2009.09.28 - Engagement

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    Here is the text of a dialogue held by Piet Hut (in SL: Pema Pera) and Steven Tainer (in SL: Stim Morane), in Second Life on September 28, 2009.


    P: At some point you described the TSK approach by saying "it did not
       come from practice, but from intense engagement"
    S: I don't recall ...
    P: I found that a very inspiring notion, and very much in the spirit
       of both scientific research and of what we are trying to do in Play as
    S: the same point was emphasized in other things we've discussed, like
       the working hypothesis
    S: the main thing is to follow through
    P: yes, the working hypothesis, which we discussed in different
    P: such as "all is complete" for example
    S: when I teach this point in my regular groups, it comes after and
       during a lot of practice of various sorts
    S: we tried to do it as a stand-alone, but I don't think that approach
       has been proven yet
    P: yes, two years ago exactly, during the fall of 2007, we spent
       several months working with the working hypothesis in Qwaq, the
       virtual world in which we met daily before moving to Second Life to
       start Play as Being
    P: in contrast, PaB could be seeing as more of a "playing hypothesis"
    S: yes
    P: The hypothesis then is: it actually makes sense to play as Being --
       to enact Being in your own life, to the best of your ability at any
       given point
    P: or more accurately, to let Being be in/as your own life
    P: the notion of play ranges widely, from having fun to being
       intensely engaged, and PaB ideally invites both
    S: :)
    P: it will be interesting to go through the TSK book, the coming half
       year, in the Time workshop in Kira
    P: starting in two days
    S: so it's on Wednesdays?
    P: for now at least, 11 am SLT on Wednesdays
    P: the time it used to be -- it will have to shift in December, at
       least if I were to continue participating when I am in Japan (11 am
       then is 1 am for me in Japan)
    P: it will be interesting to see how those TSK discussions may further
       clarify the notion of "Being"
    S: I would expect many different notions to emerge, not one ...
    P: probably, and then the invitation will be to see whether there is
       something recognizable that all of those may point to . . .
    S: yes ... the idea of that teaching was not that the divergence
       persists forever ... it's just a matter of practice
    P: can you say a bit more?
    S: people are different
    S: at any point during their "practice" stage, they will see and
       understand different things.
    S: The specific practices involved in the teaching you mention are
       intended to focus that understanding and bring it to "Being" ... but
       that's a very long-term goal.
    S: Meanwhile, there will be substantial differences, depending on how
       the individual exercises affect people
    P: yes.  I see PaB as starting with a very simple shared idea:
       "dropping what you have in order to see what you Are"
    P: and then that idea can act as a kind of magnifying lense, letting
       many different rays move through it
    P: but perhaps in the end all focusing on Being, from different
    S: yes
    S: it's possible
    S: you will have to discover new models of interaction in order to
       facilitate that convergence
    P: probably a mix of SL and RL based interactions
    S: perhaps, yes
    P: I was very much encouraged by the RL retreat
    P: it will be fun to see whether we can create a kind of SL retreat
       village for PaB
    P: and we will continue the RL retreats four times a year
    P: and who knows, we may start local groups in RL for those who want
       to get together more frequently, say once a week.
    P: That would give a nice set of time scales:
    P: RL retreat four times a year
    P: RL meetings for times a month
    P: SL meetings four times a day
    P: individual 9-sec breaks four times an hour
    S: :)
    P: coming back to the PaB practice: I think the start and the end can
       be similar, even with all the diversity in between, reflecting
       everyone's own interests and abilities and tendencies
    P: the starting practice can be "drop what you have in order to see
       what you are" with "dropping" understood in a gentle way, really more
       a "wearing lightly" and certainly not a repressing or denying -- more
       a freedom from identification
    P: the ending practice can be "play as Being" itself, really living
       each moment in that way
    P: "end" here is a funny term; I could also say the most complete form
       of exploration within PaB
    P: and to engage in that exploration, the key point is to let Being
       play as you . . . .
    P: to be open to that, to allow that, to appreciate and celebrate that
    P: to see everything in that light, beyond an overly tight and myopic
       focus on the elements in the stories of our daily life; setting all
       those elements free, even the notions of "time" and "life"
    P: as we discussed during the retreat.
    P: How feasible do you think such a form of exploration is?
    S: coming to terms with "time" and "life", ideas drawn from an
       ideosyncratic rendering of mine of a Buddhist sutra, requires a
       lot. But the earlier parts of the sequence I mentioned to you and then
       used in the retreat, are not so hard.
    P: yes, and the "dropping what you have" part is easy to get into too,
       in some way or another, and with sufficient motivation anyone can then
       explore deeper, for quite a while
    P: the "end" part is what is the most radical, and what gives the name
       to the whole enterprise, to really play as Being
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