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Re: Let's stop and think!

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    Hi from New York, Times Square! John, Thank you for your letter. Thank you to everybody for your restraint. You can see that the volume of letters has died
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 1, 2001
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      Hi from New York, Times Square!

      John, Thank you for your letter. Thank you to everybody for your
      restraint. You can see that the volume of letters has died down
      already. We haven't had anybody unsubscribe (except for one person the
      day before yesterday).

      I think discussion is a productive step. You'll notice that sometimes
      new people jump in when we get these spurts, that's great.

      But we also need other kinds of productive steps. One is just taking a
      break for a day. Another might be to ask, what might we do about this?
      To start to head in that direction.

      Well done! In the future, I think that if we leaders are sensitive,
      play on our instincts, then we'll have sustained momentum. We'll even
      be able to harness that usefully.

      Pausing also gives us a chance to look over the different directions
      that our conversation took, and to go back to earlier points that might
      be most fruitful. Or to go to completeley new directions.

      So I think we're back to normal, use your judgement. You're letters are
      always welcome here at OtherStands, too, as much as you can write.

      Yours,

      Andrius

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas

      John Leppik wrote:
      >
      > I agree that the Education topic has heated beyond the function of the
      > minciu_sodas_en thread. In fact I sent the following note to Stephen: "I
      > have gone off-line because this topic seems to have heated beyond the
      > function of minciu_sodas_en. Stephen, you are a wonderful breath of fresh
      > air and hope, but I fear that you have already decided to leave the system.
      > John"
      >
      > This is the second or third time during my stay that intelligent, involved,
      > committed people have gotten involved in a discussion that interests them
      > greatly. It is also a topic that can raise serious antagonisms and thus be
      > destructive for the overall group. I think that there is great energy and
      > value here that we don't want to lose. So how do we manage it
      > constructively?
      >
      > Why manage it constructively? Well, I have been able to express myself on a
      > topic that concerns me, I have received very interesting input from able and
      > concerned people with different views and concerns, my thinking has been
      > stimulated and now I am in the process of formulating a more informed and
      > constructive position on the issue. That is very valuable to me and I think
      > the group. May be that it is a model for how we can help ourselves and the
      > World.
      >
      > One possible way of managing this and move forward is to announce that this
      > discussion has now formed substantially enough to be moved into its own
      > space, move it into such a space and I think that the group should have a
      > volunteer facilitator/moderator to keep it focused and civil.
      >
      > John
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Andrius Kulikauskas" <ms@...>
      > To: <otherstands@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2001 1:52 AM
      > Subject: [otherstands] Let's stop and think!
      >
      > > Hi! We have a very good thread going at
      > > Minciu_Sodas_EN@yahoogroups.com Thank you for your beautiful thoughts!
      > > I was very touched by Shannon's letter, and Schuy's reply as well.
      > >
      > > John:
      > > > I fear that I have again been guilty of participating in getting us off
      > topic, so let me try to bring it back to
      > > > thinking.
      > >
      > > John, you're very alert!
      > > A lot of credit to you for generating our momentum. So let's think now,
      > > what can we do so that we don't "overheat", we don't let our letters
      > > degenerate. Also, what can we do productive with this momentum?
      > >
      > > One helpful thing to do is to channel our letters elsewhere. You can
      > > write here at OtherStands. Frankly, feel free to write anything here.
      > > In particular, anything that helps us think about "other stands", that
      > > is, other principles,
      > > positions. In general, this is re-thinking so that our thinking is more
      > > "relevant". "Relevance" is important for productive discussions, and
      > > also for productive workspaces, in general. Right now, though,
      > > everything is relevant.
      > >
      > > Another great place for channeling discussion is OurOwnThoughts. Cass
      > > has shown wonderful restraint lately because he's focusing his efforts
      > > on developing a thinking tool. We meet every Thursday and yesterday I
      > > finally understood his vision, which is very wonderful. In my words,
      > > it's a tool that would have an "idea loop" - that is, what you need for
      > > evolving your ideas - and also it's a tool to help convert those ideas
      > > into actions, with tasks, priorities, etc. Kernan Manion is actually
      > > writing a book very much along that theme, how the mind is designed that
      > > we might take action. So now we're thinking of having a meeting in
      > > mid-May with the theme "Organizing Ideas for Action". I'm also
      > > interested in this, how can our website and other parts of our
      > > laboratory be set up for "endeavors", that is, for taking action.
      > >
      > > Another way to restrain ourselves is to focus our conversation, make
      > > room for others, most importantly, new voices like Julian's, Dan's,
      > > Schuy's, Stephen's. We'd like to get even more! So let's note what
      > > they are contributing, see what it adds. Also, let's watch where our
      > > new voices take us.
      > >
      > > A very productive way to restrain ourselves is to work on our own for a
      > > bit. Reflect, consider, what can we do with this? Study our letters,
      > > what are they leading to? Can you comb through them, find different
      > > answers to the same question? Is there something collectible, or
      > > something of lasting value?
      > >
      > > Think about a project you'd like to work on that might help us move
      > > forward. Certainly, think about your own favorite projects, how can our
      > > energy help your projects?
      > >
      > > All of these topics are welcome here at OtherStands, and any others that
      > > you might find.
      > >
      > > In other words, with your help we'll have a "sustained nuclear reaction"
      > > rather than a "meltdown" or "blowup". We've had about five letters a
      > > day all of last week, which is perfect, so we can be mindful to let it
      > > fall back down to that. And more and more, we'll be handing that group
      > > over to newcomers.
      > >
      > > Yours,
      > >
      > > Andrius
      > >
      > > Andrius Kulikauskas
      > > Direktorius
      > > http://www.ms.lt
      > > ms@...
      > > +1 (559) 735-0262
      > >
      > >
      > > To Post a message, send it to: otherstands@...
      > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
      > otherstands-unsubscribe@...
      > >
      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      > >
    • John Leppik
      I empathize with Natalie s concerns about limited discussion. I m here because I care about thinking and I m very interested in finding and developing ways,
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 1, 2001
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        I empathize with Natalie's concerns about limited discussion.
         
        I'm here because I care about thinking and I'm very interested in finding and developing ways, means, tools, etc. for thinking more effectively.  I would like to see much more activity on this topic than there is even though what there is has been useful.
         
        In the process, I have encountered half a dozen or so people whom I like thinking with.  They have good thoughts, stimulating thoughts, useful thoughts.  Some I agree with and many I disagree with.  I find this very stimulating, energizing, motivating and interesting.  It is thinking.  It does stir the gray cells and I would like more of it.  I think thinking must be without bounds, preconditions, limits, constraints, taboos.  One goes where one's thinking takes one.  Thinking within a straight jacket is torture.
         
        But we have a serious problem.  Andrius has knit together a community with some interest in his personal activities and in thinking that numbers in the hundreds.  He has done this at a great expense in time, energy, effort and money.  I believe that Andrius thinks many of these people would be offended by thoughts that do not fit their views and would leave as a consequence.
         
        My experience is that the group of active thinkers is very small compared to the total group so I am reluctant to disturb what Andrius has so carefully built, but I think that we cannot follow two paths that are in conflict.  I actually see three paths:
        The first is about thinking.  We can talk about ways, means, tools, etc. for doing it better without ever getting into content.
        The second is thinking.  I think that to think one has to be prepared to be exposed to all possible thoughts without offense.
        The third is thinking appropriately.
         
