2008.10.02 19:00 - Going with the flow versus living deliberately

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    The guardian of this meeting was Sylectra Darwin. The comments are hers. 

    Adelene Dawner: ^.^

    Sylectra Darwin: hey Adelene!

    Sylectra Darwin: how are you?

    Adelene Dawner: good :)

    Adelene Dawner: half elsewhere; writing a blog post. :)

    Adelene Dawner: Three and I had a very good talk last night.

    Sylectra Darwin: that's okay; were early

    Adelene Dawner: (Three puts it very aptly: I teach him about 'absolute' stuff, he reaches me about relative' stuff. ^.^)

    Sylectra Darwin: absolute, relative, good!

    Adelene Dawner: might be just us, tonight, with the debates.

    Sylectra Darwin: hmmm... I wonder where the peeps are?

    Adelene Dawner: Watching Palin chew on her feet. ^.-

    Sylectra Darwin: haha yes

    Sylectra Darwin: So are you watching the Palin fest?

    Adelene Dawner: Nope. I'm pretty certain that I'm not going to vote at all, so why bother? I hear more than enough about that stuff already, just going about my 'net-based business.

    Sylectra Darwin: i know exactly what you mean!

    Adelene Dawner: I always say that having the election be *over* and not having to listen to it any more is a nice birthday present that reality gives me every few years. (My birthday's Nov. 10th.)


    Corvus joined us in the pavilion.

    Adelene Dawner: Hi Corvus :)

    Sylectra Darwin: November 10, does that make you a Sagittarius?

    Sylectra Darwin: Hello Corvus!

    Adelene Dawner: Scoprio, actually.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi, Adelene.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi Sylectra

    Adelene Dawner: (and yes, I am very much a Scorpio. ^.^)

    Sylectra Darwin: aha, scorpio!

    Sylectra Darwin: So Adelene, what did you find so interesting about your convo with ThreeDee last night?

    Adelene Dawner: well, we were talking about 'building a life' - having a career and actually *picking* a lifestyle instead of going with whatever random things come one's way.

    Adelene Dawner: It's an area that I've always found a bit mystifying.

    Sylectra Darwin: Living deliberately?

    Adelene Dawner: Sounds like good words for it, Syl.

    Sylectra Darwin: At what point does it become a life by deliberate design versus following the flow.

    Sylectra Darwin: ?

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: How does one do both?

    Adelene Dawner: I'm not sure I want to get into the whole story of why, but I pretty came out of childhood/teenagerhood believing that it was impossible and more than a little dangerous to set and work toward achieving goals as far as lifestyle stuff.

    Adelene Dawner: Which is a fairly extreme answer to the question you're asking.

    Sylectra Darwin: Actually I get that.

    Adelene Dawner: (That's not the only factor, but it is *a* factor in why I never learned to drive.)

    Sylectra Darwin: That's an interesting detail, Adelene

    Sylectra Darwin: So in your life, you had to learn to let go of control?

    Adelene Dawner: Not even that. I never thought I was in control in the first place.

    Sylectra Darwin: aha.

    Sylectra Darwin: Well up to this point I have lived my life totally in control...

    Sylectra Darwin: and I am just getting to the point of enjoying a little randomness.

    Adelene Dawner: And now... being an adult is kind of freaky. I don't scare easily, and just going with the flow does still *work*, but it doesn't work very *well*.

    Adelene Dawner: ('just' is an important word there)

    Sylectra Darwin: just is a very important word.

    Sylectra Darwin: It's a year for new beginnings.

    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm

    Sylectra Darwin: :)

    Sylectra Darwin: But is anything truly random?

    Adelene Dawner: Three's been poking at me, in a good way, to learn that there's other options than *just* going with the flow. But it's a hard thing to be learning from scratch at my point in life. Hi Steve :)

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hiya, Stevenia.

    Sylectra Darwin: My subconscious tends to drive me into situations without my knowledge.

    Sylectra Darwin: Hi Steven!


    Nostrum Forder entered the pavilion and jumped right into the conversation.

    Sylectra Darwin: Hi Nostrum!

