2009.01.24 07:00 - The Joker in the Pack

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    I, Pema, was the guardian for this morning's session. Upon entering the pavilion grounds, I found Scathach and Susi seated already. Geo closely followed me.

    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Pema:)
    Pema Pera: Hi there, Scathach, Susi, Geo!
    Susi Alcott: hi Pema
    Susi Alcott: hi Geo
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Geo
    Geo Netizen: Hi Pema, Susi, Scathach
    Susi Alcott: hi Wol
    Wol Euler: hello everyone
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Wol:)
    Pema Pera: Hi Wol!
    Geo Netizen: Hi Wol
    Wol Euler: hello geo, pema, scath, susi
    Wol Euler: Susi, is that the aura effect you were discussing with someone a few days ago?

    Geo read off the label over Wol's avatar name.

    Geo Netizen: Hmmmm. Token dull person ??
    Wol Euler grins
    Susi Alcott: yes it was
    Wol Euler: nice...
    Wol Euler: thank you, susi.
    Susi Alcott gave you aura comands.
    Susi Alcott: in case you are also interested
    Scathach Rhiadra: ty Susi:)
    Wol Euler: geo, your Fransiscan look is new, I believe?
    Geo Netizen: Yes .... it took me awhile to find one :)
    Wol Euler: does it reflect a RL sympathy?
    Geo Netizen: Just a little more than sympathy :)
    Wol Euler: really? I always though you were a Buddhist.
    Susi Alcott: hm
    Geo Netizen: There are some very interesting similarities
    Susi Alcott: cannot buddhist reflect more than sympathy ?
    Geo Netizen smiles
    Susi Alcott: _/!\_
    Susi Alcott: ty
    Wol Euler: true, and many parts of the Bible are consistent with Buddhism too: Ecclesiastes (Koholet) definitely has Buddha Nature.

    For a couple minutes nobody spoke, so I took the liberty to bring up a new topic.

    Pema Pera: After our silence of emptiness . . . if I can bring up another topic: Schathach, when Gen wrote her summary, I noticed a sentence of yours from one of the PaB sessions:
    Scathach Rhiadra: I think Pema said something about pheno
    experiments starting at the other end, looking at phenomema,
    while PaB starts with Being
    Pema Pera: and Gen wrote that both you and she were wondering what that meant
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Pema Pera: It is related with this idea of starting at the end, or really being at the end, which I have mentioned before, for PaB
    Pema Pera: whereas a phenomenological investigation starts at the very beginning, right here in daily life, just looking around us at what presents itself
    Pema Pera: so in that sense the two approaches couldn't be more different :-)
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Pema Pera: YET at the same time, the best way to become friends with Being is by appreciating the presence of appearance
    Pema Pera: of all appearances
    Pema Pera: of all phenomena
    Pema Pera: so the two approaches couldn't be more similar . . . .
    Geo Netizen: at once most different and most similar
    Scathach Rhiadra: ah, if I remember correctly, we were discussing the connection between phenomenology and PaB
    Pema Pera: yet the flavor of the exploration is quite different . . . as is the location where we do the explorations, here vs. the Kira Cafe
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: In phenomenology, you start with what is given, phenomena, and slowly you strip off all the many layers of prior assumptions that you have built on top of them, to get down to what is really given, rather than projected on them
    Pema Pera: In PaB, you start with playing as if Being already presents itself in all phenomena, and you try to recognize Being playing
    Pema Pera: The pheno way is one of doing spring cleaning; the PaB is one of celebrating, in awe and wonder
    Pema Pera: does that make some sense?
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes, definitely thanks:)

    We all continue talking about the differences between the phenomenology workshop, held in the Kira Cafe, and Play as Being, held here in our pavilion.

    Geo Netizen: The rather public nature of the cafe seems to create some difficulties for the pheno discussions ... why hold them there and not here?
    Geo Netizen: *pheno
    Susi Alcott: _/!\_
    Scathach Rhiadra: do both lead back to the same place, but with PaB, we recognise we are already there, just not aware of it
    Pema Pera: The reason is that phenomenology is a purely secular approach, so to speak, without any assumptions, like there being a Being that is meaningful
    Pema Pera: yes, exactly, Scathach
    Geo Netizen nods
    Pema Pera: With PaB we start with a lucky guess -- with pheno we start without any guess and reach it by hard work
    Pema Pera: For some PaB works better; for other pheno; for many both are nicely completary -- for me they certainly are both helpful
    Pema Pera: As for the difficulties of the Cafe, mentioned by Geo, we are working on that
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes, I like both approaches, and I can see how they are or can be complimentary
    Pema Pera: and we will either have closed sessions, or at least restricted sessions in which newcomers are not allowed to disturb the ongoing explorations too much
    Scathach Rhiadra: your suggestion of using the other side of the cafe sounded good
    Pema Pera: Here is an image: if you think you have lost your glasses, PaB tells you to touch your eyes, and you will notice that you've been wearing them all the time -- whereas phenomenology will encourage to touch all of your body, starting with your toes, to find them somewhere . . . .
    Geo Netizen: I am sensing from the email that newcomers are more respectful of the P&B assumption than with the Pheno secular approach ... seems interesting
    Pema Pera: if you know where your eyes are, even roughtly, PaB is faster -- if you don't, phenomenology is more sure in gettting there eventually!
    Wol Euler: there is a lot of interruption and almost heckling at Kira talks.
    Geo Netizen: Yes .... that's what I mean
    Susi Alcott: people want to have answers
    Pema Pera: ah, the reason is, Geo, that PaB doesn't attract philosophers (only Gilles, so far, a few times)!
    Wol Euler: ah!
    Geo Netizen chuckles
    Susi Alcott: the more answers people get, the more quick they can go foreward

    I try to give a phenomenological description of the way philosophers hold discussions.