        The latter two cannot co-exist.  So where do we go?  Can we split the second off so it will not distract, offend, or cause a traffic jam?  Or do we do without it?
         
        John
      • Andrius Kulikauskas
        Hi John, Natalie, You re both pillars of our laboratory. Thank you for your letters. ... I m kind of surprised by the last conclusion. We live in an age
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 2, 2001
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          Hi John, Natalie,
          You're both "pillars" of our laboratory. Thank you for your
          letters.

          John:
          > But we have a serious problem.  Andrius has knit together a community with some interest in his
          > personal activities and in thinking that numbers in the hundreds.  He has done this at a great expense in
          > time, energy, effort and money.  I believe that Andrius thinks many of these people would be offended by
          > thoughts that do not fit their views and would leave as a consequence.

          I'm kind of surprised by the last conclusion.

          We live in an age where it's hard to imagine that anybody would be
          offended by any views, at least any of the people I know, and certainly
          the vast majority of the people in the free world.

          So I want to clarify for you my position. What offends people is "too
          much mail".

          What is the function of our group Minciu_Sodas_EN@yahoogroups.com ?

          A major purpose of that group is an introduction to our laboratory.
          It's where I send people who are interested in our laboratory, but not
          members yet.

          Think about it. How many people have you invited to join the discussion
          at Minciu_Sodas_EN?

          We're still at a stage where practically every single person who
          participates is somebody who I've met personally, either a friend or
          acquaintance, or somebody I met while traveling. Or they are people who
          learned about our laboratory through the work we do, in particular, they
          respond to our questionnaires, and then I go to the trouble to contact
          them, and I invite them to join this particular discussion.

          Often, I assure these people that the volume of letters will not be too
          large. For example, today in New York I specifically told people that
          we keep it to five letters a day. In every case, that was the assurance
          they needed to hear so that they would participate. In that way I got
          three people to sign up from major companies, potential sponsors of our
          laboratory. You can figure that they are costing me $100 per person to
          travel here and find them, not including lost wages (or "vacation
          time").

          These people are often much busier than we are.

          Also, new people usually take at least several months before they start
          to write, actually get engaged.

          The only time people ever quit our group is when the volume has gone up
          too high. We lost 10% of our participants when it did that last time.
          Note that we never get new readers from such spikes!

          Furthermore, Natalie herself and Marjorie and other of our veterans
          complained when there were too many letters, that they couldn't keep up.

          Also, the quality of the letters degenerates when people write
          frantically. They lose sight of any focus, they write polemics, they
          lose this idea of "getting things done", which is the point of the lab.
          Things get done slowly, rhythmically.

          You know only that small fraction of people who actually write. You
          don't know any of the majority of people who don't write. Very few
          people sign up for our group directly through the Internet, without
          having corresponded with me prior to that. I think the only one of
          these to chirp up this year is Julian Gall.

          I know these people, and I have hopes that they'll participate more.
          And some are starting to, people like Shannon or Schuy, who I met in
          Chicago, or my friends David Ellison-Bey, or John Harland, or Stephen
          Bonzak.

          In general, though, I have spoken to many of these people and I know
          that the issue of "too much mail" is what drives them away.

          For my business, I need a place where people can get a feel for our
          laboratory, over the course of many months, and not be driven away by
          too many letters. I need to have contact and feedback from such
          people. The people who matter at Minciu_Sodas_EN are prospective
          members, not you. You don't matter there, and neither do I.

          Instead, for people like you or me we have working groups like
          OurOwnThoughts, or OtherStands. You're welcome to write there as much
          as you want, there aren't any restrictions, and I don't expect that
          there will be.

          If you want to carry out "real Investigations", then that's the place to
          do it, or at least, most of the work. Natalie did her MindLog stuff
          successfully at OtherStands, I've worked on the MindSet standard
          successfully at OurOwnThoughts, I've even worked on a lot of my ideas
          successfully at EmbracingOthers with only two other people. I don't
          know why you need an audience of sixty people, or why Natalie, you feel
          you have or deserve the right to generate the heat that chases them
          away.

          Your letters attract responses, yes. But do they attract people? No.
          So where are we going to get the people?

          Yes, it's very helpful to use the Minciu_Sodas_EN group as a resource
          because that's a fresh group of people. But I'm saying there are limits
          to that resource, and the limits are, on average, five letters per day.
          I know those limits because I've spoken with the people, I have an idea
          of what they can tolerate. So let's treasure that resource and share
          that.

          Spurts can be very good, it seems that they are how new people get the
          urge to jump in. But then let us veterans step out of the water, let's
          watch what the new people will do. The new people won't be able to
          sustain the momentum, and then things will get back under control. But
          in this particular group it's much more interesting what they will say
          of their own, than what we will do. For example, us leaders should be
          much more responsive to newcomers, be willing to drop what we're doing.

          I think us veterans need to be willing to do some hard work.

          John:
          > I'm here because I care about thinking and I'm very interested in finding and developing ways, means,
          > tools, etc. for thinking more effectively.  I would like to see much more activity on this topic than there is
          > even though what there is has been useful.

          For example, John, we do have a working group, OurOwnThoughts, with
          forty people who are all interested in your favorite area, tools for
          thinking. (Whereas many people in Minciu_Sodas_EN are definitely not
          interested, and find it obscure.) So, do we want to clog
          Minciu_Sodas_EN with that? No, instead we want to do what's hard, try
          to get momentum going at OurOwnThoughts. If you wrote a letter a day
          there for a month, then we might have that momentum. I wrote dozens of
          letters to Minciu_Sodas_EN before it ever got going, just "thinking out
          loud". That's what it takes, if that's what you want. Also, call some
          people on the phone - Cass McNutt, Kernan Manion, Andrew Taylor. You
          can get a group moving if you have three people working together.

          Natalie:
          > Like many other subjects that were briefly taken up then dropped, that's
          > what will no doubt happen to this subject. And what will we have
          > investigated?

          Natalie, I keep returning to the subjects I raise, or I keep them in
          mind, keep building on them. Now, if you'd like us to build on the
          subjects we raise, one think that would be very helpful would be to look
          over old letters critically, pick out as tersely as possible the good
          letters and what they achieved. That's what I'm doing at
          http://www.ms.lt/ms/endeavors.html Of course, that's hard work. Who
          likes to work hard? But I'm interested in attracting hard workers.

          In other words, John, Natalie, Minciu_Sodas_EN is not your turf. Our
          turf is the working groups, and yes, they do need some hard work to get
          some momentum going. But Minciu_Sodas_EN is up and running to provide
          us with a continuing stream of new people. Also, I'm here to respond to
          your hard work. And there are others. Maybe you'll be surprised, but
          your leadership will bear enormous fruit.

          Whenever Minciu_Sodas_EN does overheat again, I will call on our leaders
          to exercise restraint. This works extremely well, and inconveniences
          nobody, only us. But what have we lost by pausing a day? Did any of
          those questions run away? No, and in fact, we have time to sort out
          which ones are truly meaningful (decide for yourself) and respond to
          them. Runaway discussions tend to focus on the superficial. The most
          brilliant letters never get any response, but they certainly deserve us
          noticing that, returning to them and responding.