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hiya, Nostrum

    Nostrum Forder: hi folks

    Sylectra Darwin: Sorry guys I have some lag today.

    Adelene Dawner: Yes, Syl - I consider that part of 'going with the flow'. Not every stimulus that we react to is external, but reacting to an internal stimulus is still *reacting*, not *acting*.

    Adelene Dawner: 'acting' seems very closely related to 'should' - a word that I rarely-to-never use.

    Sylectra Darwin: Wow, that is an interesting idea.

    Nostrum Forder: Is action really possible?

    Nostrum Forder: In some absolute sense, the universe we experience is a continuous stream of casuality.

    Nostrum Forder: Everything is a reaction to something else.

    Adelene Dawner: true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, true and false and meaningless in some sense, Nostrum.

    Adelene Dawner: ^.^

    Nostrum Forder: I'm sorry to sound sectarian, but I'm drawing on my experience with neo-orthodoxy in Christianity.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Adelene....how is acting related to should?

    Adelene Dawner: Reacting is basically simple cause and effect. This happens, so that happens. Acting isn't. Acting is 'this should happen, so I will do that to make it happen'.

    Nostrum Forder: But acting isn't limited to should.

    Nostrum Forder: "This should happen, but I choose to make that happen instead."

    Adelene Dawner: It depends on what sense of 'acting' you're talking about, Nostrum.

    Adelene Dawner: and why would you make 'that' happen, if you didn't think that it *should* happen more than 'this' should?

    Nostrum Forder: because I don't act purely out of obligation.

    stevenaia Michinaga: back, sorry, phone call, hello all

    Nostrum Forder: Sometimes I act out of desire.

    Nostrum Forder: and if you're going to make a distinction between reacting and acting, then make a real distinction.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: I want...is it the same as I should?

    Sylectra Darwin: wb steven

    Adelene Dawner: ok, 'obligation' and 'desire' are basically rationales behind 'should', as I see it.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: oh.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: hmm

    Adelene Dawner: 'should' is very close in meaning to 'goal'.

    Sylectra Darwin: Yes, the word should implies a desired outcome or expectation

    Sylectra Darwin: Steven, what do you think?

    Adelene Dawner: (of course we can bring in the right/wrong abstractions that Christianity holds so central, and complicate things that way... but I don't think that that's the sense that we usually use 'should' in, here)

    Nostrum Forder: I need to understand "should" as you're using it.

    Sylectra Darwin: I was raised by New Agers who taught me that "should" is a bad thing.

    Sylectra Darwin: Let's see....


    Steven reentered the conversation and was already set to talk about flow.

    stevenaia Michinaga: I realize I came in late.. but has there been any discussion of "fate" as the primary decider of what decisions and opportunities are presented to us...could be part of a "go with the flow" as all there really is is the flow that is before us

    Sylectra Darwin: "Should" is a subjective word summing up an expectation.

    Adelene Dawner: Good, Syl.

    Adelene Dawner: And as to Steve...

    Adelene Dawner: 'go with the flow' is very much an oversimplification in some ways.

    Sylectra Darwin: Yes, Steven - that has not been discussed tonight - good idea.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: expectation and desire are different?

    stevenaia Michinaga: choice is the limiting outcome

    Sylectra Darwin: How are expectation, desire and should different?

    Nostrum Forder: But when "should" is used, it's almost always an *external* expectation.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: but can't one want without expecting?

    Adelene Dawner: my 'flow' right now, and intermittently for the last few years, is that I'm being presented with a choice of two paths... I keep choosing the 'go with the flow'-y one and that path keeps being rough... and that choice is here again with significant pressure for me to choose the *less* flowy path this time.

    Nostrum Forder: OK. and I'm not trying to pick a fight here...

    Nostrum Forder: because, Adelene, I'm personally on a very similar journey...

    Adelene Dawner: ^.^

    Adelene Dawner: Life is complicated. Any simple solution isn't going to always work.

    stevenaia Michinaga: swimming upstream always seems futile to me

    Adelene Dawner: I'm not swimming upstream, Steve.

