2010.06.03 - Help

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    Zen Arado: Hi Yaku
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello everyone :) Sorry brb
    Wol Euler: hello betz, zen and anyone else I can't see yet
    Calvino Rabeni: Hello
    Zen Arado: Hi Gaya
    Zen Arado: Hi Wol
    Wol Euler: hello gaya
    Agatha Macbeth: Hi Gaya :)
    Wol Euler: show
    Wol Euler: /show
    Wol Euler: bah
    Agatha Macbeth: I can see em :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Hello Timbo
    Agatha Macbeth: Yay
    Timbo Quan: Hello everyone
    Wol Euler: hello timbo
    Zen Arado: Hi Timbo
    Gaya Ethaniel: [back]
    Agatha Macbeth waves to Gaya
    Wol Euler: wb
    Gaya Ethaniel: ty :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Hi Dao :)
    Zen Arado: Hi Dao
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Dao :)
    Wol Euler: hello dao
    Irish Tea: whispers: Ahh tea, irish whiskey and cream....oh ya...now this is good, Agatha Macbeth.  You know they say that God invented whiskey so the Irish would not take over the world.  Well this is a fine way to serve it.
    Dao Yheng: Hi Wol, nice to meet you
    Calvino Rabeni: Eliza has been waylaid by rough weather - might be back soon
    Wol Euler: likewise :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Yeah, stormy in Florida
    Wol Euler: sounds like a song title
    Agatha Macbeth: Hello Mitsu
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Mitsu :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Probably is :)
    Wol Euler: Allman Brothers blues, maybe
    Zen Arado: agrees with Irish Tea
    Agatha Macbeth: Rainy night in Miami :)
    Mitsu Ishii: hi everyone
    Wol Euler: For Lauderdale on my mind
    Zen Arado: Hi Mitsu
    Agatha Macbeth: That too
    Mitsu Ishii: unfortunately I have to leave early today
    Timbo Quan: hello Dao & Mitsu
    Agatha Macbeth: Aw
    Wol Euler: hello mitsu
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah ok, then can I quickly suggest if it's ok to move the meeting to 2pm?
    Mitsu Ishii: Yes, we wanted to discuss changing the regular time to 2pm
    Agatha Macbeth: Could do, yes
    Gaya Ethaniel: I fade too much for this type of meeting by 3 really ...
    Agatha Macbeth: Ok with me
    Dao Yheng: Me too
    Betz Darwinian: ok with me.
    Dao Yheng: Zen, I remember you have an earlier engagement?
    Zen Arado: ok sure - I might miss the start some nights but it's ok I'll get most of it
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah
    Dao Yheng: You'll miss our hellos -- we'll save some for you :)
    Zen Arado: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Thanks everyone and specially Zen :)
    Mitsu Ishii: so I have some thoughts on "help" which perhaps I could share when there's an appropriate moment
    Dao Yheng: Sure, Mitsu -- do you want to start us off?
    Gaya Ethaniel listens :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Thanks everyone for taking on this topic - I felt it wasn't necessarily an easy one, but interesting and important
    Mitsu Ishii: I'll try to be brief. A friend of mine was writing a paper on Agamben's Homo Sacer series, and another friend was talking with me about moving from the west coast of the US to the east coast, and strangely this all ends up overlapping.
    Mitsu Ishii: in Homo Sacer, Agamben talks about the notion of ordinary time and messianic time and timeless eternity
    Dao Yheng: (it was a stimulating suggestion, Calvino -- thanks!)