          Minciu_Sodas_EN is going very well, so that's not where the problem is.
          The problem, I think, is with us veterans, to discuss here, what do we
          want to do with our energy? What are we here for? We're not here to
          chat. So what do we want to work on?

          We know who our veterans are, you can't hide. My expectations are high
          for you. I think you know that and find that reasonable.

          Do you want to be a leader, or a rebel? If you want to be a leader,
          let's write about that here at OtherStands. Let's coordinate that, how
          we can support you. I spend my energy on leaders.

          Minciu_Sodas_EN is our channel for talking with newcomers. So any
          messages that are strictly for ourselves - please write to OtherStands.
          That's why I wrote my instructions here, because they are only relevant
          to our leaders, they aren't relevant to others, who are welcome to do
          what they want. So, Natalie, I was surprised that you wrote there
          instead of here. Basically, (unless you made a mistake), that means
          that you want everybody there to be concerned with this.

          Minciu_Sodas_EN is back on track. Feel free to write there. It's
          obvious when it overheats. Please show restraint whenever it does, and
          as soon as it does.

          Hey - Thank you!

          Andrius

          Andrius Kulikauskas
          Direktorius
          Minciu Sodas
          http://www.ms.lt
          ms@...
          +1 (559) 735-0262
          in Visalia, California
          through July, 2001



          Natalie:
          > Hi Andrius - Say hello to New York for me; hope your stay there is fruitful.
          >
          > I'm puzzled by your last message to Minciu.
          > You started the current discussion with your questionnaire on how we learned
          > about thinking.But now that the discussion has become animated, you're
          > saying, in effect: quiet down, it's getting too noisy; move into the other
          > rooms (OtherStands etc) and clear the space.
          >
          > But how can any real 'Investigations' be carried out unlesss we do have
          > animated discussions, and if they occasionally get 'heated', well why not?
          > And why should they need to transfer to different categories if people are
          > happily writing to this space and responding to each other within it?
          >
          > Like many other subjects that were briefly taken up then dropped, that's
          > what will no doubt happen to this subject. And what will we have
          > investigated?
          >
          > Sorry, but I'm feeling rebellious again.
          >
          > Best wishes,
          > Natalie
        • Natalie d'Arbeloff
          I ve been rapped on the knuckles and told to go stand in a corner - the OtherStands corner. So from this corner, I m going to try and define my Other Stand in
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 5, 2001
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            I've been rapped on the knuckles and told to go stand in a corner - the
            OtherStands corner. So from this corner, I'm going to try and define my
            Other Stand in reply to the Stand you expressed, Andrius, in your last
            message addressed to John and to me.

            > Do you want to be a leader, or a rebel?
            A leader implies followers. I don't need followers. I prefer to be a rebel,
            in a constructive way. Some rebels blow things up and tear things down. I'm
            interested in rebellion that refuses to accept the status quo and that keeps
            asking questions. This is not the same as being negatively critical which
            never achieves anything except making people defensive and thereby deepening
            misunderstandings. So if I rebel, I want to make sure that the reasons for
            my rebellion are crystal clear.

            > I don't
            > know why you need an audience of sixty people, or why Natalie, you feel
            > you have or deserve the right to generate the heat that chases them
            > away.
            I don't need an audience here at all; I thought Minciu was about independent
            thinkers in equal relationship. Nor did I know I was generating heat (but
            that's rather flattering if it's true!). Nor did I know I was chasing away
            sixty people!
            The volume of letters that arrived as a result of your questionnaire to
            Minciu-sodas-EN of March 29 ("Who helped you to think? etc.) was not
            generated by me. I only made some comments on this topic after I'd read all
            the other letters. If we (the so-called veterans) had not replied to your
            questionnaire, there would have been no replies at all. It was only because
            of the letters from John, Shannon, Annette, Marjorie, that any exploration
            of this thread began and stimulated responses from Schuy, Stephen Bonzak and
            John Harland.
            I thought it a great pity that this potentially rich area of investigation
            was cut dead by your injunction to us to 'leave the room, it's getting
            overheated.'
            > Also, the quality of the letters degenerates when people write
            > frantically. They lose sight of any focus, they write polemics, they
            > lose this idea of "getting things done",
            Writing'frantically' can also mean passionately and caringly, which is what
            you were advocating a few letters back.
            Yes, it was getting into polemics, but gradually that would have cleared,
            and by continuing to focus on questions raised, it could have resulted in
            the kind of genuine 'public investigation' which is what you envisage as
            getting things done. A larger than usual volume of mail is a small price to
            pay if it actually begins to fulfill the goals you have set for Minciu.
            > Your letters attract responses, yes. But do they attract people? No.
            > So where are we going to get the people?
            What are responses if not people? If by "your letters" you mean the letters
            from all us veterans, then do you mean that new people can't be attracted to
            Minciu by reading the messages we are writing? If that's the case, then why
            should anyone be interested in joining Minciu at all? I fail to see the
            logic in the reasoning which says that:
            a) Minciu-EN is a shop-window to attract newcomers and help them decide if
            they want to enter the shop/laboratory and join.
            b) Behind the scenes, inside the Laboratory, is where the REAL work goes on,
            the serious investigations and discussions by interesting, original,
            independent thinkers/instigators.
            c) But these IEs (Independent Thinkers) mustn't come out and ask questions
            or do any of their investigating in the shop-window because that might
            frighten away the newcomers.
            d) Also, no dissent is allowed in the shop-window because it might put
            newcomers off if they think that there are differing points of view within
            Minciu. Any expression of disagreement between the IEs must be confined to
            behind the scenes.
            e) Newcomers, potential members or sponsors, are 'busier' (i.e. more
            successful. prominent or rich) than we are, therefore we have to be careful
            not to drive them away.
            > These people are often much busier than we are.

            My rebellious question was:
            If the shop-window doesn't reveal what the REAL activity of Minciu is, then
            why should any independent thinkers be interested in joining? If the only
            conversation allowed in the shop-window is chat about this and that, with no
            depth or continuity, then why should newcomers choose Minciu rather than any
            of the hundreds of other chat-rooms on the net?
            > Spurts can be very good, it seems that they are how new people get the
            > urge to jump in. But then let us veterans step out of the water, let's
            >watch what the new people will do. The new people won't be able to
            > sustain the momentum, and then things will get back under control.
            That doesn't sound to me like a recipe for a serious Laboratory for Caring
            about Thinking. It sounds more like a formula for superficial discussions
            that can be found any day of the week , anywhere on earth, wherever people
            gather in one place and start talking.
            And what do you mean: " .....new people won't be able to sustain the
            momentum...."? Do you have so little confidence in these newcomers? And what
            does: "......things will get back under control..." mean? What control?
            I'm very dubious about control and censorship( see above, re. censoring what
            can and cannot be said in the shop-window) in an undertaking that is
            intended to support PUBLIC research into thinking. Surely the only 'control'
            needed for a group of adult, intelligent, independent thinkers who are
            thinking out loud and in public on the internet is to ask them to keep their
            letters to one page (I'm breaking that rule now) and to be as clear as
            possible in the way they express themselves.

