2008.06.23 01:00 - A 4th Stage

    Table of contents
    No headers

    That night, 1 am SLT, Fael was already in the pavilion when I arrived.

    Pema Pera: Hi Fael!
    Fael Illyar: Hello
    Pema Pera: I’m still playing with my camera controls
    Pema Pera: getting used to the new environment
    Faenik: ah :)
    Fael Illyar: these morning (well, to me) sessions really aren’t too popular :)
    Pema Pera: afternoon for me
    Pema Pera: yes, Americans are still dominating PaB, for now :)
    Pema Pera: at least I think that’s the reason
    Fael Illyar: could be :)
    Faenik: why not?
    Fael Illyar: I was talking with Adams about your 3 stages yesterday and got quite confused thinking which I might be at :)
    Pema Pera: although we have a fair number of non-Americans, perhaps 1/4 of the group?
    Pema Pera: haha, I’m sorry to have brought up the notion . . . .
    Pema Pera: it was meant as a rough idea, not to be taken precisely
    Pema Pera: in fact, I just told Adams by email:
    Pema Pera: “you probably shouldn’t take them too seriously. You may find yourself moving in between 1 and 2, or 2 and 3, sometimes even on a daily basis (remembering initial enthusiasm of 1; tasting a balance of 3; then stepping back a bit again as in 2; etc). The important point is to gradually get comfortable in 3.”
    Fael Illyar: although if it’s stage 2, that’d explain why I’m not advancing much. I do come to a lot of meetings still but outside the meetings, I haven’t spent much time on it.
    Pema Pera: advance is very hard to measure in anything to do with contemplation
    Fael Illyar: but yes, I’ve been jumping back and forth between stages I think
    Pema Pera: yes, and I think that is as it should be
    Fael Illyar: Well, at least I haven’t had much “feeling” of advancement lately :)
    Faenik: ah :)

    I’m trying to summarize how I see the notion of “stages”.

    Pema Pera: the term “stages” is just an artifact, mostly to remind you not to be discouraged during something that could losely be termed stage 2
    Pema Pera: As for feeling of advancement
    Pema Pera: It is great to have an initial feeling like that
    Pema Pera: to fuel the fire
    Pema Pera: to keep you going
    Pema Pera: but the real advancement cannot be recognized that way
    Pema Pera: only very much later will you be able to see, and then only roughly,
    Pema Pera: what it was that let you see more and more and how
    Pema Pera: Here is the problem, as I see it:
    Pema Pera: normally, we learn by addition, and addition is easy to measure
    Pema Pera: you can measure progress in learning languages, playing musical instruments, etc
    Pema Pera: but here we lean by subtraction, and that is far more difficult to measure
    Faenik: indeed?
    Pema Pera: perhaps the main problem is really this:
    Pema Pera: when you learn by addition, a kind of saturation sets in
    Pema Pera: you move up but then the curve flattens out
    Pema Pera: I wish I had a blackboard to show this
    Pema Pera: but in contemplative studies it is the other way around
    Pema Pera: but when you learn by subtraction, at first you don’t see progress
    Pema Pera: adding a little bit to zero is very satisfactory: you learn to say something in a new language! you learn to make some sound on a new instrument!
    Fael Illyar: it’s like logarithmic curve? addition that is?
    Pema Pera: but subtracting a little bit to what is a lot is barely noticeable
    Pema Pera: only after quite a while do you see that something is changing
    Fael Illyar: and subtraction is more like a negative exponential?
    Pema Pera: yes, indeed!
    Pema Pera: I see what you mean

    Yes, if you draw curves of what you could losely call progress, as a function of time, then in the case of learning by addition it would look more like a logarithmic curve, and in the case of subtraction more like an exponential curve. I would have drawn both as rising curves, but it would turn out that Fael prefered to draw the subtraction curve with negative values, which also made sense. That then would become the negative version of an exponential.

    Pema Pera: hummm, would there be any way to draw a curve here?
    Pema Pera: we could rearrange cushions :-)
    Pema Pera: or walk in a curve :)
    Faenik: why not?
    Fael Illyar: there are scripted objects that draw curves :)
    Pema Pera: yeah, have to learn that soonish
    Pema Pera: anyway, yes, a saturation curve looks logarithmic
    Pema Pera: for additive learning
    Pema Pera: and for subtractive learning
    Pema Pera: it looks more like an exponential.
    Pema Pera: so the result is that I now feel that I am learning a lot, each week, often even each day
    Pema Pera: while in the past it was more like each month or longer
    Fael Illyar: I see, that really is a bit hard on the motivation at first :)
    Pema Pera: YES!
    Pema Pera: that is the main reason that subtractive learning seems so boring
    Pema Pera: Face a wall sitting
    Pema Pera: what fun is that :-)
    Fael Illyar: I haven’t felt it boring yet
    Pema Pera: that’s wonderful, Fael!
    Fael Illyar: strangely
    Fael Illyar: I used to get bored easily. Doesn’t happen anymore.
    Pema Pera: it may be a matter of character, temperament, DNA, karma, who knows what :>)
    Pema Pera: Buddhist would say karma
    Pema Pera: I am agnostic as to how to interpret it
    Pema Pera: but very clearly different people react very differently
    Fael Illyar: I prefer not to use terms I’m uncertain of :)
    Pema Pera: same here
    Pema Pera: I try to restrict myself to what I can see, in some way
    Pema Pera: (see as in mathematics)
    Fael Illyar: Well, I’m quite mathematically oriented too :)
    Pema Pera: So a community has two functions, for subtractive learning.
    Pema Pera: where for additive learning there is only one function
    Pema Pera: The shared function in both is to exchange ideas, hints, insights, knowledge
    Pema Pera: but in the subtractive approach there is the mutual support in helping each other to continue, even when it seems that almost nothing is being gained
    Pema Pera: or being lost for that matter