    Nostrum Forder: but how do you defend your choice to "go with the flow" against the charge that you're merely abdicating, that you're just being passive to avoid responsibility for your choices?

    stevenaia Michinaga: going against the flow?

    Adelene Dawner: I don't, Nostrum. I don't see much need to ever defend anything I do to anyone who wasn't directly involved.

    Sylectra Darwin: What about the third choice?

    Adelene Dawner: Let me give details, Steve... but... third choice, Syl?

    stevenaia Michinaga: not at all, choices and choosing is the active participation, but I usually choose what is within the realm of possible choices

    Nostrum Forder: Well, for what it's worth, I get that criticism a lot, from the people around me who are affected by my decisions.

    Sylectra Darwin: yes.

    Sylectra Darwin: The coin can land on its edge.

    Sylectra Darwin: We can tack halfway into the wind.

    Adelene Dawner: hmm

    Sylectra Darwin: We can stick an arm out of the window of the Prius and make it turn.

    Sylectra Darwin: (Jeff Dunham.)

    Nostrum Forder: and my answer of late comes down to: I have a plethora of choices, but I only have so much eneergy. :)

    stevenaia Michinaga: but choices always provide a direction, not a finality

    stevenaia Michinaga: its' the next step, not a destination

    Sylectra Darwin: Energy does factor into it, as does time.

    Adelene Dawner: You may be talking about what I was considering to be the less-flowy choice, actually, Syl. I utterly refuse to take the 'normal' path with this issue, so I'm not even considering it an option.

    Nostrum Forder: so part of my decision to live intentionally - my own word for it - is to choose carefully where to spend my energy, and to abandon "should" in those places where I choose not to spend it.

    Nostrum Forder: (or, as my spiritual adviser put it, "stop shoulding on yourself.") :)

    Adelene Dawner: Agreed, Nostrum. That's not quite the issue I'm dealing with.

    Adelene Dawner: One of the advantages to being autistic, and especially to having come to terms with it and *knowing* that 'normal' just doesn't work for me is that I'm nearly immune to other people's shoulds.

    Adelene Dawner: This is more about making my own shoulds - my own goals. I kind of have the sense that that might be a good thing to do, but I'm deeply uncertain and, even if I want to, I have very little idea of where to start.

    Sylectra Darwin: That's an interesting perspective, Adelene.

    Sylectra Darwin: So does that encourage you to think about these things objectively?

    Adelene Dawner: which things?


    Mongo joined us in the pavilion.

    Sylectra Darwin: hi Mongo!

    Mongo McGinnis: hi

    Sylectra Darwin: We're talking about going with the flow as opposed to living deliberately - or do we have to choose one or the other?

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hiya, Mongo.

    Nostrum Forder: It may be too fine a semantic point. but if you're not accounting for or reacting to other people's standards, wishes or beliefs, then how are your self-imposed "shoulds" distinguishable from desires?

    Adelene Dawner: Do they need to be, Nostrum?

    Corvuscorva Nightfire frowns.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: I think wanting and expecting are different.

    Nostrum Forder: OK

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: And if should involves expecting...these are different things.

    Nostrum Forder: I'm going to be a bit of a jerk here...

    Nostrum Forder: and say yes, they do need to be.

    Adelene Dawner: Why, Nostrum?

    Nostrum Forder: Because "should" has connotations, and if you use that word in communication, those connotations come with it.

    Sylectra Darwin: Which is how "politically correct" terms came about.

    Nostrum Forder: and if when you say "should" you want it to carry different connotations, the connotations that accompany desire, then use desire

    Nostrum Forder: that's not political correctness, Syl. That's just plain playing by the rules that allow communication.

    Adelene Dawner: I'm not talking about using 'should' in conversation with anyone but myself, and in a very limited sense with this group, and I think that the rest of the group understands what I mean (which is not quite the same as desire in the sense that I think you're using it, either). I can talk more about what I mean by 'should' if that'll help.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: It would help me...as I am struggling very much to understand these concepts.

    Adelene Dawner: ok

    Nostrum Forder: It would be good for me also.

    Sylectra Darwin: go ahead, Adelene.