            > Natalie, I keep returning to the subjects I raise, or I keep them in
            > mind, keep building on them.
            But this doesn't constitute a real investigation by the laboratory and in
            the laboratory. For that to happen effectively, more than one person would
            need to be involved in pursuing one subject at a time, consistently and in
            depth and from more than one or two points of view. That's the advantage of
            a focused group investigation: one's horizon broadens because one has to
            deal with varying viewpoints which might challenge one's own or stimulate it
            into new and deeper directions. When you say we can 'work' on our own within
            Minciu, I question your definition of 'work'. I work all the time on my own
            and don't need Minciu for this. The reason I joined Minciu was to
            communicate with independent thinkers about subjects I am deeply interested
            in exploring further, and to hear other views on these subjects. I wasn't
            looking for a new place to work or another career.
            > Now, if you'd like us to build on the
            > subjects we raise, one think that would be very helpful would be to look
            > over old letters critically, pick out as tersely as possible the good
            > letters and what they achieved.
            Andrius! I have neither the time or the inclination to start re-reading and
            editing the Minciu correspondence. My own work takes up my life and just
            writing this letter has cut a big chunk out of the day which I'll now have
            to replace by working far into the night. I had previously decided not to
            reply to your letter at all but I changed my mind because I care about and
            respect you too much not to let you know what my response is.

            > Think about it. How many people have you invited to join the discussion
            > at Minciu_Sodas_EN?
            That sounds like a reproach! (Do you know the old Jewish joke, "What have
            you done for me lately"?) I've given the Minciu website address to a couple
            of people I thought would be interested. But most people I know
            manage to think and work effectively without using a computer or e-mail or
            the Internet. I myself decided to buy a Mac computer less than a year ago
            only for the graphics possibilities I can use. This is still my main use for
            the computer. My letters to Minciu are the rare exceptions.
            I do want to create a personal website at some point but it's not now a
            priority.

            > The problem, I think, is with us veterans, to discuss here, what do we
            > want to do with our energy? What are we here for? We're not here to
            > chat. So what do we want to work on?That sounds like there is some kind of
            cohesive 'we'. This is not the case.
            Who are the veterans? You, Andrius, Marjorie, John, Annette, me, and I'm not
            sure who else is included in your definition? We all have different
            interests and reasons for being here in Minciu. What do 'we want to work
            on' assumes that we have some common project. This is not the case. Each of
            us can suggest areas of thinking we'd like to explore - you often do this,
            and we all have done so on various occasions - but that doesn't mean we all
            want to focus, all together, on the same thing.
            > If you want to carry out "real Investigations", then that's the place to
            > do it, or at least, most of the work. Natalie did her MindLog stuff
            > successfully at OtherStands,
            I can't agree that it was a successful investigation, at least not in my
            understanding of what that means. The whole point of the Mind-Log project
            was that it could be tried out by a number of people so that results could
            then be compared and individual experiences discussed. If I just wanted to
            do it for my own sake, I would have done it anyway and didn't need to post
            it to Minciu. It's not a new experience for me to do investigations for
            myself, I've always done it, it's my way of thinking. But I'm certainly not
            blaming Minciu for the failure of this 'public' project. It simply
            demonstrates the reality: different strokes for different folks!

            Well, I'm going to end this long session now and hope that I've at least put
            my 'rebellion' in perspective.

            Andrius, though I don't really know you, I think of you as a friend and I'm
            sure that if we met in real life as oppposed to cyberspace, we would be real
            friends. I might exasperate you and vice-versa, but we would still be
            friends.

            Natalie
          • Natalie d'Arbeloff
            I ve been rapped on the knuckles and told to go stand in a corner - the OtherStands corner. So from this corner, I m going to try and define my Other Stand in
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 5, 2001
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              I've been rapped on the knuckles and told to go stand in a corner - the
              OtherStands corner. So from this corner, I'm going to try and define my
              Other Stand in reply to the Stand you expressed, Andrius, in your last
              message addressed to John and to me.

              > Do you want to be a leader, or a rebel?
              A leader implies followers. I don't need followers. I prefer to be a rebel,
              in a constructive way. Some rebels blow things up and tear things down. I'm
              interested in rebellion that refuses to accept the status quo and that keeps
              asking questions. This is not the same as being negatively critical which
              never achieves anything except making people defensive and thereby deepening
              misunderstandings. So if I rebel, I want to make sure that the reasons for
              my rebellion are crystal clear.

              > I don't
              > know why you need an audience of sixty people, or why Natalie, you feel
              > you have or deserve the right to generate the heat that chases them
              > away.
              I don't need an audience here at all; I thought Minciu was about independent
              thinkers in equal relationship. Nor did I know I was generating heat (but
              that's rather flattering if it's true!). Nor did I know I was chasing away
              sixty people!
              The volume of letters that arrived as a result of your questionnaire to
              Minciu-sodas-EN of March 29 ("Who helped you to think? etc.) was not
              generated by me. I only made some comments on this topic after I'd read all
              the other letters. If we (the so-called veterans) had not replied to your
              questionnaire, there would have been no replies at all. It was only because
              of the letters from John, Shannon, Annette, Marjorie, that any exploration
              of this thread began and stimulated responses from Schuy, Stephen Bonzak and
              John Harland.
              I thought it a great pity that this potentially rich area of investigation
              was cut dead by your injunction to us to 'leave the room, it's getting
              overheated.'
              > Also, the quality of the letters degenerates when people write
              > frantically. They lose sight of any focus, they write polemics, they
              > lose this idea of "getting things done",
              Writing'frantically' can also mean passionately and caringly, which is what
              you were advocating a few letters back.
              Yes, it was getting into polemics, but gradually that would have cleared,
              and by continuing to focus on questions raised, it could have resulted in
              the kind of genuine 'public investigation' which is what you envisage as
              getting things done. A larger than usual volume of mail is a small price to
              pay if it actually begins to fulfill the goals you have set for Minciu.
              > Your letters attract responses, yes. But do they attract people? No.
              > So where are we going to get the people?
              What are responses if not people? If by "your letters" you mean the letters
              from all us veterans, then do you mean that new people can't be attracted to
              Minciu by reading the messages we are writing? If that's the case, then why
              should anyone be interested in joining Minciu at all? I fail to see the
              logic in the reasoning which says that:
              a) Minciu-EN is a shop-window to attract newcomers and help them decide if
              they want to enter the shop/laboratory and join.
              b) Behind the scenes, inside the Laboratory, is where the REAL work goes on,
              the serious investigations and discussions by interesting, original,
              independent thinkers/instigators.
              c) But these IEs (Independent Thinkers) mustn't come out and ask questions
              or do any of their investigating in the shop-window because that might
              frighten away the newcomers.
              d) Also, no dissent is allowed in the shop-window because it might put
              newcomers off if they think that there are differing points of view within
              Minciu. Any expression of disagreement between the IEs must be confined to
              behind the scenes.
              e) Newcomers, potential members or sponsors, are 'busier' (i.e. more
              successful. prominent or rich) than we are, therefore we have to be careful
              not to drive them away.
              > These people are often much busier than we are.

