2008.04.11 19:00 - The Joy of Texting

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    Last year I have spent quite a lot of time in Qwaq Forums, where we were holding meetings for our Ways of Knowing group. This evening, one of our members there, Zenon Sideways, joined me at the tea house. One of the things we discussed was the use of text only during our Play as Being sessions. This is in stark contrast with what we were used to do in Qwaq, were voice was the medium of choice.

    Zenon Sideways: It’s a serious handicap to not be able to speak (auditorially)
    Pema Pera: not necessarily
    Pema Pera: let me list a few reasons
    Zenon Sideways: okay
    Pema Pera: 1) when there is a group, then with voice typically two or three people dominate and others are more likely to listen because they do not get visual cues as to when to speak up — so the quieter types almost do not speak at all.
    Pema Pera: In contrast, when we use text, several people can type at once, and then we can follow each thread
    Pema Pera: So I have by now seen in many cases, time and again, that with texting there is much more variety in people willing to speak up
    Pema Pera: We have seen that drawback in Qwaq too.
    Zenon Sideways: Interesting observation, but I can’t type well.
    Pema Pera: 2) when we type, we have to think more carefully about what we say; we can’t just blurt things out randomly, since that would take too much time. Each thing you say is on average more thought out.
    Pema Pera: 3) you get a log. This is very important. Others can read what was discussed even if they were not there. Did you have a look at my blog http://playasbeing.wordpress.com
    Pema Pera: 4) there is a sense of serenity involved with typing
    Pema Pera: but I am not the only one who has experienced it. Many people have echoed that experience.
    Pema Pera: That last part is hard to quantify
    Zenon Sideways: When I hold down the talk key it shows sounds coming from my avatar…
    Pema Pera: yes, it is possible to talk in SL
    Pema Pera: But for all these reasons we have decided to stick to text only.
    Zenon Sideways: This might be an interesting working hypothesis to test out. I am not at all confortanble typing.
    Pema Pera: perhaps it will be a matter of getting used to?
    Zenon Sideways: Maybe…
    Zenon Sideways: But what’s the value of the beautiful setting if all we do is a chat session?
    Pema Pera: well, I have tried to answer that with my four points . . .
    Zenon Sideways: There must be individual differences in what people are comfotable with. In qwaq I felt I was actually talking to particular people I saw. Now so here.
    Pema Pera: We have been talking in Qwaq for almost a year now, but there is almost no visible product of all those discussions . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . what I am trying to do on my blog here is to produce more explicit material.
    Zenon Sideways: Well I am willing to give it a try…
    Pema Pera: Perhaps you can have a look; some of the entries are striking, I think, and rival the best quality conversations we have had in Qwaq
    Pema Pera: The Qwaq ones are now a vague memory . . . . and these ones will stay
    Zenon Sideways: Is it better than emaiil?
    Pema Pera: ten years from now somebody can read them and learn from them
    Pema Pera: absolutely
    Pema Pera: response time between emails is hours to days
    Pema Pera: here response is seconds to at most a minute or so
    Pema Pera: So in half an hour you can cover a lot
    Zenon Sideways: When I send out a message (as I just did) that says “now” when I meant “not” it makes me uncomfo=rtable. And this too!
    Pema Pera: One etiquette is to correct as follosw
    Pema Pera: *follows
    Pema Pera: by repeating a word with a * in front
    Pema Pera: that is all a matter of getting used to.
    Zenon Sideways: As I say, I am willing to give it a try.

    Since Zenon had some problems with his computer he switched to a different one. That gave me a chance to stroll around a bit, and doing so I ran into Solobill Laville.
    I summarized for him what we are doing here, three times a day.

    Pema Pera: Hi Solobill
    Pema Pera: I like your beginner’s mind quote on your profile!
    Solobill Laville: lol…Thanks!
    Solobill Laville: Suzuki is great, just the basics
    Pema Pera: yes, I know
    Pema Pera: Solobill, I recently started a new experiment here
    Solobill Laville: I saw that.
    Solobill Laville: Do tell.
    Pema Pera: I’d be happy to.
    Pema Pera: on http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Pema Pera: A rather unusual variation on meditation
    Pema Pera: 9 seconds every 15 minutes
    Pema Pera: I started on April 1st since it seemed like a joke
    Solobill Laville: Can you explain 9 seconds every 15 minutes more?
    Pema Pera: The idea is that many people think they have no time for half an hour meditation every day
    Pema Pera: so . . .
    Pema Pera: I decided to trade duration for frequency and continuity
    Solobill Laville: Interesting, any results so far?
    Pema Pera: Roughly every quarter of an hour
    Pema Pera: take a break, drop what you’re doing for just 9 seconds, roughly, take a breath
    Pema Pera: and effectively poke a hole in your conditioning
    Pema Pera: You can then practice 99% of the time being a limited needy human being
    Pema Pera: and 1 % of the time you practice being Being
    Pema Pera: and the latter, being infinitely more powerful
    Pema Pera: may take over ;>)
    Solobill Laville: I think Thich would love that, a little practice all the time!
    Pema Pera: YES!
    Pema Pera: Thich would love it, for sure
    Pema Pera: Solo, so far we’ve had some really good conversations