    Mitsu Ishii: so there he says that ordinary time is the time before the redemption brought by the messiah
    Mitsu Ishii: this is supposed to bridge over to a kind of future eternal heaven
    Mickorod Renard: hi
    Wol Euler: hello mick
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Mick :)
    Agatha Macbeth: Hello again Mick :)
    Mitsu Ishii: but he points out that messianic time is somehow caught in between, neither ordinary time nor eternal time, but in the interstice in between
    Mickorod Renard: sorry i am late,,duty called
    Mitsu Ishii: hi Mick
    Calvino Rabeni: That makes sense Mitsu
    Mitsu Ishii: anyway, so what Agamben tries to say is that there is a way in which we divide the world into the sacred and the profane
    Calvino Rabeni: It might be the same idea as "numinous" or "bardo" - an inbetween world space
    Calvino Rabeni: And we work to prop open the door between them
    Mitsu Ishii: and that messianic time is intended to bridge these two, but there is a problem which is this:
    Dao Yheng: There do seem to be a number of different kinds of time
    Timbo Quan: or perceptions of time
    Mitsu Ishii: the messianic time tends to reinforce the division between sacred and profane
    Zen Arado: or human constructions
    Mitsu Ishii: which is the point my friend Jenny was making
    Mitsu Ishii: so Agamben proposes this: the idea of a "profanation" movement
    Mitsu Ishii: so he's saying, if you remove the ordinary notion of a "purpose" you can make the sacred profane, and through this playful movement you can repurpose it for other ends
    Mitsu Ishii: anyway, there's a lot more there. but the simple point is
    Mitsu Ishii: I was thinking about what it is about the east coast that unsettles me
    Mitsu Ishii: relative to the west coast of the US
    Mitsu Ishii: and it is that here, there seems to be an implicit assumption that you have to separate spheres of activity
    Mitsu Ishii: so for example, you have people going into finance, or politics, or non-profits
    Mitsu Ishii: or alternately you have a bank (that makes money) trying to ameliorate its selfish actions by donating to charity
    Mitsu Ishii: but this tends to assume that these realms are always separated.
    Mitsu Ishii: you can do both, but in each case there's an altruistic action and a selfish action and they are different.
    Mitsu Ishii: anyway, the idea is that can you somehow mix these worlds?
    Mitsu Ishii: the example that came to mind was Google when they explained to the press why they exited China
    Mickorod Renard: on a personal level?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Can you somehow link that to 'help' Mitsu?
    Mitsu Ishii: So Google said the reason they exited China was because
    Calvino Rabeni: That implicit separation assumption is embedded in philosophy - the idea of topics for instance - assumes things are separated by predefined criteria fixed and set in advance
    Calvino Rabeni: We can't open our mouth and speak without running into that one :)
    Mitsu Ishii: their *corporate mission* (the reason for the existence of Google) is to increase access to information.
    Zen Arado: you don't have to believe these assumptions
    Mitsu Ishii: so instead of saying they make money first, and increase access as a means towards that end
    Mitsu Ishii: they say (whether this is true or not is a separate question) that officially, money is merely a means towards the end of increasing access to information.
    Mickorod Renard: there must be an adjustment of what is sought
    Zen Arado: covering up greed?
    Mitsu Ishii: this isn't to say Google is necessarily as altruistic as they make themselves sound, but the point is it is a different way of thinking than is prevalent on the east coast.
    Mitsu Ishii: the idea that the purpose of a giant corporation isn't to make money is hard to grasp here. even as rhetoric.
    Mitsu Ishii: anyway, how this relates to "help" is:
    Agatha Macbeth: Altruism is always good PR
    Calvino Rabeni: They do seem to have a different outlook, a more big picture one
    Calvino Rabeni: For instance, to help journalism survive and cultivate it
    Mitsu Ishii: I think we tend to think about help often in terms of trying to do "good" as though that were somehow separated from practical concerns
    Calvino Rabeni: rather than replacing it
    Mitsu Ishii: well what interests me isn't so much whether Google is really altruistic or not, but just the fact that they say this is their purpose and I think they even somewhat believe it, even if it isn't entirely true.
    Mitsu Ishii: but the mere fact that they say this changes the rhetoric, the language of "help"
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes
    Agatha Macbeth nods
    Mickorod Renard: mmm
    Mitsu Ishii: in other words, do only saints and monks help, or can we organize society so that help can be part of our mundane activities
    Mitsu Ishii: even business, for example.
