2009.08.16 13:00 - Guardian's dilemma

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Maxine Walden. The comments are hers.

    This session seems to highlight one of the dilemmas which guardians have discurred over time: how to facilitate with openness for discussion but also offer boundaries, when necessary, to keep the topics creative, or to not let them devolve into black and white to and fros.  There may have been some warnings in this session early on, but I did not pick them up.  I will try to point out such in the comments.

      And I will mention here that one lesson from the flow of the discussion is the evidence that when discussion descends to black and white issues, rather than staying contemplative, that clear thought really gives way to 'barroom tactics' as Pila so observes.  It is very difficult to hold onto clear, discerning thought in the midst of this situation: one of the lessons I will try to carry forward. 

    Maxine Walden: hi, Paul
    doug Sosa: hi maxine
    Maxine Walden: doug?
    Paul Namiboo: hi
    Maxine Walden: hello, doug, did not see you for a moment
    doug Sosa: maxine, this is paul's first, a friend..
    Maxine Walden: ah, welcome, Paul!
    Paul Namiboo: thank you
    Maxine Walden: doug has probably told you about our chatlog. Is it OK with you to be included?
    Paul Namiboo: yes
    Maxine Walden: great, just have to check, one of the tasks for the person 'on call' for the session
    doug Sosa: maxine were you at the SL conference?
    Maxine Walden: no I wasn't doug, were you?
    Maxine Walden: hi, wol
    Wol Euler: hello maxine, paul, doug
    doug Sosa: nope,
    Maxine Walden: Wol, doug has brought his friend, Paul
    Paul Namiboo: hi wol
    Wol Euler waves
    Wol Euler: hello wester
    Maxine Walden: hi, wester
    Paul Namiboo: Hi
    Maxine Walden: Paul is a friend of doug's, wester.
    Wester Kiranov: ah
    doug Sosa: came by to chat. meditate.. learn :)
    Wol Euler: ah :)
    Paul Namiboo: he's a real amature at this
    Wol Euler: hello isadora
    Paul Namiboo: Paul Namiboo I mean

    I feel we may be onto a creative thought: amateurs

    Maxine Walden: indeed, as we all do...oh, yes, but Paul, we all are amateurs...
    Maxine Walden: hi isadora
    Paul Namiboo: Hi Isadora
    doug Sosa: amateur is such a beautiful word, the lover of..
    Paul Namiboo: Wine and ....
    Isadora Davidov: I'm trying to get here..hello everyone.
    Maxine Walden: yes, doug, was just thinking that as well...

    And then Isadora has great difficulty rezzing in, getting her av to sit; just a bit of distraction for the group and we all are glad when she is settled.

    doug Sosa: is, try walking or flying and gthen come back.
    Wester Kiranov: hi isa, take a cushion
    Wester Kiranov: i meant sit on one ;-P
    Isadora Davidov: Well I'm trying but when I click on my av...I can'g get it to sit
    Wol Euler: oh, not on yourself, on the cushion
    Isadora Davidov: Yes, I clicked on the cushion
    Maxine Walden: ah, good...
    Isadora Davidov: Scucess!
    Maxine Walden: yes!
    Maxine Walden: here comes Pila
    Pila Mulligan: greetings
    Paul Namiboo: Hi Pita
    Wester Kiranov: hi pila
    Wol Euler: hello pila
    Isadora Davidov: Hello
    doug Sosa: hi Pila.

    doug's next comment is intriguing, at the time I was unsure what it meant.

    doug Sosa: We are being so formal.
    Maxine Walden: feels that way, doug?
    Paul Namiboo: It's the presence of a tall, dark, stranger
    doug Sosa: No. it is that wasy :)

    Isadora apologizes for her very slight disturbance in terms of getting in and settled

    Isadora Davidov: Well I interrupted something...hard to maneuver in today
    doug Sosa: *way
    Isadora Davidov: Something about the lovely word "amatuer"
    Isadora Davidov: amateur

    The question is then raised, just seconds before the bell about a topic and then one is mentioned, health care in the US, and I wonder a bit about the appropriateness of this topic, but then the 90 second bell rings and I say nothing.

    Pila Mulligan: is there a topic?
    Paul Namiboo: How about health care
    Maxine Walden: not yet, Pila...do yu have a thought?
    Pila Mulligan: Dr. Walden, health care?
    Isadora Davidov: Oh really critical....