    We then talked a bit about the background of Play as Being, and how it all got started here.

    Solobill Laville: Is this primarily your experiment, have others tried it with you?
    Pema Pera: it is totally new
    Pema Pera: I dreamt it up
    Pema Pera: or more accurately
    Pema Pera: it dreamt me up
    Pema Pera: ;>)
    Solobill Laville: lol
    Solobill Laville: Very cool
    Pema Pera: I’ve been experimenting with something roughly similar for several decades
    Pema Pera: but never in the frequency domain, always in the duration domain
    Pema Pera: but it seems to be taylored to the modern world
    Pema Pera: cell phones email all that
    Pema Pera: why not ;>)
    Pema Pera: but it has to be zen like
    Pema Pera: start at the end
    Pema Pera: the goal is the path
    Pema Pera: it cannot be a gradual path
    Solobill Laville: This could be measured in terms of results of people giving it a go.
    Pema Pera: yes, we’ll see
    Solobill Laville: Measurements of happiness, peacefulness, etc.
    Pema Pera: yes, indeed
    Pema Pera: so far so good
    Pema Pera: in the first ten days!
    Solobill Laville: Impressive!
    Solobill Laville: Yeah, sorry, I’m in a research mood…
    Pema Pera: you should be!
    Pema Pera: I see this as research
    Pema Pera: very much
    Pema Pera: so I tell people
    Pema Pera: during the 9 seconds
    Pema Pera: take notes
    Pema Pera: write down a few words
    Pema Pera: whatever comes up
    Pema Pera: don’t analyze
    Pema Pera: but look at it later
    Pema Pera: keep a journal
    Pema Pera: mostly it is to make a gesture
    Pema Pera: to reinforce the poking of holes
    Pema Pera: bigger holes with a pen ;>)
    Solobill Laville: 9 seconds is’nt much time, though, is it…
    Solobill Laville: But with frequency…
    Solobill Laville: you may gradually overcome the buzzing in the mind?
    Pema Pera: yes, that’s exactly the idea
    Pema Pera: like walking in the fog
    Pema Pera: and slowly getting drenched
    Pema Pera: to the bone
    Pema Pera: hopefully
    Solobill Laville: The “Ice Age” metaphor - a little over a long time does big things perhaps.
    Pema Pera: yeah

    We continued our conversation, walked over to the Hall of Appearance, and after that Solo invited me over to his place.

    Solobill Laville: So, Pema Pera sounds very Tibetan…
    Pema Pera: yeah, took Pema = lotus in Tibetan, wanted to have a short name, and alliterated with Pera ;)
    Solobill Laville: Yeah, smart and cool, I blew it on the short name…lol
    Pema Pera: we all have no idea about names when we enter . . . .
    Pema Pera: it should be the last thing to choose!
    Solobill Laville: Are you on your own here?
    Pema Pera: in what way?
    Solobill Laville: Did Dakini help you get started I mean.
    Pema Pera: ah, yes, Dakini helped me
    Pema Pera: I’m meeting for now in the tea house
    Pema Pera: that she built
    Pema Pera: But Storm is helping me build bigger buildings
    Pema Pera: since soon we won’t fit in the tea house
    Solobill Laville: That’s great!
    Pema Pera: A month ago I happened to stumble on the zazen sessions here
    Pema Pera: talked with Dakini
    Pema Pera: came a few times
    Pema Pera: told her about my PaB plans
    Pema Pera: Play as Being
    Pema Pera: and she immediately offered me the use of the tea house
    Pema Pera: She had built it, she said, hoping there would be people coming to put it to good use
    Pema Pera: well, I came :)
    Solobill Laville: Great! I’ve sat in there a few times.
    Pema Pera: And then I bought some land here
    Pema Pera: shall I show you the bigger building?
    Pema Pera: we can walk over from here
    Solobill Laville: Yes, i’ll follow

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