    Gaya Ethaniel: I can't see how 'good' stands in such a contrast to practical concerns Mitsu ...
    Mitsu Ishii: okay, that's my long-winded contribution :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Thanks, Mitsu, that's intriguing
    Agatha Macbeth: Saints and monks do it for others, not for themselves...
    Mitsu Ishii: I don't think it does Gaya. I just think it is often portrayed that way.
    Calvino Rabeni: Not necessarily Agatha
    Mitsu Ishii: what if we had a society where corporations didn't think of themselves as just making money first, with whatever else they do as a means to that end?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Is it? hm ... I will have a think later ... :)
    Agatha Macbeth: No?
    Dao Yheng: it is a funny situation that money, which was originally meant to be a means of exchange has turned into an end in itself
    Zen Arado: success breeds money though
    Timbo Quan: I think corporations only do good to enable themselves to make more moneu - not for the sake of doing good
    Mitsu Ishii: yes, I agree that's how we have structured it rhetorically
    Calvino Rabeni: Here's a related question - maybe the same - how can culture be structured so ordinary imperfect people can do good, and help, without being perfect or enlightened ?
    Calvino Rabeni: Or corporations :)
    Mickorod Renard: its a shame that love has such low value
    Zen Arado: we do live in capitalistic societies
    Mitsu Ishii: but there are subcultures where this isn't how people think about it
    Zen Arado: the structure produces greed I think
    Gaya Ethaniel: Encourage shareholding by employees is a good practice.
    Mitsu Ishii: as I was saying it's less of a strange idea on the west coast, the notion that private good and public good can parallel.
    Gaya Ethaniel: That way people who work and invest their time in the company have a say in how it should be running.
    Timbo Quan: crumbs to encourage you to work harder and make more money for the company
    Gaya Ethaniel: Well, if you look at companies that are 100% owned by employees, they are vastly different from other companies.
    Gaya Ethaniel: But such a place is rare.
    Mitsu Ishii: it's just an interesting question I think
    Agatha Macbeth agrees with Gaya
    Calvino Rabeni: This happens in Nature - fruits are nature's way to reward the animals for transporting the seed
    Gaya Ethaniel: Anyway, sorry for branching out to politics.
    Calvino Rabeni: The question is - evolution without enlightenment
    Agatha Macbeth: You are forgiven Gaya :)
    Calvino Rabeni: No imaginary standard of perfection will aid evolution
    Gaya Ethaniel: Things evolve whether one tries or not ...
    Zen Arado: it's not money but the love of money they say is the problem
    Mitsu Ishii: the thing that I question is that things have to be "pure"
    Mitsu Ishii: you can have a mixture of selfish and altruistic motives
    Mitsu Ishii: the idea that we have to separate these or that this is natural I think is quite destructive
    Zen Arado: used to hear this a lot when I was a Christian
    Zen Arado: Jesus condemned rich men such a lot
    Zen Arado: and so many churchgoers arrived in Mercs and BMW's
    Agatha Macbeth: Ha!
    Wol Euler grins.
    Calvino Rabeni: Eliza wrote a very nice reminder in her report, of something Stim conveyed in a past meeting -"there are no real distractions, only things that we haven't yet learned to appreciate as actually contributing toward a larger sense of presence.""
    Mitsu Ishii: yeah, that's the paradox! if you have a strong idea of separation, then people find it difficult to reconcile it and they end up just being hypocrites
    Agatha Macbeth: (Including the priest...)
    Calvino Rabeni: I think that applies to these pragmatic issues of motivation also
    Mitsu Ishii: yes, exactly, that goes to Stim's point
    Mitsu Ishii: alas I have to go now... bye everyone
    Gaya Ethaniel: Bye Mitsu :)
    Zen Arado: bye Mitsu
    Wol Euler: bye mitsu, take care
    Dao Yheng: bye mits!
    Mickorod Renard: bye Mitsu
    Agatha Macbeth: Bye for now Mitsu
    Gaya Ethaniel: If whole of experience is taken as a whole, it isn't 'distraction' or 'not distraction'. There are much more than that. This applies to points raised before.