    Pema Pera: Philosophers don't say "hmm, let me try a different angle". They say "there are five reasons why you are totally wrong" or they say "I think you are confused"
    Scathach Rhiadra: heh:)
    Wol Euler nods
    Pema Pera: they can't help it -- it is the philosophical training at universities, they are all like that
    Pema Pera: professional deformation, after ten or more years of training
    Pema Pera: very very very sad . . . ..
    Geo Netizen: To much formal training ?:)
    Wol Euler: le deformation professionell
    Wol Euler: snap
    Scathach Rhiadra: I thought Gilles's group would address the need for a general philosophy discussion?
    Pema Pera: yes, it does
    Pema Pera: so we'll have to learn to handle those coming to phenomenology
    Pema Pera: we'll find a way :-)
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Wol Euler cams up to look around at the sunrise. What a lovely day.
    Scathach Rhiadra: getting back to the point about philosophers not coming to PaB, I think we have a newcomer who seems to want to debate Buddhism a lot
    Pema Pera: who is this?
    Scathach Rhiadra: Samual
    Pema Pera: Ah yes, I have met him
    Pema Pera: we have exchanged IMs about Kira, he likes to debate :-)
    Geo Netizen: Do mean to debate as in to argue against?
    Geo Netizen: *you mean
    Scathach Rhiadra: hmm, yes, sort of:0
    Pema Pera: hmmm,
    Pema Pera: hahaha
    Pema Pera: independent hmmm's
    Pema Pera: sort of yes
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Pema Pera: he seems to have strong opinions

    I was refering to some enjoyable conversations by IM that I had had with Samuel. I like it when someone expresses opinions in a clear and precise way, since that can give both sides a good handle to start a well-defined discussion. The open question then always is how to follow up such a discussion. At some point, typically the discussion enters areas where words may fail and clearly defined concepts may not be sufficient. I hadn't talked long enough with Sam yet to get to that point, and was wondering whether others had.

    Scathach Rhiadra: he presents his point and asks how Buddhism handles that
    Pema Pera: does he realize we are not a Buddhist group?
    Scathach Rhiadra: we tried telling him, but he has not shown much interest in PaB as such
    Geo Netizen doesn't think he has met Samuel yet
    Wol Euler: and yet he keeps coming back (Sam Okelly, right?)
    Pema Pera: yes
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes:0
    Susi Alcott: I hear the cry for help from this person
    Pema Pera: well, either he will get bored and stop coming or he will get interested and contribute, that is what generally happens here -- it has been very interesting to see the dynamics
    Wol Euler nods.
    Geo Netizen: I personally do like the openness of the discussions here but I know it can get a little chaotic
    Pema Pera: Have you met him Susi?
    Susi Alcott: no
    Susi Alcott: I do not need to meet the person always
    Pema Pera: :)
    Wol Euler: we actually had him doing the Manbo last night! That might be a breakthrough, one way or another.
    Susi Alcott: agree
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Susi Alcott: so you Wol was the link ---I assume---who could 'bring' this person to me
    Wol Euler: I'll do my best.
    Susi Alcott: you have done much
    Wol Euler raises an eyebrow. Me?
    Scathach Rhiadra: I got the impression that he could be a student priest
    Susi Alcott: yes

    Wol introduced the notion of a joker.

    Wol Euler: I'm the joker in the pack around here.
    Susi Alcott: so often it's needed only to want to help somebody and that just happenes some way
    Susi Alcott: that is very good expression
    Susi Alcott: joker can do anything
    Geo Netizen nods
    Wol Euler: heh. Dr. Freud, call your office :)
    Pema Pera: we started PaB on April Foolsday . . . .
    Susi Alcott: :)
    Pema Pera: it seemed like the perfect joke at the time
    Pema Pera: I was just sitting in a little tea hut, wondering what would happen if I would come back every 6 hours . . . .
    Susi Alcott: it was and is
    Wol Euler smiles
    Pema Pera: . .. I told a few friends, and then more and more people showed up
    Susi Alcott: as that is also so many times that the joke is the guide
    Pema Pera: . . . I had no idea what a wonderful group would form spontaneously, over the months
    Pema Pera: yes, "play"
    Pema Pera: everyone needs play and sleep, so . . . . well, if you don't mind, I think I'll sneak out and get some sleep; it's creeping toward 1 am here in Japan . . . . If someone can capture the rest of the chatlog, and send it to me, that would be great -- piet@ias.edu would be easiest
    Geo Netizen bows
    Wol Euler: will do. Good night Pema, sleep well
    Scathach Rhiadra: night Pema:)
    Pema Pera takes a humble bow
    Susi Alcott: good night Pema
    Pema Pera: good day everybody!
    Pema Pera: thank you for sharing yet another delightful session !
    Susi Alcott: _/!\_
    Geo Netizen: I have an appointment in 20 minutes so this may be a good time for me to depart also

    I did not receive any email or IM with further chat log information, so I presume that the others left soon after as well.
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