2008.10.09 19:00 - Karma or a psychological placebo?

    Table of contents
    No headers

    The guardian for this meeting was Sylectra Darwin and the comments are hers.

    Adelene Dawner: hi Syl

    Sylectra Darwin: Hi Ade, sorry I am late. Outfit crisis.

    Adelene Dawner: no worries

    Sylectra Darwin: Welcome Mourning and Nos!

    Sylectra Darwin: Adelene, this is my good friend Mourning Glory

    Sylectra Darwin: And of course you know my dear Nos.

    Sylectra Darwin: :)

    Adelene Dawner: hi :)

    Nostrum Forder: Hi, Adelene.

    Adelene Dawner still has a case of mush-brain.

    Nostrum Forder: I see grey people :)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: no retarded as usual

    Adelene Dawner glares at MG.


    MourningGlory had noticed that there were numbers over each meeting attendee's avatar, probably from the autologger project.  


    MourningGlory Nightfire: what's up with all the numbers and codes?

    Nostrum Forder: Hi Mongo

    Sylectra Darwin: sorry guys - getting food.

    Sylectra Darwin: hello Mongo!

    Mongo McGinnis: hi mmm food

    Sylectra Darwin: Mourning, do you know how to sit on the cushions?

    Sylectra Darwin: Just right-click and choose sit :)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: I don't know I can try?

    MourningGlory Nightfire: taa daaa

    Sylectra Darwin: good job, Mourning!

    Sylectra Darwin: lol

    MourningGl ory Nightfire: so what is the numbers?

    Mongo McGinnis: besides the show

    Mongo McGinnis: or is it the show

    Sylectra Darwin: the numbers? Do you mean the PaB Listener?

    Nostrum Forder: Those numbers are asset server keys.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: I don't know what that means?

    Nostrum Forder: Everything in Second Life that can be rezzed, every object, is stored in a huge database.

    Sylectra Darwin: Mourning he is talking about the green numbers in the chat window

    Adelene Dawner: Part of the new autologging system, which Wol is working on. Debugging numbers. No worries.

    Nostrum Forder: and each object has a number like that associated with it that's unique in the whole system.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: no what are the numbers over my head 513/11703

    MourningGlory Nightfire: and sylectras # 741/11021

    MourningGlory Nightfire: everyone has a number over their head under their tag

    Sylectra Darwin: oh!

    Mongo McGinnis: intersting do they log IM between people?

    Nostrum Forder: I don't know what it is, but it went away when I turned on AV rendering costs.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: nos # 1365/9398

    Nostrum Forder: I don't believe they log IMs on the server.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: mongo your number is 391/11601

    Mongo McGinnis: thanks

    MourningGlory Nightfire: you're welcome.

    Mongo McGinnis: what does it mean?

    Sylectra Darwin: you are correct.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: hey i'm not the tech giant of the crowd


    At this point, the unit making the numbers added its two cents' worth.


    PaB Listener Master: This unit automatically logs 'Play as Being' sessions.

    PaB Listener Master: Recording starts when at least one Guardian is present, and will continue until all Guardians leave.

    PaB Listener Master: Guardians may stop a session (and optionally begin the next) by touching the unit.

    PaB Listener Master: Please do not be concerned about the way I look, I am just a prototype! Feel free to build something that looks better.

    Sylectra Darwin: the play as being chats are logged and posted to our wiki.

    Sylectra Darwin: with your permission.

    Nostrum Forder: except they don't.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: permission to do what?

    MourningGlory Nightfire: what am I missing ?

    Sylectra Darwin: I will be editing this one so you can tell me if you dont want to be logged

    MourningGlory Nightfire: log a way

    Mongo McGinnis: maybe you dont want to share our number whatever they mean but everything else should be ok

    Nostrum Forder: You mean you have to manually edit someone out?

    Nostrum Forder: There are opt-in loggers available for free.

    Sylectra Darwin: yes, at this point that is correct.

    Sylectra Darwin: :)

    Sylectra Darwin: they are still working on it.