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Gaya Ethaniel: It's not either selfish or alturistic.
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Zen Arado: agree Gaya
    Gaya Ethaniel: But one often finds oneself in camp A or camp B.
    Zen Arado: intention is important
    Gaya Ethaniel: Voluntarily or not ...
    Dao Yheng: so what helps to see that a distraction is part of presence?
    Mickorod Renard: sincerity
    Calvino Rabeni: Agree, Zen, it is important, but *how* ?
    Timbo Quan: This assumes that we are able to 'take in' the whole of experience
    Calvino Rabeni: I think there's reason to expect that to be impossible, though
    Zen Arado: I trhink we have to see through our conditioning
    Zen Arado: I don't 'need' an ipad
    Dao Yheng: funny, I was just reading a view that of the two kinds of Boddhicitta -- the relative (compassion) is much more difficult
    Dao Yheng: idea that to be truly compassionate, you would have to be all knowing (ie, fully enlightened)
    Zen Arado: are we talking about 'help' here?
    Zen Arado: seems we are talking about greed
    Agatha Macbeth: WB Liz :))
    Wol Euler: hello eliza
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Eliza :)
    Dao Yheng: Wow, eliza!
    Mickorod Renard: does compassionate become something only attainable from self experience of hardship?
    Zen Arado: Hi Eliza:)
    Agatha Macbeth: You weren't blown away then?
    Timbo Quan: Is it all or nothing though? IS it possible to be partially all knowing?
    Timbo Quan: Hi ELoza
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Everyone :) Sorry to be so late
    Calvino Rabeni: Well, in a way, it's impossible NOT to be talking about help
    Agatha Macbeth: NP
    Mickorod Renard: Hi Eliza
    Eliza Madrigal: It is still pouring, but not so much ice hitting the windows, etc
    Agatha Macbeth: Erk
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: In the sense that the greatest teacher is relationship, which we can't not be intimately involved in :)
    Calvino Rabeni: WB Eliza
    Zen Arado: the Buddha did it on his own though?
    Zen Arado: can we rely too much on outside help?
    Calvino Rabeni: If you do, it doesn't help
    Zen Arado: want to be spoonfed?
    Zen Arado: seems to me we have to do our own practice
    Mickorod Renard: maybe hardship has its purpose?
    Zen Arado: with pointers
    Eliza Madrigal: I liked that you brought that up a bit too Zen, about many teachers/ teachings... there really is a lot of material
    Calvino Rabeni: "Our own" ...
    Dao Yheng: Mickorod -- seems hardship can cut both ways?
    Zen Arado: too much information maybe
    Calvino Rabeni: Ah, beware "TMI" :)
    Timbo Quan: spoonfeeding tends to lead to further spoonfeeding
    Zen Arado: actually we get confused there is so much stuff out there I think
    Dao Yheng: likewise for for spoonfeeding!
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Zen Arado: or I do anyway
    Gaya Ethaniel: Well good teachers/friends wouldn't spoonfeed ...
    Mickorod Renard: my personal periods of grief have been something very rewarding in a spiritual sense
    Eliza Madrigal nods @ Gaya
    Zen Arado: exactly Gaya
    Dao Yheng: I agree, Zen -- studies about the dangers of too much information
    Gaya Ethaniel: But one has to take responsibility for oneself.
    Calvino Rabeni: Help seems a connection with two ends - polarities - will and grace
    Dao Yheng: Agree, gaya, but I have been noticing lately that the most gentle teaching seems to have the best effect
    Eliza Madrigal: it is in times of grief and struggle that all our defenses drop
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yes Dao :)
    Dao Yheng: it's as if the more stressed out I am, the smaller the reminder has to be
    Zen Arado: monks in zen monateries years ago might only have one grumpy old master for teachings
    Eliza Madrigal: mmm, nods
    Calvino Rabeni: grief, struggle, chaos are doorways
    Mickorod Renard: yes
    Gaya Ethaniel: I think there is difference between effort and struggle ...