              My rebellious question was:
              If the shop-window doesn't reveal what the REAL activity of Minciu is, then
              why should any independent thinkers be interested in joining? If the only
              conversation allowed in the shop-window is chat about this and that, with no
              depth or continuity, then why should newcomers choose Minciu rather than any
              of the hundreds of other chat-rooms on the net?
              > Spurts can be very good, it seems that they are how new people get the
              > urge to jump in. But then let us veterans step out of the water, let's
              >watch what the new people will do. The new people won't be able to
              > sustain the momentum, and then things will get back under control.
              That doesn't sound to me like a recipe for a serious Laboratory for Caring
              about Thinking. It sounds more like a formula for superficial discussions
              that can be found any day of the week , anywhere on earth, wherever people
              gather in one place and start talking.
              And what do you mean: " .....new people won't be able to sustain the
              momentum...."? Do you have so little confidence in these newcomers? And what
              does: "......things will get back under control..." mean? What control?
              I'm very dubious about control and censorship( see above, re. censoring what
              can and cannot be said in the shop-window) in an undertaking that is
              intended to support PUBLIC research into thinking. Surely the only 'control'
              needed for a group of adult, intelligent, independent thinkers who are
              thinking out loud and in public on the internet is to ask them to keep their
              letters to one page (I'm breaking that rule now) and to be as clear as
              possible in the way they express themselves.

              > Natalie, I keep returning to the subjects I raise, or I keep them in
              > mind, keep building on them.
              But this doesn't constitute a real investigation by the laboratory and in
              the laboratory. For that to happen effectively, more than one person would
              need to be involved in pursuing one subject at a time, consistently and in
              depth and from more than one or two points of view. That's the advantage of
              a focused group investigation: one's horizon broadens because one has to
              deal with varying viewpoints which might challenge one's own or stimulate it
              into new and deeper directions. When you say we can 'work' on our own within
              Minciu, I question your definition of 'work'. I work all the time on my own
              and don't need Minciu for this. The reason I joined Minciu was to
              communicate with independent thinkers about subjects I am deeply interested
              in exploring further, and to hear other views on these subjects. I wasn't
              looking for a new place to work or another career.
              > Now, if you'd like us to build on the
              > subjects we raise, one think that would be very helpful would be to look
              > over old letters critically, pick out as tersely as possible the good
              > letters and what they achieved.
              Andrius! I have neither the time or the inclination to start re-reading and
              editing the Minciu correspondence. My own work takes up my life and just
              writing this letter has cut a big chunk out of the day which I'll now have
              to replace by working far into the night. I had previously decided not to
              reply to your letter at all but I changed my mind because I care about and
              respect you too much not to let you know what my response is.

              > Think about it. How many people have you invited to join the discussion
              > at Minciu_Sodas_EN?
              That sounds like a reproach! (Do you know the old Jewish joke, "What have
              you done for me lately"?) I've given the Minciu website address to a couple
              of people I thought would be interested. But most people I know
              manage to think and work effectively without using a computer or e-mail or
              the Internet. I myself decided to buy a Mac computer less than a year ago
              only for the graphics possibilities I can use. This is still my main use for
              the computer. My letters to Minciu are the rare exceptions.
              I do want to create a personal website at some point but it's not now a
              priority.

              > The problem, I think, is with us veterans, to discuss here, what do we
              > want to do with our energy? What are we here for? We're not here to
              > chat. So what do we want to work on?That sounds like there is some kind of
              cohesive 'we'. This is not the case.
              Who are the veterans? You, Andrius, Marjorie, John, Annette, me, and I'm not
              sure who else is included in your definition? We all have different
              interests and reasons for being here in Minciu. What do 'we want to work
              on' assumes that we have some common project. This is not the case. Each of
              us can suggest areas of thinking we'd like to explore - you often do this,
              and we all have done so on various occasions - but that doesn't mean we all
              want to focus, all together, on the same thing.
              > If you want to carry out "real Investigations", then that's the place to
              > do it, or at least, most of the work. Natalie did her MindLog stuff
              > successfully at OtherStands,
              I can't agree that it was a successful investigation, at least not in my
              understanding of what that means. The whole point of the Mind-Log project
              was that it could be tried out by a number of people so that results could
              then be compared and individual experiences discussed. If I just wanted to
              do it for my own sake, I would have done it anyway and didn't need to post
              it to Minciu. It's not a new experience for me to do investigations for
              myself, I've always done it, it's my way of thinking. But I'm certainly not
              blaming Minciu for the failure of this 'public' project. It simply
              demonstrates the reality: different strokes for different folks!

              Well, I'm going to end this long session now and hope that I've at least put
              my 'rebellion' in perspective.

              Andrius, though I don't really know you, I think of you as a friend and I'm
              sure that if we met in real life as oppposed to cyberspace, we would be real
              friends. I might exasperate you and vice-versa, but we would still be
              friends.

              Natalie
            • John Leppik
              Responding to Natalie s protestations of April 5th about having our knuckles rapped ................. I like Natalie s modes of leadership and rebellion. They
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 9, 2001
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                Responding to Natalie's protestations of April 5th about having our knuckles
                rapped .................

                I like Natalie's modes of leadership and rebellion. They suit a competent
                individual contributor.

                Do we really have a relatively large number of potential contributors who
                would be driven away by heated discussions? That kind of problem can be
                easily
                handled by a structure that splits off hot threads so that they are
                optionally available to everybody. In this way, no one would be limited, no
                one would be excluded and no one would be burdened by too much unwanted
                mail. It would need an
                administrator to decide what should be a new thread with optional
                subscription. Since you cover everything already anyways Andrius, that may
                not be much of an additional burden.

                I think that the key issues in this thread are: Should we have a shop
                window?
                Should it be representative of what we have to offer? and What is it that we
                are for anyway?
                Having worked in secretive organizations, product development, problem
                solving, education, marketing and sales, I appreciate most of the reasons
                for having a promotional shop window that covers up what is not yet ready
                for presentation and what one does not want to present. I am also aware
                that Aboriginals probably everywhere in this World observed that "White Man
                speaketh with
                forked tongue." Our youth in the 1960's raised the same issue. They
                observed that all organizations, be they benevolent, governmental,
                non-government or private, did the same. They had a glossy public image,
                but
                their real motivations were more important and had a great deal to do with
                organizational survival, personal well-being, personal power and cover-up of
                problems.

                I am sure that we are all aware of the social edict "Do not talk about
                politics, religion, or sex". Today we should add political correctness, our
                education system, abortion and many others. The reason is that many people
                have often strong and often irrational positions on these issues and thus
                are easily offended and often driven away by challenges to their views.
                Also, in multicultural societies, these differences are often beyond an
                individual's ability to resolve. Thus I think our issue is: Do people who
                cannot tolerate challenges to their views
                have much to contribute to 'Caring About Thinking'?

                As I grow older, I encounter the dominance of political correctness
                everywhere, and the opportunities to have real ideas rub up against other
                and different ideas much more difficult to find. The Academy for Lifelong
                Learning at the University of Toronto is fairly good in this respect. I
                was hoping that Minciu Sodas Laboratory would be another, but I am still
                treading with care. I know of no other. I also know that it is not a good
                idea to try to do this with family, friends and acquaintances. The other
                day
                I observed at the Academy for Lifelong Learning that in ten years I had
                probably not changed anyone's mind on key issues, but the value was in being
                able to discuss key issues with other intelligent people in a civil way and
                thereby clarify my thinking. I think a small
                minority of people would be attracted to free discussion of ideas and most
                would be driven away. That perhaps is our key to uniqueness and value in a
                very big
                place, the Internet.