    I had a suggested topic on my mind which I felt would make an interesting conversation starter.


    Sylectra Darwin: A friend of mine said something interesting today.

    Sylectra Darwin: He said that he doesn't necessarily believe in karma per se but there are forces some of us believe in...

    Mongo McGinnis: tell us

    Sylectra Darwin: which can be also explained by regular psychological reactions.

    Sylectra Darwin: He said that karma was no more than people believeing that they have done wrong and thus placing themselves in the path of misfortune because they believe they deserve it.

    Sylectra Darwin: I found this personally interesting because I am a child of a science teacher and an artist who got into the New Age stuff.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: law of attraction confusion?

    Sylectra Darwin: maybe! :)

    Sylectra Darwin: so every time I picked up an idea of Mom's from the New Age stuff,

    Sylectra Darwin: Dad would poke holes in it with his science.

    Sylectra Darwin: So I adopted the idea that I don't believe in anything that doesn't work on both planes.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: Yuu do not attract your Karma it just is and

    MourningGlory Nightfire: maybe no"paying" for a last life time

    MourningGlory Nightfire: but some don't think

    MourningGlory Nightfire: about

    MourningGlory Nightfire: preparing for next???

    Nostrum Forder: I think we are prone to superstition.

    Sylectra Darwin: nods

    Nostrum Forder: But I also think that there are chains of causality that include links we don't always perceive.

    Sylectra Darwin: Can you explain more, Nos?

    MourningGlory Nightfire: yes but I "feel" things others don't

    Nostrum Forder: Yes, Mourning...

    Nostrum Forder: but feelings are incorrigible.

    Nostrum Forder: You can't argue with them.

    Nostrum Forder: If you say "I feel sad", I can't refute it. :)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: I can't imagine explaining feeling energy NOT emotions


    Threedee joined us.


    Threedee Shepherd: evening folks :)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: I do not think in terms of god /creator/ alllah etc.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: I think in terms of core energy and raising my vibration

    Sylectra Darwin: Hi Threedee

    Threedee Shepherd: Hi

    Nostrum Forder: Alvin Plantinga postulated that we all have an innate "belief-forming mechanism," which is to say that our brains seek explanations for events, and when we don't come up with them, we "fudge" them.

    Sylectra Darwin: as in a wicker man?

    Threedee Shepherd: Yes, the brain is a pattern seeking and pattern making *machine* It does the best it can, making up lots along the way

    Nostrum Forder: Well..

    MourningGlory Nightfire: groovy I like what I'm making up.

    Nostrum Forder: one of the fields I've worked in is data compression technology.

    Nostrum Forder: and in that field, it's interesting that, for example...

    Nostrum Forder: our eyes are far more forgiving than our ears when it comes to compression techniques that lose information.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: let me know if anyone wants some

    Threedee Shepherd: I'll take some :)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: nice three dee

    Nostrum Forder: You can take an awful lot of the signal out of a video stream, and people will still see the pictures.

    Nostrum Forder: But do the same thing with audio, and it sounds awful to all of us.

    Sylectra Darwin: ahaaaa

    MourningGlory Nightfire: oh I just read this effect in my psych class

    MourningGlory Nightfire: something about your brain fills in the gaps

    Sylectra Darwin: Have you all ever used the "hear it" button on those security verification systems online?

    Threedee Shepherd: 1/3rd of the human brain is involved in visual processing. Thus, it can be forgiving.

    Nostrum Forder: And the research shows that our brains are accustomed to 'filling in the gaps' more in our vision than in our hearing.

    Threedee Shepherd: May I ask what the thread is about?

    Nostrum Forder: To get back to Plantinga for a minute, he observed that when our "belief-former" kicks in to fill in the gaps in our perception, it sometimes forms beliefs that are essentially "correct", but that the reasoning we come up with is faulty.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: the one that grandmother spider spins (the web of life that connects us all?)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: thread?

    Threedee Shepherd: what is the theme, if any, of the discussion?