    Mickorod Renard: maybe a guide is what is needed,,as in help
    Calvino Rabeni: or conscious and unconscious suffering
    Zen Arado: yes and a guide who doesn't give you too much too soon....
    Calvino Rabeni: It's such a paradox - to drop the secret "rescue fantasy" but to be open to be receptive to genuine help
    Zen Arado: sorry I'm labouring a point
    Timbo Quan: I think that help can be addictive (perhaps for both sides)
    Eliza Madrigal: there was something else Stim said, that I found comfort in this week. He was talking on audio to a student and told them something along the lines that 'you may think you're getting worse (meditatively in that context), because you're more sensitive.' He said 'you're getting better, but it looks worse.'
    Mickorod Renard: I dont think u r Zen
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Well holding 'rescue fantasy' prevents one to be open/receptive.
    Mickorod Renard: the old,,no gain without pain
    Zen Arado: OTOH we need to be prepared to ask for help
    Gaya Ethaniel: OTOH?
    Zen Arado: on the other hand
    Mickorod Renard: yes,,this is true Zen
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah
    Zen Arado: I liked Cal's point "most people who think of themselves as engaging in spiritual practices could benefit by making an effort to get freer of the common psychological barriers that prevent people from giving and receiving help more effectively.
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, we don’t seem to be creatures meant to be as 'independent' as some cultures tend to value
    Mickorod Renard: but this is hard when one is attached to pride
    Calvino Rabeni: Question - what about the help we constantly get, but are not even aware of?
    Mickorod Renard: giving thanks is something that I like to do
    Eliza Madrigal: mmm
    Calvino Rabeni: :) mick, I think that really helps
    Mickorod Renard: I find it nourishing
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Zen Arado: yes - ego wants separateness and independence
    Zen Arado: hmmmm... just realized I like to be independent :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Eliza Madrigal smiles
    Mickorod Renard: he he ,,me too
    Calvino Rabeni: Really - have you ever had a chat with ego, to see what it *really* wants?
    Eliza Madrigal: Isn't there a double edge to all these things...
    Eliza Madrigal: even 'pride'
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, there is a double edge
    Zen Arado: it hides itself from me Cal :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Ego has the best and purest intentions
    Calvino Rabeni: Just an incomplete appreciation of reality
    Eliza Madrigal: there is a kind of pride which IS taking responsibility for oneself, and then there is a pride that thinks it has to bear everything alone...or can... ?
    Calvino Rabeni: yes, two pretty different things
    Calvino Rabeni: false pride
    Zen Arado: yes middle way again ....sigh
    Gaya Ethaniel: Even when one lives in a cave and bearing all alone, is s/he really?
    Calvino Rabeni: no
    Zen Arado: don't want to be a burden on others .....
    Calvino Rabeni: many people bear burdens gladly
    Calvino Rabeni: and seek them out
    Eliza Madrigal nods @ gaya... its an illusion you mean?
    Calvino Rabeni: interdependence
    Zen Arado: so we should heap them on?
    Calvino Rabeni: middle way :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Mickorod Renard: some are stronger than others
    Zen Arado: 'you always yoke the willing horse' Irish saying
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yes Eliza, we are connected mm ... what'd be a good word here ... at the root?
    Calvino Rabeni: asking for help can be a gift to someone if it raises consciousness
    Agatha Macbeth: To be sure
    Zen Arado: so the more you do for others the more they want you to do
    Dao Yheng: help as explicit acknowledgement of interdependence?
    Zen Arado: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: root is a good word gaya....
    Calvino Rabeni: with a celebration feel
    Gaya Ethaniel: More one does for others, more one wants to do rather.
    Calvino Rabeni: not a reluctance and regret
    Zen Arado: true too Gaya
    Eliza Madrigal: yes like Mick was saying... giving thanks he is the one nourished
    Dao Yheng: nods
    Eliza Madrigal: perhaps our nature is generous
    Calvino Rabeni: Help is how to be in relationship, not something to do if driven by desperation with no other choice :))
    Gaya Ethaniel nods. That way, one forwards it on or feeds it back.