                I am with Natalie who wrote "The reason I joined Minciu was to communicate
                with independent thinkers about subjects I am deeply interested in exploring
                further, and to hear other views on these subjects". But that was my second
                reason. My primary reason was to participate in a community that cared
                about thinking so as to find, define, or develop better tools to aid my
                thinking. Either reason is enough to stay. So far I see potential for
                each.

                John
              • Andrius Kulikauskas
                Hi John, Natalie, and Everybody, Thank you for your letters. Thank you, John, for your correspondence at OurOwnThoughts. It looks like we re on the threshhold
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 10, 2001
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                  Hi John, Natalie, and Everybody,
                  Thank you for your letters.
                  Thank you, John, for your correspondence at OurOwnThoughts. It
                  looks like we're on the threshhold of having critical mass there. Your
                  letters have been a key part of that.
                  I'm also very happy with the quality of the letters at
                  Minciu_Sodas_EN. I appreciate everybody who's showing restraint. As
                  that grows, we'll need to do that more and more there.
                  I should mention, though, that as our laboratory grows, I think you
                  will find our Working groups more and more attractive. They will have
                  more people, and more energy. So please have in mind that our
                  laboratory is on a trajectory, and our discipline is making that
                  happen. A year from now things will look very different, let's have the
                  long run in mind.
                  That's a key point: Minciu_Sodas_EN is not Minciu Sodas. It may be
                  where you're most active now, but in the big picture, the unfolding
                  picture, that's just one part of the lab. We shouldn't exaggerate its
                  importance. Imagine our lab a year from now, or ten years from now, and
                  take a look at the other parts. What other parts should there be? I
                  imagine us having ten working groups with incredible synergy, and I
                  would be happy if over the next ten years each group accomplished
                  something of earth-shaking importance. In fact, that's my minimum
                  expectation.
                  Natalie raised a very important point. Don't we want to show our
                  real activity?
                  First of all, all of our activity is available for everybody to
                  see. So we're not hiding anything.
                  Second of all, what is our real activity? Our real activity is to
                  get things done. What does it mean to "get things done"? My definition
                  is that when we're getting things done, then A) it's explicit-tangible,
                  B) it can be built on, C) something good happened along the way.
                  For example, I very highly value Natalie's Mindlog for "getting
                  things done". She produced a very tangible method, it certainly made
                  her "modes" much more real and concrete to me, I saw their value.
                  Furthermore, it had a tangible consequence, she noticed that this method
                  made her hyper-alert to her thinking. That's something we can build on,
                  I very imagine us finding ourselves wanting to be hyper-alert for future
                  investigations, so we'll have this method as a ready option. Finally, I
                  think Natalie had personal value from it, I myself did thinking about
                  those issues, and she was able to generate very healthy momentum in this
                  working group. I was very pleased.
                  So, of course, Natalie, when you later write that it didn't get
                  much done, then I simply mark in my mind that you don't understand.
                  You're doing a wonderful job, so maybe you don't need to understand, not
                  all at once.
                  Also, you wrote that hardly anybody at Minciu_Sodas_EN responded
                  when you shared that, so it was not a "success". The fact is, it's not
                  any "hoopla" that makes it successful. All of the best letters don't
                  get any response. By the time people absorb them they don't know what
                  they could add, or they don't have the energy. However, those letters
                  often have a deep and lasting effect on people.
                  Natalie, you wrote about how we might all "work together" on a
                  common project, and wondered whether that's realistic. In fact, that's
                  not really our mission. Independent thinkers have their own projects,
                  they can and should work on their own, that's what truly productive.
                  We're not here to "all work together", we're here to encourage and
                  support each other so that the independent thinker's solitary work style
                  is acknowledged and utilized as the basis for work and progress. We're
                  showing that such a work style can be harnessed for impressive endeavors
                  that integrate aspects of individual projects by independent thinkers.
                  So when Annette plugs away, investigating "brainstorming", that's
                  fantastic, and if we could relate that to our Network of Tools for
                  Thinking, that's especially fantastic because they all have in common
                  "re-thinking more powerfully". It's great that we encourage her, and
                  that she feels comfortable working before us, and maybe at a certain
                  point her work will effect OurOwnThoughts, and vice versa.
                  Or John, you got A LOT DONE by getting our working group
                  OurOwnThoughts going.
                  But from your very first letters to Minciu Sodas I've disagreed
                  with you when you write that you don't expect your ideas to change
                  much. The fact is, what I admire about you most is that you are quite
                  able to change. You like to debate and discuss, but I think you've
                  learned that it's not what we do here, "caring about thinking" is not
                  about that. "Caring about thinking" says that thinking has no value of
                  itself, it's only a means, and we have to look for the end. We have to
                  be open to all of the issues in life where we could actually do some
                  good. We have to consider how our thinking will help with that, if at
                  all. We have to be willing to be quiet, reduce the "noise", as was so
                  wonderfully put at Minciu_Sodas_EN.

                  > So what am I doing here playing ping-pong e-mail with people I have never met except in this context? 

                  No ping pong, John! At least not at Minciu_Sodas_EN. If you want to
                  play some ping pong just for fun, you're welcome to do that here at
                  OtherStands. Evoking ping pong can be a useful tool. But we don't do
                  that at Minciu_Sodas_EN just for fun, not if we're smart enough to know
                  better. (You are).
                  So, when we ask ourselves, does Minciu_Sodas_EN reflect our real
                  activity, let's first consider: Do we know what our real activity is?
                  Let's focus on our real activity first, and often, Minciu_Sodas_EN will
                  not be the place to do that. This group, OtherStands, is where I'll be
                  figuring that out, and I invite you to join me here.
                  Our real activity is patient and quiet. My feeling is that most
                  typically it's when we have a slower, deeper rhythm which is wonderfully
                  refreshing. In general, I like the idea of not replying to a letter on
                  the same day. Wait three days! If it's still important three days
                  later, then it's worth writing about. And you'll probably write
                  something brilliant, you'll have taken it several steps further, you'll
                  have related it to important things in life. This is what makes for
                  fewer but better letters, which is enjoyable for everybody. Also, we
                  can support each other regarding this, we dictate the rhythm.

                  > Do we really have a relatively large number of potential contributors who
                  > would be driven away by heated discussions?

                  Absolutely Yes. People are driven away by the number of letters. You
                  can ignore the length of a letter, but you can't ignore the number of
                  them. You have to look through every single one to doublecheck if it's
                  important or not. Or it "dilutes" your mail, makes it harder for you to
                  find important letters.

                  David Kankiewicz wrote some beautiful letters just recently. I think
                  it's the first time he's written, and I think he joined that list six
                  months ago. That's quite typical, for many people it takes three to
                  nine months to feel comfortable speaking up. It's understandable, we
                  have a very novel mission.

                  >From a business point of view, it's vitally important that people be
                  able to stick it out for that long. Once they're members, once they're
                  participating in working group, once they're "enrolled", then I feel
                  comfortable that they "decide for themselves", and I always have the
                  right to approach them. But with newcomers, I've simply received their
                  permission to sign them up for this group, and I'm waiting to get more
                  permission to engage them. We'll never get there if they unsubscribe
                  because they were overwhelmed by letters.