    I suddenly got inspiration to add an extra stage to the three that I had introduced before.

    Pema Pera: Maybe I should introduce a 4th stage
    Pema Pera: as you said we both like math
    Pema Pera: and arithmatic being part of math, we can add #4 :)
    Pema Pera: it would then be:
    Pema Pera: 1) initial excitement of something totally new and different
    Pema Pera: 2) set-back, busy with RL, wondering whether this is really worth continuing to spend much time on
    Pema Pera: 3) finding a balance, enjoying the group, the company, the conversations, while setting into a state with less expectations
    Pema Pera: 4) beginning to see enough to speed up the subtracting, and getting into a kind of “final excitment” more like 1)
    Faenik: could be
    Pema Pera: final meaning that from then on it continues by its own lights, under its own steam, Being doing it rather than you
    Pema Pera: If you clean dirty windows, at first wiping doesn’t seem to make much difference
    Pema Pera: but by the time you have cleaned away most of the dirt
    Pema Pera: even a bit of wiping makes a lot of difference, and makes you see a lot more detail
    Pema Pera: that’s an other way of indicating that subtracting becomes faster and easier as you go along
    Pema Pera: does all that makes some sense?
    Fael Illyar: Yes, it does
    Pema Pera: Another way, mathematically speaking
    Pema Pera: to indicate what I have experienced
    Pema Pera: is that I can say, at least for the last ten years or so
    Pema Pera: that I have learned “half of what I know now” in the last half year
    Pema Pera: which means that progress is exponential
    Pema Pera: (difficult to define “half” of course, but a rough feeling)
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Pema Pera: if anything “half year” is shrinking, more like a few months, lately — may be even faster than exponential
    Pema Pera: But of course, these are just midnight musings not to be taken too seriously . . . but they do convey a flavor
    Fael Illyar: I never take things without a grain of salt :)
    Pema Pera: good for you!
    Fael Illyar: although, that grain of salt might not be enough ;)
    Pema Pera: :>)
    Faenik: ah :)
    Pema Pera: Sorry to talk so much
    Pema Pera: but if you like, I can give you a hint to simulate being in stage 4 . . . .
    Fael Illyar: Sure

    While I was still talking, Fael had started to rezz some objects, accompanied by colored numbers appearing in mid air. Just after he started, Caspian walked in.

    Pema Pera is very curious watching Fael creating many red numbers in mid air
    Faenik: why not?
    Pema Pera: Hi Gaspian!
    Fael Illyar: Hello Caspian
    Caspian Inglewood: what up family!
    Caspian Inglewood: so how ya’ll doin?
    Caspian Inglewood: lol
    Pema Pera: oh just chatting
    Pema Pera: and how are you?
    Caspian Inglewood: I hear that sista
    Caspian Inglewood: I’m doin’ okay, lookin’ for church wine money and stuff
    Caspian Inglewood: you know
    Pema Pera: I may not know . . . .
    Caspian Inglewood: heh heh
    Caspian Inglewood: what, you never drink the saki?
    Caspian Inglewood: couldn’t find the Seung Sahn outfit
    Caspian Inglewood: so i settled on a priest
    Caspian Inglewood: anyway, guess I’m annoying ya
    Caspian Inglewood: later

    After Caspian left, I completed my thought about the fourth stage.