    Dao Yheng: woops, 3 min homework decision
    Calvino Rabeni: @eliza, I agree
    Zen Arado: relinquishing worldly cynicism....
    Eliza Madrigal: hm...just got here Dao. haha
    Dao Yheng: (completing a circuit)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Did you all see homework suggestion pages Dao and Eliza made?
    Gaya Ethaniel: We could pick something from them?
    Eliza Madrigal: sometimes we are generous to set boundaries... hehe, ending on time
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Can someone review the homework suggestions?
    Dao Yheng: I did like the 6 paramitas...
    Mickorod Renard: can someone do my homework?
    Gaya Ethaniel: http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/Homewo...rk_Suggestions
    Eliza Madrigal giggles Mick
    Gaya Ethaniel: http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/Homewo...rk_Suggestions
    Zen Arado: ty Gaya
    Calvino Rabeni: Sure NP Mick :)
    Mickorod Renard: ty
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Mickorod Renard: quick zen,,put a yoke on cal
    Gaya Ethaniel: Sounds good to me - 6 paramita
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks Gaya. And I could go with any on Dao's list...
    Eliza Madrigal: Are others familiar with the paramitas at all? they are 'virtues' really...
    Calvino Rabeni: "Empty Field" jumps out when I look at that list
    Zen Arado: you'd have to do them one by one?
    Dao Yheng: I do like that one... was meaning to check amazon to see how available the book is
    Calvino Rabeni: Virtues as contrasted to hindrances?
    Gaya Ethaniel: http://unfetteredmind.org/translatio...erfections.php
    Gaya Ethaniel: Is this relevant?
    Calvino Rabeni: It seems a few christian notions would need to be dusted off and redeemed, to do virtues ")
    Agatha Macbeth: Probably
    Eliza Madrigal: Well, there is relevant overlap in Christianity, yes
    Zen Arado: taking precepts?
    Zen Arado: we've done giving tonight I think
    Eliza Madrigal: I love that Gaya, thanks for the link
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Mickorod Renard: looks like i have nothing to do
    Gaya Ethaniel: lol
    Calvino Rabeni: There are certain things about virtues as a whole it might be good to be clear on ;
    Calvino Rabeni: the usual dilemma - focus vs. the big principle
    Gaya Ethaniel: We can stay for a few weeks with this anyway.
    Eliza Madrigal: and we can plan to do 'empty field' next?
    Calvino Rabeni: Narrowing the field to two - empty field vs virtues, what would people prefer?
    Zen Arado: paramitas must be different in Zen
    Calvino Rabeni: Or stay with help? :)
    Zen Arado: http://www.buddhistdoor.com/OldWeb/b...ll/teach15.htm
    Mickorod Renard: I would like to take apart the virtues
    Calvino Rabeni: BTW, "Ways of Help" would be a perfectly good ongoing workshop too :)
    Eliza Madrigal: the empty field out of which arises virtue to help ... hehe
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes, Eliza
    Eliza Madrigal: take apart Mick? you mean focus on each, or leave for another time?
    Calvino Rabeni: it's a necessary background for the virtues
    Mickorod Renard: I mean really understand them
    Eliza Madrigal nods yes I'd like to dwell there a bit if others would also
    Dao Yheng: OK, Paramitas first --
    Calvino Rabeni: *really* - I like the sound of that :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks Dao (being decisive!) hehe
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Mickorod Renard: grin
    Calvino Rabeni: No rushing through important principles - letting them ripen to insight - ahh, were it only possible :))
    Gaya Ethaniel: Good night everyone :)
    Dao Yheng: I like it because it means we don't have to decide again for 6 weeks
    Eliza Madrigal: Wait... are we starting with 'generosity' then?
    Agatha Macbeth: Night gaya :)
    Eliza Madrigal: hahah Dao
    Dao Yheng: bye gaya!

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