    Nostrum Forder: Like believing that Nixon was a crook before the Watergate story broke, because he had beady eyes.

    Sylectra Darwin: Threedee, the thread is loosely, karma vs the emotional placebo


    Stevenaia joined us and took a seat.


    Sylectra Darwin: Steven... :)

    Threedee Shepherd: hmm, I almost understand what that means :D

    stevenaia Michinaga: hello

    stevenaia Michinaga: as I sink into the floor

    Nostrum Forder: Sylectra Darwin: A friend of mine said something interesting today. He said that he doesn't necessarily believe in karma per se but there are forces some of us believe in... which can be also explained by regular psychological reactions.

    Sylectra Darwin: You're talking about illogical conclusions -

    Sylectra Darwin: A follows B, so A must have caused B.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: to non believers

    Sylectra Darwin: I'm reminded of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie...

    MourningGlory Nightfire: some of us have faith regardless

    Sylectra Darwin: The discussion about whether a lady was a witch, based on whether she weighed as much as a duck, wasn't that it?

    MourningGlory Nightfire: and it is not in the "tradition" of follow the leader

    Nostrum Forder: Yes, but recall that at the end of the scene, she cops to being a witch. It's quick, but it's there.

    Mongo McGinnis: i thought if she was a witch she would float so you could kill her but if she didnt she wasnt but died anyways.

    Sylectra Darwin: I remember, Nos :)

    Mongo McGinnis: the interesting thing is that the person who started the whole witch thing in Salem never got killed and lived her life out confused by the whole fuss.

    Mongo McGinnis: but europeans killed more witches than usa

    Nostrum Forder: Burke describes something similar.

    Mongo McGinnis: i find that karma is the energy and intent that is oassed from one person to another and generation.

    Nostrum Forder: He speaks of "prejudice", by which he refers to the "common wisdom" of ordinary people that often has no rational basis.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: and rational is like normal ...compared to who?

    Nostrum Forder: No.

    Nostrum Forder: Rational is not like normal.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: my rational is different than yours

    Mongo McGinnis: depends on you

    Nostrum Forder: Rational in this case means "follows from a reasoned argument"

    MourningGlory Nightfire: exactly.

    Nostrum Forder: that's your rationale. That's different.

    Threedee Shepherd: With very few exceptions, I suggest that everything (and anything) I do affects the world and those in it. Perhaps Karma simply is a word for that?

    Mongo McGinnis: i have met people who are emotional and others that are completely rational to a fault

    MourningGlory Nightfire: ripple in the wah

    Sylectra Darwin: smiles

    Nostrum Forder: Threedee, would you say that Karma is the chain of causality?

    Sylectra Darwin: Nos, what an interesting question.

    Threedee Shepherd: It is part of the context of causality, and I also accept that free-will exists (to some extent).

    Sylectra Darwin: where does karma fit into this?

    Sylectra Darwin: or does it?

    Threedee Shepherd: Syl, what "this" and who are you asking?

    MourningGlory Nightfire: I don't know, tossing around what other people say and think and quoting them is boring. I have all my own theories and concepts.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: it is why I don't do organized religion. Too many rules for me.

    Sylectra Darwin: sorry, I was asking, where does karma fit into the context of causality and free will?

    Nostrum Forder: For me, Karma is a concept like the Tao. it's the substance of the connectedness between all events.

    Threedee Shepherd: What has been said, what YOU say, what will be said is all grist for the mill, I think :)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: depends on if you believe in circular or linear

    Threedee Shepherd: I realize that I don't necessarily think of Karma as something "extra". People act, results follow, add up results and you get Karma.

    Threedee Shepherd: I go to the bank and withdraw all my money because I lose faith in the banking system. I tell my friend and she does too. The news gets around and there is a run on the bank. Bad Karma for the bank:D

    MourningGlory Nightfire: why are you seeming to equate karma to addtions or minuses?