    The topic seems to be being taken up and I have 'talked' myself out of saying anything, feeling as sometimes occurs that it is better to 'be open' and let things flow.

    Isadora Davidov: Is someone here an MD?
    Maxine Walden: Actually I am, may I ask why?
    Isadora Davidov: Oh someone mentioned a topic and I didn't know whether converstaions in PaB focus on current topics, etc

    Here was another opportunity for the guardian to comment on what kind of topics we might consider in PaB.  But the tempo of the discussion is picking up...

    Paul Namiboo: Do you think we need a single payer (government) health care sysrem
    Pila Mulligan: in the US ..
    doug Sosa: My experience with health in mexico, paris, greece... much
    Paul Namiboo: yes
    Pila Mulligan: Isadora, PaB topics can be anyhting :)
    Isadora Davidov: Well, I think many things need to be addressed to even make a single payer systme work...apsects of the whole system that haven't really been brought into the national discussion, that I can see

    And Paul says something which seems to be lived out in the session, ie discussion toward a disaster...

    Paul Namiboo: The national discussion seems a disaster to me
    Isadora Davidov: I've worked in health care: so there are many components to it...starting with the cost of the education for health care workers etc the insurance system
    doug Sosa: health ought to be attractive, the people, the setting. But the money goes to middle men (brokers).
    Isadora Davidov: Yes, it's now very complex...and we do need to start a more detailed dsicussion...it will be a real upheaval
    Paul Namiboo: Of course if we're going to discuss health care I should go home and get my gun -- if they're allowed in second life
    Pila Mulligan: what?
    Isadora Davidov: Oh! maybe a too explosive conversation!

    Is Isadora's comment just now another warning?  I do not help things along with my next comment

    Maxine Walden: yes, and many people in this country, all countries do not like change...and maybe 'big government' for some in this country is especially inflamatory
    doug Sosa: paul is my friend and i take no responsibility for him:)
    Pila Mulligan: what does he shoot dooug?

    But I am beginning to be concerned about our replicating 'town hall meetings' here in the session

    Maxine Walden: we may be going into a 'town hall meeting' of our own...
    doug Sosa: I think people are upset by the total flow - economy, bankers, afghanistan, bailouts, and sense that Obama has caved on critical issues and there is no money.
    Paul Namiboo: I hope you all saw the news clip with the armed man at a meeting holding up a sign saying "It's time to water the tree of liberty"....
    Pila Mulligan: America the Barbaric
    Isadora Davidov: Yes, really...this may be too tricky for typing out...but if you can't have a civil discussion here...

    I try feebly to point out the distraction of the violent imagery, but do not take things fully in hand

    Maxine Walden: is it not a distraction to 'pack weapons' , and going back to 'early days' as a sort of macho thing? Really avoiding the difficult issues?
    Maxine Walden: might be hard to talk and listen to different opinions...when there are no easy answers
    Paul Namiboo: I was kidding -- many of my clleagues are docs -- and they're all distressed at the state of both the system and the discussion
    Pila Mulligan: I suspected you were kidding Paul, but unfortunately I wasn't
    Isadora Davidov: YEs, the difficult issues include: the cost of a medical education, the overpowering role of the insuirance companies, the cost of types of care, including paying the MDs, the hospital costs, the shortage of nurses, the unisured children and porr, etc etcetc etc,
    Paul Namiboo: After all we are a great empire since Ronnie crossed the Rubicon
    Isadora Davidov: poor
    Isadora Davidov: ]Empires have been known to collapse from both internal and external reasons...you recall history class right?
    Pila Mulligan: I'd trace the present pendulum swing to and from barbarism further back, to McKinley

    Pila is speaking about barbarism, but there feel to be barbs in the session as well...we see that several folks leave finding this an discussion they would not care to continue 

    Isadora Davidov: internal and external causes I mean
    Wester Kiranov: (sneaking out - not in the mood for a political discussion)
    Pila Mulligan: McKinley and Cleveland are tpyical of the debate today between right and left
    Paul Namiboo: So what do we do about it?
    Wol Euler: agreed, wester. Goodnight all, take care.
    Pila Mulligan: keep on trying
    Wester Kiranov: (bye , cu)
    Pila Mulligan: bye Wester and Wol
    Maxine Walden: bye, Wol...
    Isadora Davidov: Oh people here much better on American history
    Maxine Walden: and Wester
    Isadora Davidov: Goodbye Wol
    Isadora Davidov: and WEster
    Paul Namiboo: I agree -- keep trying and I'm going to leave you guys and do that. Thanks for letting me chat
    doug Sosa: Paul and I will need to go.