                  > That kind of problem can be
                  > easily
                  > handled by a structure that splits off hot threads so that they are
                  > optionally available to everybody. In this way, no one would be limited, no
                  > one would be excluded and no one would be burdened by too much unwanted
                  > mail. It would need an
                  > administrator to decide what should be a new thread with optional
                  > subscription. Since you cover everything already anyways Andrius, that may
                  > not be much of an additional burden.

                  That's on the hard side of easy. You can simply create a new yahoogroup
                  and invite everybody to join. In practice, it will take you half an
                  hour to create that group, and then you'll probably find that most
                  people won't take the trouble to sign up.

                  What we have at the lab is very much in that spirit, though. We have
                  working groups already set up for the various kinds of topics that come
                  up. You can sign up for that working group ahead of time, or you can do
                  it at the spur of the moment. So what's easy is that we be willing to
                  move our discussion over here to OtherStands (or to other working
                  groups, as they get going). Yes, I can help you figure out what's the
                  best group, although there can be overlap.

                  > Do people who
                  > cannot tolerate challenges to their views
                  > have much to contribute to 'Caring About Thinking'?

                  This seems like an imaginary issue. John, could you name somebody
                  concrete? Who is not tolerating challenges? I would agree with Schuy.
                  I think that the real challenges come when we immerse ourselves (or get
                  immersed) in situations that challenge us, where there are big problems
                  right before us that we need to respond to. I know that I need to put
                  myself into these situations and deal with these issues, it makes a big
                  difference when I do. Reaching out to people in trouble is very
                  valuable, and our thinking should help us do that.

                  > I think a small
                  > minority of people would be attracted to free discussion of ideas and most
                  > would be driven away. That perhaps is our key to uniqueness and value in a
                  > very big
                  > place, the Internet.

                  I disagree strongly. There's plenty of free discussion on the
                  Internet.

                  What's "unique" about Minciu Sodas is that we're not interested in
                  discussion. We're here to "get things done". So we attract serious
                  people who have "better things to do". We attract them, we keep them,
                  and we engage them because they can feel in their bones that we're
                  actually able to get things done regarding a very difficult and sublime
                  area: thinking. My view is we're all getting to watch wonderful history
                  unfold, and even participate. That's very uplifting. I feel great when
                  I invite newcomers, and then we get some great letters come in, as we
                  have lately, and then I know that we truly do deliver the goods.

                  > I am with Natalie who wrote "The reason I joined Minciu was to communicate
                  > with independent thinkers about subjects I am deeply interested in exploring
                  > further, and to hear other views on these subjects". But that was my second
                  > reason. My primary reason was to participate in a community that cared
                  > about thinking so as to find, define, or develop better tools to aid my
                  > thinking. Either reason is enough to stay. So far I see potential for
                  > each.

                  John, Natalie, and everybody here. You're the people who've found the
                  most value at our laboratory, and have also shared that with others.
                  I'm learning tremendously, and I think you also are. For example, I
                  hope and think that you're learning that you have a great influence on
                  our groups. Your influence is much greater than those of others because
                  you're more conscious, more aware. I think of Marjorie as somebody who
                  is very much in tune with the flow in our groups and the effect her own
                  letters have. In fact, she was the very first person who helped me
                  generate some momentum with her regular and thoughtful responses.

                  We have influence, so in that sense we're leaders, we need to take that
                  responsibility. Even as rebels. I need to be aware that there's a
                  process by which people become engaged in our laboratory, ever more
                  alert to how and why we work. If we want that process to work, then we
                  have to be sensitive to where people are. In fact, we have to make an
                  extra effort to reach out to those who have trouble participating.
                  Minciu_Sodas_EN is a window where people can see us work, but also, and
                  perhaps more importantly, we can see new people, be exposed to fresh
                  ideas.

                  I'll be working here at OtherStands to figure out the processes of our
                  laboratory, how people get more and more engaged, and how they benefit.
                  This is important for this to work as a business, which it needs to.
                  Cass - who we haven't heard much from - is actually quite engaged in the
                  "real" activity of our laboratory. I meet with him every week and we
                  talk about his tool for thinking that he's developing. He's making
                  great progress, and I'm learning a great deal about how to help somebody
                  like him. Regarding our "real" activity, this is especially important
                  for me, finding people who need to work independently but would like to
                  have a context for that in which they could engage others regarding
                  their work. So a great help is:

                  A) If you'd like to pursue a project here, let's make that explicit, and
                  see how we might support your efforts.
                  B) If you could help such people, that's great.
                  C) If you could help think through these processes of supporting
                  thinkers, I also find that useful.

                  I'll be organizing that kind of stuff here at OtherStands. In general,
                  I'd like to see OtherStands become more active than Minciu_Sodas_EN, and
                  I appreciate your help in making that mental shift. I invited our
                  member Dan Weinstein to join us, and I'll be continuously looking for
                  people to "graduate" from Minciu_Sodas_EN to here as they become more
                  comfortable and aware within our laboratory.

                  Thank you for your letters.
                  Keep up the good work!
                  And also, do have fun.
                  I enjoy your activity.

                  Andrius

                  Andrius Kulikauskas
                  Direktorius
                  Minciu Sodas
                  http://www.ms.lt
                  ms@...
                  +1 (559) 735-0262
                  in Visalia, California
                  through July, 2001
                • Natalie d'Arbeloff
                  Hi Andrius, I ve read and absorbed your letter and just want to clarify a couple of ... With regard to my Mind-Log Project, you misinterpreted why I said it
                  Message 8 of 11 , Apr 11, 2001
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                    Hi Andrius,
                    I've read and absorbed your letter and just want to clarify a couple of
                    things before I reply to your important question, which is:

                    > what is our real activity? Our real activity is to
                    > get things done. What does it mean to "get things done"? My definition
                    > is that when we're getting things done, then A) it's explicit-tangible,
                    > B) it can be built on, C) something good happened along the way.

                    With regard to my Mind-Log Project, you misinterpreted why I said it wasn't
                    a success:

                    > ...... you wrote that hardly anybody at Minciu_Sodas_EN responded
                    > when you shared that, so it was not a "success". The fact is, it's not
                    > any "hoopla" that makes it successful.

                    That wasn't what I actually said: what I did say what that the experiment
                    was designed to be carried out simultaneously by at least a few people,
                    during a given time-period (I had suggested a week). This was equivalent to
                    the trials that are done when a new medicine is discovered: it wouldn't make
                    sense if the person who discovered the medicine only tried it on himself! I
                    didn't need any 'hoopla' or comments or praise: only a bunch of volunteers
                    to try it out. I merely stated the fact that this didn't happen. It doesn't
                    mean that I consider my experiment worthless or that I didn't benefit from
                    it. It just means that it didn't achieve its intended aim in its intended
                    time. But I'm pleased that it's gone into the Minciu archive anyway.
                    Misinterpretation cleared up - we can put that topic away now.

                    Just one more point to sort out:
                    David Kankiewicz wrote a very thought-provoking letter, raising important
                    questions, in the spirit of Minciu investigations. Not to reply to him,
                    simply because he was writing in minciu_sodas_EN and we are supposed to do
                    our work only in OtherStands, would have been counter-productive.
                    When I replied to him, I was indeed 'working'/thinking/getting ideas .
                    Without replying to him, I would not have known about the work he is doing,
                    which seems very relevant to the aims of Minciu.
                    So, while I perfectly well understand your concern about keeping the volume
                    of letters down, I hope you are not underestimating the value of making
                    newcomers feel immediately part of a 'caring about thinking' community and
                    that their contributions are taken seriously. The only way we can let them
                    know this is by responding, if something they say touches a chord.
                    It's not enough to say someone wrote a wonderful letter - it's the content
                    of that letter which is important and which might be bringing a fresh slant
                    to the Lab's work.
                    So, yes, I've got your point very clearly, but please see mine as well!