    Pema Pera: So, Fael, one way to get a taste for stage 4
    Pema Pera: (and I’m speaking here very roughly, please take several grains of salt)
    Pema Pera: is to play close attention when you wake up
    Pema Pera: don’t move
    Pema Pera: don’t start to think about the things you want to do that day
    Pema Pera: try to stay at the brink of waking and sleeping
    Pema Pera: try to postpone just a bit your “rezzing” in RL :-)
    Fael Illyar: I think I’ve done that :)
    Pema Pera: In RL too, when we wake up, we dress ourselves up, in body, in self, in world
    Pema Pera: Great, can you say a bit more about that?
    Fael Illyar: hmmh… I find it quite hard to put anything to words.
    Pema Pera: I know
    Pema Pera: because it is outside our realm of thoughts and words and dichotomies
    Fael Illyar: I used to stay there for a while every morning a few years back.
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Pema Pera: well, that gives you a sense of stage 4 then — and the best way to do the 9-sec practice is to become naked that way, like waking up in the morning; that’s what I roughly tried to point at with the words stopping and dropping
    Pema Pera: I described 4) as the “final” excitement
    Pema Pera: crucial to PaB is that we start at the end
    Pema Pera: integration before meditation for example
    Pema Pera: what seems like the goal of other approaches is for us the starting point
    Pema Pera: so in one way of speaking there may be four stages
    Pema Pera: but the 9-sec practice invites you to take a shortcut, and to start with the final 4) right away . . . .
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Pema Pera: and if all goes well, relatively speaking, you will learn to stick to that 4) sense for the full 15 minutes
    Pema Pera: initially 9 seconds is already wonderful
    Pema Pera: and powerful
    Fael Illyar: :)

    Meanwhile, Fael had started to draw out a curve, a Bezier curve as it turned out.

    Fael Illyar: ok, lets see if this works :)
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Fael Illyar: well, it does something :)
    Fael Illyar: copy&paste code from lslwiki library :)
    Pema Pera is mesmerized by the orbit with trails of light grey balls . . ..
    Pema Pera: splines?
    bezier curve server: Markers off
    bezier curve server: Lines on
    Pema Pera: bezier
    Pema Pera: naruhodo
    Fael Illyar: well, not exactly what you wanted I guess :)
    Fael Illyar: but I’ve sort wanted to see what this thing does :)
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Pema Pera: I do get the idea, though
    Fael Illyar: 3d curves :)
    Fael Illyar: well, only one segment it seems
    Fael Illyar: plus uses quite a few prims
    Fael Illyar: I guess this is the curve you mean for the subtractive learning?
    Pema Pera: a bit difficult to see — just a moment
    Pema Pera: hmm
    Pema Pera: where is the baseline?
    Pema Pera: vertical?
    Fael Illyar: well, I was thinking blue ball for starting point :)
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: ah, and then moving down
    Pema Pera: okay!
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: progress measured as moving down, right?
    Fael Illyar: yes
    Pema Pera: I was thinking as progress in the vertical direction, but of course either way is fine :)

    So here was the mirrored exponential, moving down from the original, and then going down faster and faster.

    Pema Pera: I’m impressed you could visualize it here
    Pema Pera: making it up out of thin air!
    Fael Illyar: just cut&pasting code others have made and placed freely available :)
    Pema Pera: but knowing where to find what to cut & paste how, there’s the mastership . . . . :)
    Fael Illyar: well, there were instructions for that too :P
    Fael Illyar: and additive learning would be if you take red ball as the starting point
    Pema Pera: let me see whether I get that last part
    Pema Pera: same curve?
    Pema Pera: or is the green ball involved?
    Fael Illyar: the green ball tells the curve which direction to bend in
    Pema Pera: Ah!
    Pema Pera: So this is the subtraction curve now?
    Pema Pera: from blue to red?
    Fael Illyar: yes, and wouldn’t from red to blue be the addition curve then?
    Pema Pera: and the addition curve from red to blue?
    Pema Pera: yes, I see
    Faenik: why not?
    Pema Pera: roughly i.e. qualitatively yes
    Pema Pera: nice!
    Fael Illyar: this could use some refining to be easier to use but it works :)
    Pema Pera: well, that was fun, indeed, and useful!
    Pema Pera: In Qwaq we have a whiteboard
    Pema Pera: you can draw on it using your cursor
    Pema Pera: I wonder whether somewhere in SL there wouldn’t be something similar
    Pema Pera: but in fact, doing it in 3D has it’s charms too
    Pema Pera: even more “real” in some sense :)
    Fael Illyar: that sort of thing is possible but uses quite a few prims
    Fael Illyar: needs a prim for every pixel
    Pema Pera: wow!
    Pema Pera: yes, bezier curves are more economical then
    Pema Pera: like vector graphics instead of pixel graphics
    Fael Illyar: yes
    Fael Illyar: textures cannot be created with scripts so it has to be done with prims
    Fael Illyar: although, the next client has the capability to show webpages on prims with the built in web-browser
    Pema Pera: here is an idea: you could make a type of abacus, with one ball at each sliding pole
    Pema Pera: and then draw a curve placing each ball in the right position
    Fael Illyar: yes, that’s one way to do it.
    Pema Pera: using N pixels rather than N^2
    Fael Illyar: only works for curves though :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: not graphs
    Pema Pera: well, I probably should get going soon
    Fael Illyar: Ok, see you later :)
    Pema Pera: yes, thanks for the fun demo and chat!

    Tag page (Edit tags)
    • No tags
    You must login to post a comment.
    Powered by MindTouch Core