    And some reflection now begins but it takes a few minutes to bring it around fully to think about what just occurred in terms of shepherding the topic

    Pila Mulligan: well, there goes the topic :)
    Maxine Walden: Wondering if that topicgot a little too difficult or uninteresting to stay with...
    Pila Mulligan: seems so
    Pila Mulligan: however, the essence of it is in what you two were discussing -- the US medical system
    Isadora Davidov: Maybe too difficult to type out a free-ranging conversation, but I see it already brought out strong opinions
    Maxine Walden: It may sound strange, coming from and American doc, but I think that docs in America, especially speciality docs, could take a pay cut...
    Pila Mulligan: Wester and Wol (being in the Netherlands and Germany) enjoy good health care at a low cost
    Pila Mulligan: their docs seem happy
    Maxine Walden: the issue, I think, is for everyone to get coverage, and that will take some sacrifice...but that should be the concern of docs in the first place
    Isadora Davidov: Well that will foment strong resistance, but we are indeed out of line with much of WEstern European salaries, from what I understand...
    Pila Mulligan: you'd think so
    Isadora Davidov: I think Maxine that you are part of a small minority who see it that way, but I think that's progressive...do you hear that point of view from many of your cohort?
    Pila Mulligan: my sense is that it really is not difficult to organize it so everyone gets coverage, but the issue is unfortunatley entangled with this loony debate over capitalism v socialism
    Isadora Davidov: Yah;...we Americans are pretty naive about political theory
    Maxine Walden: several of my colleagues...but they do not represent the majority , I fear...
    Maxine Walden: several of my colleagues agree with my stand...
    Maxine Walden: yes, Pila, the capitalism and individual rights seems to be a hot issue just under the surface for many Americans
    Isadora Davidov: America could be a much healthier place to live for many more...especially considering the numerous talented and highly gifted people in the field
    Isadora Davidov: It 's each cowboy for himself (and his cows)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Maxine Walden: America could use some lessons in concern for the group
    Maxine Walden: lol, Isadora re the cowboy...
    Pila Mulligan: I think the folly of this debate is shown in the people saying no socialized medicine but do't touch my medicare
    Isadora Davidov: WEll Honeychile...it won't the group that won the West, twas de Lone Ranger
    Maxine Walden: right, Pila, talk about the absurd!...
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Isadora Davidov: Yes, that is an obvious fallacy...you'd think peopel could think from Step ONe to STep Two

    Looking back one can see that maybe we have been talking about the tribal 'discussion' we have been engaged in where we have descended not so much into thinking as reacting and pointing fingers

    Maxine Walden: one thing tribal thinking does is not to think...just becomes reactive
    Pila Mulligan: yes
    Isadora Davidov: I've heard a lot of tribal rhetoric...I was born in NC
    Pila Mulligan: once we have better coverage, and we will some day, there will be a new lighting rod for the old debates
    Isadora Davidov: THat's encouraging..we need a full civil human rights movement to get wider coverage
    Maxine Walden: indeed, Pila! Oh, Isadora, born in North Carolina? lots of rhetoric there? part of the Old South, or a special brand of tribalism?
    Isadora Davidov: WEll, there's the mystic of the Old South, the country club set, the tobacco farmers, the hillbillies (they don't say much though),, a nice brand of rednecks, those still fighting the WAr of Northern AGression, progressive liberals
    Maxine Walden: ah...many tribes indeed...
    Isadora Davidov: ANd now recently it came to light we have some paramilitary in quiet suburban (new) neighborhoods Johnny Get Your Gun
    Maxine Walden: ah...another display of 'don't mess with my way of life' which as I recall was one of the flashpoints about the Civil War'
    Isadora Davidov: THe Bay Area where I live is a sort of progressive bubble
    Maxine Walden: hmmm, yes I know about that Bay Area bubble as well
    Isadora Davidov: Well yes, slavery feudalism and the faint tradition of chivalry
    Isadora Davidov: I do appreciate the chivalry though
    Pila Mulligan: the primitive element of American politics is entrenched in the same illusions as primitive elements everywhere -- namely, theidea that god is on our side and/or we can do no wrong

    We are not quite into reflecting upon what has occurred, but beginning to turn our minds there