    Nostrum Forder: Yes, and then people anthropomorphisize Karma, and make it out to be some retributive force.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: why not lessons learned and what lessons lie ahead

    Threedee Shepherd: Yup, MG, everything :)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: preparation if you believe in circular

    MourningGlory Nightfire: not paybacks for what came before

    Nostrum Forder: The universe doesn't seem to give a crap whether you learn the lesson or not. :)

    Sylectra Darwin: No, Nos?

    Sylectra Darwin: I'm sad.

    Threedee Shepherd: Another try: The concept of Karma is a way of reminding myself that the things I do have consequences.

    Sylectra Darwin: I guess I am anthropomorphizing God.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: no as learning means sh*t unless you apply the knowledge and it takes lots of kayones to try

    Sylectra Darwin: Threedee, very good. I do that too.

    Nostrum Forder: I have a friend who was extremely devout all his life, Then some thing happened, and it all fell apart. I asked him once if he had lost his faith, and he said he had lost it all except for two things: sh*t happens, and God loves me.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: You can have all the knowledge and if you don't apply it, that would be like a library of books and if you don't read them you might as well burn them.

    Mongo McGinnis: i think karma is tied to reincarnation and ties one moment to the next i am way to distracted to explain or discuss this point in detail; sorry.

    Threedee Shepherd: a good landing place, and starting place, depending of course on how you know "god"

    MourningGlory Nightfire: alrighty kids time for me to go do math and start studying for my midterms next week

    MourningGlory Nightfire: promise me you will miss me

    MourningGlory Nightfire: HA

    Threedee Shepherd: Confucius, Analect 1.1: To learn something and to then apply it at the right moment, is that not a joy?

    stevenaia Michinaga: midterms, now there's a nasty flashback

    Mongo McGinnis: god luck get As

    Nostrum Forder: For me, the connectedness of things is reassuring. It has the effect of dampening the consequences a bit.

    MourningGlory Nightfire: I'm perfectly imperfect and B;s don't scare me

    Threedee Shepherd: God may get As, MG will need to study ;D

    Nostrum Forder: Do your best, and be proud of whatever you get. :)

    MourningGlory Nightfire: Yes as if I were to pray for A's without studying

    MourningGlory Nightfire: it is not a prayer

    MourningGlory Nightfire: but becomes a deal with the devil

    MourningGlory Nightfire: HA

    Sylectra Darwin: lol

    Rae Inglewood: hello everyone

    Sylectra Darwin: Hello Rae!

    Threedee Shepherd: Hi Rae

    Sylectra Darwin: How are you?

    Rae Inglewood: i'm good. Sorry to barge in like that.

    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Rae

    Mongo McGinnis: I just found out Phillies won 3 to 2 over Dodgers. hi Rae, good nite niteFire

    Sylectra Darwin: No problem, Rae!


    If Karma could be represented as a shape, what shape would it be?


    Sylectra Darwin: I guess I was interested in the idea of circular versus linear causality.

    Nostrum Forder: I wonder why that concept even matters.

    Sylectra Darwin: Maybe the interconnectedness of events and people is an even better way to talk about it.

    Sylectra Darwin: Like a net instead of a line or a circle.

    Nostrum Forder: more like a web.

    Threedee Shepherd: Back to my suggestions about Karma, since the results of one's actions are likely to be close to the actor, is is not surprising that such "Karma" hangs around to affect you most of all.

    Sylectra Darwin: yes :)

    stevenaia Michinaga: As far as origins of terms go, isn't karma a Buddist concept? or does it exist in other religions in some other terminology?

    Nostrum Forder: The Hebrews had a similar concept.

    Threedee Shepherd: Yes, it is Buddhist, and I am sure we are overgeneralizing, misinterpreting and plagerizing it as a concept ;)

    Nostrum Forder: It's expressed positively in the idea of a blessing being passed down through generations, and negatively in the concept of the "sins of the fathers"

    Nostrum Forder: And of course, Calvinists are all about causality. :)

    Threedee Shepherd: Nos, it's interesting that does not appear significantly in current Judaic practice.