                    Now I can move on to the nitty-gritty.
                    I was struck by something you said during our conversation on the phone last
                    week. You said:

                    " I'm not interested in new insights - I have enough of my own "

                    At first I thought: Well, that's a strange thing to say from someone who
                    started a group called " Laboratory for Caring About Thinking"!
                    But on further reflection, I had to admit that this is very much my own
                    outlook as well.
                    If I'm absolutely honest, the most exciting insights I discover are my own.
                    This doesn't mean I can't appreciate and respond to others' insights,
                    because I do. And when I was teaching, it was not just my job but my delight
                    to respond to and encourage and stimulate others' insights.
                    But the fact is, I don't actually NEED them. You could drop me on a desert
                    island, with no company, no books, no television or computer, or telephone,
                    just some paper and pens and tools, and I'd be lonely but I'd get enough
                    insights to last me a lifetime.

                    I wrote to Minciu-EN about the ping-pong of opinions: as I see it, there's a
                    big difference between insight and opinion. An opinion is something you
                    acquire - often as a result of your conditioning, culture, influences,
                    emotional reactions, likes and dislikes,etc. - and it generally becomes
                    fixed.

                    But an insight is something that happens to you, sometimes when you least
                    expect it. And it seems to happen more often when you are opinion-free; in
                    other words, not blank but attentive, waiting, and looking inwards. I can't
                    define this 'inwards' except to suggest that it's a state of not-knowing,
                    not having a fixed view, but being intensely focused.
                    And insights are never static. They're like an image in slow motion,
                    gradually showing you one angle, then another and another.

                    I think that we all have insights but often they're obscured by the sheer
                    weight of opinions that we all carry around like baggage. That's why I'm
                    much more interested to hear people's experiences than their opinions - when
                    someone tells you their experiences, it's as if they put away their baggage,
                    their masks and their costumes and just stand there as themselves, what they
                    are, rather than what their opinion is.

                    So, to get to the point: What do I want to do within this space of
                    OtherStands?
                    Okay, I've got a project that I can do here, taking a similar approach to
                    the one I took when I did that book (originally called "Experiments in
                    Seeing" then published as "Designing With Natural Forms") described some
                    letters back. In other words, looking at something familiar as though I'd
                    never seen it before. Except that I want to do it with the following three
                    words:
                    LOVE
                    TRUTH
                    GOD

                    Next message, I'll outline how I want to go about this.

                    Goodnight and good wishes to you all.

                    Natalie
                  • Natalie d'Arbeloff
                    Hi Andrius, I ve read and absorbed your letter and just want to clarify a couple of ... With regard to my Mind-Log Project, you misinterpreted why I said it
                    Message 9 of 11 , Apr 11, 2001
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Hi Andrius,
                      I've read and absorbed your letter and just want to clarify a couple of
                      things before I reply to the important question, which is:

                      > what is our real activity? Our real activity is to
                      > get things done. What does it mean to "get things done"? My definition
                      > is that when we're getting things done, then A) it's explicit-tangible,
                      > B) it can be built on, C) something good happened along the way.

                      With regard to my Mind-Log Project, you misinterpreted why I said it wasn't
                      a success:

                      > ...... you wrote that hardly anybody at Minciu_Sodas_EN responded
                      > when you shared that, so it was not a "success". The fact is, it's not
                      > any "hoopla" that makes it successful.

                      That wasn't what I actually said: what I did say what that the experiment
                      was designed to be carried out simultaneously by at least a few people,
                      during a given time-period (I had suggested a week). This was equivalent to
                      the trials that are done when a new medicine is discovered: it wouldn't make
                      sense if the person who discovered the medicine only tried it on himself! I
                      didn't need any 'hoopla' or comments or praise: only a bunch of volunteers
                      to try it out. I merely stated the fact that this didn't happen. It doesn't
                      mean that I consider my experiment worthless or that I didn't benefit from
                      it. It just means that it didn't achieve its intended aim in its intended
                      time. But I'm pleased that it's gone into the Minciu archive anyway.
                      Misinterpretation cleared up - we can put that topic away now.

                      Just one more point to sort out:
                      David Kankiewicz wrote a very thought-provoking letter, raising important
                      questions, in the spirit of Minciu investigations. Not to reply to him,
                      simply because he was writing in minciu_sodas_EN and we are supposed to do
                      our work only in OtherStands, would have seemed counter-productive.
                      When I replied to him, I was indeed 'working'/thinking/getting ideas .
                      Without replying to him, I would not have known about the work he is doing,
                      which seems very relevant to the aims of Minciu.
                      So, while I perfectly well understand your concern about keeping the volume
                      of letters down, I hope you are not underestimating the value of making
                      newcomers feel immediately part of a 'caring about thinking' community and
                      that their contributions are taken seriously. The only way we can let them
                      know this is by responding, if something they say touches a chord.
                      It's not enough to say someone wrote a wonderful letter - it's the content
                      of that letter which is important and which might be bringing a fresh slant
                      to the Lab's work.
                      So, yes, I've got your point very clearly, but please see mine as well!

                      Now I can move on to the nitty-gritty.
                      I was struck by something you said during our conversation on the phone last
                      week. You said:

                      " I'm not interested in new insights - I have enough of my own "

                      At first I thought: Well, that's a strange thing to say from someone who
                      started a group called " Laboratory for Caring About Thinking"!
                      But on further reflection, I had to admit that this is very much my own
                      outlook as well.
                      If I'm absolutely honest, the most exciting insights I discover are my own.
                      This doesn't mean I can't appreciate and respond to others' insights,
                      because I do. And when I was teaching, it was not just my job but my delight
                      to respond to and encourage and stimulate others' insights.
                      But the fact is, I don't actually NEED them. You could drop me on a desert
                      island, with no company, no books, no television or computer, or telephone,
                      just some paper and pens and tools, and I'd be lonely but I'd get enough
                      insights to last me a lifetime.

                      I wrote to Minciu-EN about the ping-pong of opinions: as I see it, there's a
                      big difference between insight and opinion. An opinion is something you
                      acquire - often as a result of your conditioning, influences, emotional
                      reactions, likes and dislikes,etc. - and it generally becomes fixed, static.

                      But an insight is something that happens to you, sometimes when you least
                      expect it. And it seems to happen more often when you are opinion-free; in
                      other words, not blank but attentive, waiting, and looking ELSEWHERE. I
                      can't define this 'elsewhere' except to suggest that it's a state of
                      not-knowing, not having a fixed view, but being intensely focused.
                      And insights are never static. They're like an image in slow motion,
                      gradually showing you one angle, then another and another.

                      I think that we all have insights but often they're obscured by the sheer
                      weight of opinions that we all carry around like baggage. That's why I'm
                      much more interested to hear people's experiences than their opinions - when
                      someone tells you their experiences, it's as if they put away their baggage,
                      their masks and their costumes and just stand there as themselves, what they
                      are, rather than what their opinion is.
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