    Maxine Walden: yes, Pila, that primativity (power) gets us coming and going...wrecks all genuine discourse, in my view
    Isadora Davidov: YEs, right..and if people looked more deeply into the writings of the Founders, that might create a more nuanced, sophisticated viewcated
    Isadora Davidov: view
    Isadora Davidov: WEll, the fear/anger complex is so biologically phsychologically rooted
    Isadora Davidov: psychologically
    Maxine Walden: might be so, Isadora, there were some wise men who were trying to compromise on issues to get the country together, up and running

    And finally the question has become more clear in my mind and we come to think about how as Pila says 'our parlor became a bar room':

    Maxine Walden: yes, I would agree ...while we still have some time, may I as a question?
    Isadora Davidov: Sure
    Pila Mulligan: please do Maxine
    Maxine Walden: Ask as guardian of this session and what we experienced earlier this hour?
    Isadora Davidov: Which aspect in particular?
    Maxine Walden: I think we lost a lot of folks when we agreed to speak about a hot political topic, health care...and I wondered about that when the question was asked.
    Maxine Walden: My intuition at that time, just before the bell, was to suggest that we try to stay focussed
    Maxine Walden: on issues re more meditative topics...
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Maxine Walden: but did not follow that intuition.
    Pila Mulligan: our ethereal parlor became more of a bar rrom
    Maxine Walden: What are your reflections about the session?
    Pila Mulligan: I saw it oo
    Pila Mulligan: too*
    Isadora Davidov: WEll, I was surprised on two counts: I'm rather new to PaB and didn't know that this type of topic "was permitted" to come up...and then when some volatile rhetoric flew out...I was surprised
    Maxine Walden: hahaha, Pila, yes a bit of a barroom, and it seemed that those who raised the issue then up and left!
    Pila Mulligan: it is an unusual topic, Isadora
    Pila Mulligan: :)

    And we wonder about the learning which might come from this experience

    Maxine Walden: My sense is that I will try to learn from this and to shepherd the conversation, if needed, away from the 'barroom' potential
    Maxine Walden: re topics . The balance between openness but also some boundaries
    Isadora Davidov: OK...but I got some "feel" for the RL people, which is fine...and I also am deeply interested in both meditative and more "embloded" topics...because I think what we think, how we express it with others, questions of fear, strong emotions, health, meditative capacities are linked and we are unfortunatley or fortunately interrelated to our countrymen
    Pila Mulligan: there was a time earlier this year when a new visitor to PaB aggressively pushed discussion of abortion
    Pila Mulligan: it had the same result, people argued or left
    Isadora Davidov: embodied topics
    Maxine Walden: interesting points, Isadora...things to think about; and maybe each situation deserves to be considered at the moment, best we can...
    Isadora Davidov: Oh...I thought there might be some sensitvity with the issue..but again, civil discussion is a skill...we don't live a solitary existence
    Pila Mulligan: the usual PaB discussion, Isadora, is more on life, contemplation and such fro philosophy rather than politics
    Isadora Davidov: THank you...one idea might be if someone wants to bring up some topic or issue...we could hold a vote or something
    Pila Mulligan: or set aside a sepcial topic date
    Pila Mulligan: thatha sbeen done before too
    Isadora Davidov: Yes, from knowing the RL people involved I joined because that was my general understanding of the meetings
    Isadora Davidov: Oh...that's interesting
    Maxine Walden: that is a possibility, or the judgment of the guardian ...
    Maxine Walden: I will be posting the chatlog of course; any other things that you feel would be good to include, perhaps re our/the PaB group's considering here?
    Pila Mulligan: well, there are just going to be conflicts sometimes, as we have seen today and also before today -- I think there is a mini-sub-discussion going way back as to how to address conflicts at PaB -- maybe this is just a small part of that
    Maxine Walden: hmmm, Pila. Good point
    Isadora Davidov: Maybe when the Guardians meet they could use this example
    Pila Mulligan: thank you Maxine and Isadora, for your comments -- i emjoyed being with you
    Isadora Davidov: And thank you Pila Goodbye
    Maxine Walden: I enjoyed it as well, Pila. Bye
    Pila Mulligan: bye foronw
    Isadora Davidov: Maxine, thank you for your time.
    Maxine Walden: yes, it is time for me as well, to go...I will post this chatlog and maybe it will be helpful for guardians to look at as well as for each of us to learn from as suits. Thanks for being here, Isadora
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