    Adelene Dawner: I'm talking about 'should' in the sense of a goal... 'I *should* save up money for a house', 'I *should* find a compatible mate to get married to', 'I *should* have kids and raise them well.' The reasons behind those goals can be personal - 'I should save up for a house because I want a house' - or social - 'I should have kids because my mother wants me to'. But no matter what the reason for the goal is, it's still a goal that you're actively trying to achieve.

    Sylectra Darwin: Okay, so you feel that "should" is a step towards a desired outcome?

    Nostrum Forder: i understand, I think.

    Nostrum Forder: "should" here means "I want this outcome, and therefore I oblige myself to take the steps toward it."

    Adelene Dawner: Something like that. If I seriously have a goal of owning a house, for example, then when I'm doing my finances, I 'should' set aside money to save up for a down payment and I 'should' keep my credit good. Actions to do those things aren't reacting to something that's already happened (well, unless you count setting the goal as something that's already happened, which I guess is a valid way of looking at it), they're based on an attempt to achieve a certain thing in the future.

    Nostrum Forder: Did I get close?

    Adelene Dawner: Very close, Nostrum.

    Sylectra Darwin: smiles

    Adelene Dawner: (as in, yes, your words are as close as any I could have found for it. Sorry, I'm being far too literal and exact in my speech today)


    I noticed the time and gave others the opportunity to end the discussion if they wanted to, but most wanted to stay and chat some more.

    Sylectra Darwin: This seems like a great place to end the conversation....

    Sylectra Darwin: unless you all would like to keep going.

    Sylectra Darwin: :)

    Nostrum Forder: no, no, Adelene. I jumped in here in the middle and didn't follow you close enough. My fault.

    Adelene Dawner: no worries, Nostrum.

    Adelene Dawner: :)

    Nostrum Forder: Now that I understand it, I realize it's a concept that St Paul uses, when he talks about us being under no obligation to each other "but the obligation of love"

    Sylectra Darwin: Well i think it was a very lively conversation tonight.

    Adelene Dawner: An interesting thing that I'm seeing as I talk about this is that all shoulds come back to getting something that *we* want - most often, it's social acceptance.

    Sylectra Darwin: Steven, are you out for the evening?

    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, I must go, thank you

    Nostrum Forder: In his context, if the outcome we desire is community, then we "should" act in certain ways that further that community.

    Sylectra Darwin: OK friend, see you soon.

    Adelene Dawner: 'night Steve

    Nostrum Forder: bye, Steven.

    stevenaia Michinaga: out?

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Night Steve

    stevenaia Michinaga: no just moving on

    stevenaia Michinaga: :)

    Mongo McGinnis: good night

    Sylectra Darwin: night Steven!


    Contrasting these terms with what Adelene knew of wu wei brought more insight.

    Adelene Dawner: I'm not surprised at all that it's a familiar concept. It does conflict in some senses with the concept of wu wei - but then I think most people would agree with something Pema told me once, which is that there are some 'areas' in which wu wei isn't relevant.

    Adelene Dawner: hm

    Sylectra Darwin: I guess I missed the discussion of wu wei

    Adelene Dawner: that's a good angle.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods.

    Adelene Dawner: ...that was lag, those lines should have been in the opposite order :P

    Adelene Dawner: Syl, the discussion I'm talking about happened in IM, a while ago.

    Sylectra Darwin: oh, okay

    Sylectra Darwin: can you describe wu wei briefly?

    Adelene Dawner: What Nostrum said has a good clue for me - *if* the outcome we desire is community, *then* we should act in certain ways.

    Adelene Dawner: Syl - Wu wei is 'not doing', possibly better translated as 'not trying'. Its very similar to 'going with the flow'.

    Sylectra Darwin: And how do you feel the concept is limited in its application?

    Nostrum Forder: We've come full circle; another way of looking at wu wei is "natural action," acting in harmony with the flow of events rather than against it.

    Adelene Dawner: Actually, I've personally tended to use it for everything. And the results of that have been predictable... the world we live in doesn't reward people who just let things go and don't chase after the prizes. Which I've been fine with, but it's starting to get a little claustrophobic.