    Sylectra Darwin: hmm

    Nostrum Forder nods.

    Threedee Shepherd: Sounds like the conversation the other night about sin. Sin is a coercive way to maintain social order.

    Nostrum Forder: Well, even in the Old Testament writings, it's clear that the religion was an evolving thing, not a static set of beliefs.

    stevenaia Michinaga: agreed Three

    stevenaia Michinaga: there is free will in Judaism

    Threedee Shepherd: Not to say that some "sins" really are *bad* things to do

    Nostrum Forder: the word for "sin" in Hebrew has roots in archery, carrying the concept of "missing the mark"

    Threedee Shepherd: Absolutely, Deuteronomy: "I set before you life and death, choose life" quoting God.

    stevenaia Michinaga: I spent the day atoneing, I'm good for a year.

    Nostrum Forder nods.

    Threedee Shepherd: same here

    Nostrum Forder giggles a bit to think that us Christians talk about a once-for-all atonement, and then re-enact it weekly "just in case."

    Sylectra Darwin: great, Steven!

    Sylectra Darwin: LOL

    Sylectra Darwin: Nos that's hilarious.

    Sylectra Darwin: Maybe it's the experience of humbling oneself, emphasizing that I am not the biggest deal in the universe.

    Sylectra Darwin: Which is of course wrong. ;)

    Threedee Shepherd: a-tone-ment: Tuning one's ability to hear clearly, perhaps :)

    stevenaia Michinaga: so you calling the big "deal" god, sylectra?

    Nostrum Forder: hmmm

    Nostrum Forder: No, steven... Syl herself is the big deal.

    stevenaia Michinaga: ...grins

    Adelene Dawner yawns, stretches, and becomes present.

    Nostrum Forder: at-one-ment in Jewish and Christian practice is, at least in its origins, about bridging the gap between God and us, and between ourselves.

    Threedee Shepherd: I like at-one-ment

    Nostrum Forder: yes, it nicely brings us back to the idea of connectedness.

    stevenaia Michinaga: I wonder if the BEING we speak of here approaches the continuity that we are seeling between us all

    stevenaia Michinaga: seeing

    Sylectra Darwin: beautiful

    Nostrum Forder: "No man is an island"

    Sylectra Darwin: !I love the idea of connectedness

    Threedee Shepherd: Steve, I though of that much today. Deep down I suspect the core of spirituality is common to humans, then religions come along and dress it up until it is almost unrecognizable ;D

    Sylectra Darwin: And I want to explore it more in the coming months.

    Sylectra Darwin: Threedee, I suspect so too.

    Nostrum Forder: I think you're onto something, Threedee, although I don't know if the window-dressing is a deliberate thing or an unintended consequence.

    Rae Inglewood: I agree with threedee too

    Threedee Shepherd: one word: POWER

    Nostrum Forder: I think that religion springs from the impulse to find a common language to describe the experiences of connectedness.

    Sylectra Darwin: Nos, maybe it's the skeptic in me, but that sounds overly optimistic about human nature.

    Adelene Dawner: Power, yes, mostly - also, trying to put words to things that can't be spoken. I suspect that all religions started out with good intentions.

    Threedee Shepherd: agreed, Nos

    Rae Inglewood: I lived in Thailand for 9 years and it was interesting to see how "dressed up" the buddhist philosophy was there. Almost seems the dressing was more important than the actual teachings

    Nostrum Forder: What's ironic, Rae, is that within religious circles, the leadership often discuss that very thing.

    Threedee Shepherd: Ritual can be comforting (and anaesthetic)

    Rae Inglewood: I would imagine

    Nostrum Forder: I've had conversations with Catholic priests who talk about the difference between the dogma they preach, and their own experience of faith.

    Rae Inglewood: ritual is part of helping connectedness ultimately

    Threedee Shepherd: Rae, it certainly can be, just as the ritual of 9-sec every fifteen minutes for paB

    Sylectra Darwin: I love the word experience.

