (You See, Being Sees). Pema purposely left open the definition of Being for each of to fill in ourselves. What is your idea of what Being is?
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): You know I never really understood what all that meant, and I'm afraid I still don't :p. As far as I'm concerned what is is and what is not is not, I really can't see any more beyond that. Perhaps one day somebody will enlighten me! Heh.
    Adams Rubble: :)

    Adams Rubble: When I am in my Christian mode I think of Being as God
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth) nods. I think that might be the way many think of it
    Adams Rubble: At other times I think of it as everything
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Well perhaps God and everything amount to the same thing
    Adams Rubble: Sometimes I think in terms of everyone who had ever lived and will live
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): 'All and Everything' ;-)
    Adams Rubble: yes what are words?
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): It's only words
    Adams Rubble: they fail when we think about Being
     Aggers (agatha.macbeth): But words are all I have
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Etc.
    Adams Rubble: all any of us have :)
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Yeh
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Didn't think I'd be quoting the bee Gees in this!
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Adams Rubble: I really do appreciate your sitting down with me
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): I appreciate you wasting your time on me :D. I love it here
    Adams Rubble: My Chronicles job has been the best job in PaB because I get to learn things about people I did not know :)
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Yes, I can imagine
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): I think I've read them all. Especially the founder ones

    We then chatted about the Zen Retreat and the character of Rieul and Mieum. Being back in the teahouse, I also began to think of sessions I had attended in the teahouse and did some reminiscing. I was again surprised when Agatha knew about those sessions. We talked about dogs, pavilions, autologgers and koans. We then walked over to the pavilion and spend a few minutes sitting there. Unfortunately much of the talk there was about a technical problem I am having. I mentioned that one of the things I missed about not attending PaB regularly was all the technical help I received there. I almost was unaware of the bell when it rang at the hour.

    Agatha interview_017a.jpg

    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): Ah the bell :)
    Adams Rubble: :) yes the bell is still on. Wow!
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): I remember the original recorder sat on this table... A pyramid.
    Adams Rubble: oh yes. Were you here then?
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): No, I read the logs
    Adams Rubble: hehe
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth): It was a good year before I arrived
    Adams Rubble: I knew something was missing from the table but could not remember what
    Aggers (agatha.macbeth) smiles

    With that it was time to get back to our other world. I left most appreciative of the conversation and the memories.

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    I look like I should be saying 'Just like that' :p
    Posted 12:45, 23 Aug 2013
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