    Nostrum Forder: You don't profit from pure inaction, but you also don't profit from swimming against the tide. :)

    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm

    Nostrum Forder: so the way of the Tao is to find the flow, and go with it.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire thinks about canoes and streams...and a little white water.

    Nostrum Forder: It also has a lot of analogies to surfing. :)

    Adelene Dawner: To extend your metaphor - I've learned to be very good at floating, but I've only recently noticed that swimming is even possible, whether that's with the flow or against it.

    Sylectra Darwin: I love water analogies when we are talking about going with the flow and being carried by the events of life.

    Adelene Dawner: Its's the "find the flow" part that's not working, basically.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: in swimming?

    Nostrum Forder: You need to get outside the breakers to catch the waves,so you look for the rip tides to pull you along as you paddle out.

    Nostrum Forder: and once you are outside, you look for the swell, to find the right wave to ride.

    Sylectra Darwin: I read your description of surfing, Nos, and I loved it.

    Adelene Dawner: :)

    Sylectra Darwin: I read that today so this seems very apt.

    Nostrum Forder: Trying to swim out against the swell is tiresome, Trying to swim in against the rip can be deadly.

    Adelene Dawner: I'm not even there, yet, Nos. The idea of swimming at *all* is new.

    Nostrum Forder: What little I've earned about the Tao, I've learned on a surfboard, or in divorce court. :)

    Sylectra Darwin: :)

    Adelene Dawner: And I'm not even convinced yet that it's a good idea, though some of those waves do look like fun.

    Sylectra Darwin: I would try it once.

    Nostrum Forder: Well, to push the analogy a bit, in the form of advice...

    Nostrum Forder: the only reason to paddle out is because you want to ride the waves. Otherwise, it's just a very tiring, not extremely enjoyable swim.

    Nostrum Forder grins a bit.

    Sylectra Darwin: Yes, I have always detested effort for its own sake...perhaps because I am inherently lazy.

    Adelene Dawner: Yup. Noticed that. That's the original thing that brought the whole problem to my attention.. I'm sitting here going "Why am I swimming? This is a pain."

    Nostrum Forder: hehe.

    Nostrum Forder: I have that experience occasionally in SL. Syl can attest to it...

    Nostrum Forder: I sometimes say to myself, "wait, this is supposed to be FUN."

    Adelene Dawner: So, next step... if I choose to take it... is to look for a few waves that might be interesting to play in. Which is... so new a concept I'm not even sure if I should be scared of it or not.

    Sylectra Darwin: yes

    Nostrum Forder: Quite often, surfers will sit on the beach for hours, watching the waves, studying their patterns, learning the flow, and strategizing how they will get out, and what they will do if they find themselves in trouble, and so on.

    Nostrum Forder: So I would say, by analogy, that you are in a good place, Adelene.

    Adelene Dawner: ^.^

    Sylectra Darwin: grins

    Nostrum Forder: and from a community standpoint, it's a lot better to surf with people who take the time to understand the waves than it is to be with people who charge headlong into the sea.

    Adelene Dawner: Yes.

    Sylectra Darwin: hmmm....taking the time to understand the waves...

    Nostrum Forder: Solomon had the same idea, different analogy: "He who would build a tower must first consider the cost."

    Adelene Dawner shrugs. "Tonewise we seem to have looped back around to talking about territory I'm actually already familiar with. The actual mundane issues at hand are ones that are so basic that most people just go do 'em without really giving it a second thought, but I find 'em conceptually hard to deal with..."

    Adelene Dawner: But things that are generally considered to *need* lots of forethought and consideration, I'm generally okay with.

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: I must go.

    Adelene Dawner: 'night, Corvus

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Thank you Adelene, Sylectra, Nostrum.

    Sylectra Darwin: night, Corvus!

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Night

    Adelene Dawner: I should actually be going myself, if we're done.

    Nostrum Forder: Night, Corvus.

    Mongo McGinnis: thanks for the insight have a good night be well

    Adelene Dawner: you too, Mongo.

    Nostrum Forder: ty, Adelene. An interesting discussion.

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