    Rae Inglewood: I hear you Nos. And perhaps that is no where more clear than Mother Teresa herself expressing her own doubt about her faith

    Sylectra Darwin: When you talk about the experience of anything, you make it so much more personal and meaningful.

    Nostrum Forder: Unfortunately, a lot of religuous leaders feel it's necessary to focus on dogma, for reasons that have more to do with their own insecurity than anything else.

    Rae Inglewood: True too Nos. And that I saw very clearly in the some of the buddhist clergy in thailand

    Nostrum Forder: in western religions, most rituals had clear didactic origins. I suspect that the same is true in the east, although I'm less familiar.

    Nostrum Forder: I have an interesting story about ritual from my own experience, although it might be a diversion at this point.

    Threedee Shepherd: mmhmm

    Threedee Shepherd: so Nos, the story ?

    Nostrum Forder: My father was a Baptist minister. Baptists are traditionally very hostile to the idea of liturgy and ritual, at least vocally, although they have their own practices that they follow fairly rigidly.

    Nostrum Forder: he church he served in observed communion monthly, on the first sunday of the month.

    Nostrum Forder: I attended that church for 13 years of my life, and every time he served communion, my dad said exactly the same thing...

    Sylectra Darwin: nods

    Nostrum Forder: he read from the passage in I Corinthians where Paul describes how his readers should observe the ordinance.

    Nostrum Forder: Anyway, years later, after my dad was gone, and before my own journey took me away from those places...

    Nostrum Forder: I was on the board of a church, and one sunday, we were supposed to have communion, but the pastor was sick.

    Nostrum Forder: so several of the other board members came to me and asked me if I would lead that part of the service.

    Nostrum Forder: I had never done it before, and I had really no idea what I was going to do when I got up.

    Nostrum Forder: So I just sort of walked up to the table, and looked down and there was this bible, open to that same passage...

    Threedee Shepherd chuckles

    Nostrum Forder: and I looked out at the audience, and recited, word for word, what my father had say every time he did it, without ever looking back down.

    Rae Inglewood smiles

    Nostrum Forder: When the service was over, people were talking about how beautifully I had done it, and how meaningful it was to them...

    Sylectra Darwin: wow.

    Nostrum Forder: and yet, to me, at that moment, it was entirely rote.

    Sylectra Darwin: amazing.

    Threedee Shepherd: or *seemed* so

    Nostrum Forder: At the time, I was actually well on my way into abject disbelief.

    stevenaia Michinaga: it's all in the delivery

    Rae Inglewood: indeed

    Nostrum Forder: but I realized that my dad's approach had a kind of wisdom, and that it was very similar to liturgical traditions.

    Adelene Dawner chuckles. "Sounds like you had a bring-your-own-meaningfulness day, and they all did." ^.^

    Threedee Shepherd: disbelief, non-belief or agnosticism?

    Nostrum Forder: The meaning is carried in the liturgy, even through times when no one either in the pulpit or the congregation really gets it.

    Sylectra Darwin: lol Adelene!

    Nostrum Forder: It's hard to say, Threedee, because I'm still kind of on that journey.

    Threedee Shepherd: :)

    Nostrum Forder: I've reached the place where, following what my friend said earlier...

    Nostrum Forder: I'm *pretty* sure that sh*t happens.

    Threedee Shepherd: I know it!

    Nostrum Forder: I'm not really clear on the "god loves me" part at the moment.

    Threedee Shepherd: Start with "I am lovable"

    Sylectra Darwin: maybe better :)

    Nostrum Forder: although I have to say that the tradition that I come from is fairly reassuring, in that if "god loves me", it isn't conditioned on any awareness or action on my part.

    Nostrum Forder: I'm working through "What I want matters, and I'm worthy of wanting it."

    Threedee Shepherd: Or as Calr Rogers called it: "unconditional positive regard"

    Nostrum Forder nods.

    stevenaia Michinaga: sounds like quite a journey, Nos

    You must login to post a comment.
    Powered by MindTouch Core