inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #51 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Wed 6 Feb 02 05:28
    
Rip, I love that quote: "Wonder at what is as it is".  I guess since
September 11th, everyone's been wondering about evil a whole lot more
than they may have been prior to that date.  And it's an awful tricky
thing.  I don't think it's a term that should be tossed around lightly
because it can lose its true meaning.  Just like the term love-- if you
use it to describe everything you come in contact with (I love this, I
love that), than the real meaning vanishes.  You don't really love
everyone and everything you say you do.  Nobody does.  But, we use that
term too loosely.  We could end up doing that with the word evil, too.
 Some people and some acts are, without a doubt, evil, no matter how
you look at them.  Others, though, are a matter of perspective.
In Voices of Truth, all 14 of the people discuss some "not nice"
stuff, but is any of it truly evil?  Perhaps.  We discuss the greed
that has turned medical care into an industry that has forsaken
patients (and even doctors,now), has led pharmaceutical companies to be
more interested in finding treatments than cures since they can make
more profits on treatments than one-time cures patients would take, and
we certainly discuss the general crappiness exhibited by people
throughout the ages.
What leads to evil?  Many things: fanaticism, greed, fear, mental
instability, the list goes on.  People mistakenly think that just
because civilization has advanced technologically, and that we live
more comfortably, we have also advanced as human beings.  We certainly
have not.  The darker side of human nature is no different than it was
hundreds, thousands of years ago.  We're all just animals, afterall. 
And we have seen evidence of that all over the world every single day,
since time began.  In fact, we've pretty much just found quicker,
deadlier, more efficient ways to maim and kill each other--and more
people at a time--as the centuries, and more recently, decades, have
marched on.
By the way, would you believe that I'm an idealist and the eternal
optimist?  I am.  Honestly.  But, I'm also pretty realistic about what
I'm up against as an idealist and optimist.  I call 'em as I see 'em.
Now, about Michio Kaku: he's one of the fathers of hyperspace (or
string) theory.  He's the one who came up with the breakthrough
equation.  He's your basic genius, but with a twist: he's a terrific
communicator, has a wicked sense of humor, and he's quite liberal and
progressive.  A great conversationalist.  Also, he's got quite the gift
for explaining complex things--must be an amazing teacher.  In my
book, I call him the physics professor you wish you had. He was born in
California, and his parents had been put in the Japanese internment
camps during World War II.  Isn't it amazing, when you look back, that
Japanese people in the U.S. were rounded up, had their things
confiscated, and were tossed in camps?  Fear makes people do some
pretty inhumane things. Anyway, I think you'll enjoy his chapter in
Voices of Truth, and his books, especially Hyperspace.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #52 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Wed 6 Feb 02 07:08
    
Sorry, Francesca, I didn't mean to imply that I was engaging in
general self-help bashing, though some of its purveyors deserve some
bashing from time to time.  You, however, are not one of them. 
However, I do believe that some people have taken it way too far and
are drowning in it: both those offering the help and those looking for
it.  Their constant introspection actually keeps them from living a
life because they're too busy analyzing it.  Anyway, I agree with what
you said about the spirituality of scientists, and their devotion to
seeking truth is what opens them up to the cosmos, and with self-help,
as in science, you have to seek the truth and do the work.
I guess it's all about attitude.  With the self-help seekers and
self-help helpers, there's way too much judgment.  Everyone can be so
hard on themselves, and often on others.  Those looking to improve
their lives can get too caught up in trying to be perfect and in
judging others based on that, too.  Scientists are looking for truth,
but I don't think they're so caught up in perfection since there's less
at stake for them emotionally then there is for a self-help seeker or
self-help helper.  A scientist doesn't try to understand the mysteries
of the universe in order to find Mr. or Ms. Right, seem more together
and lovable to family, friends or colleagues, or otherwise improve
their personal life.  A scientist seeks truth and understanding of the
universe JUST BECAUSE HE/SHE HAS TO KNOW.
One of my oldest friends, Laura (whom you've spoken to on the phone)
is a scientist by nature, though not by current profession.  She was a
biology major in college, and science (as well as science fiction)is
still what floats her boat and occupies her thoughts everyday.  I was
talking to her today about science and spirituality, and she summed up
quite nicely why scientists are inherently spiritual: "To be a good
scientist you have to be able to see beyond-- beyond logic, beyond
rationality, beyond the physical world.  Because that's where the
answers are".  When she said that, I screamed, "Ooh! Let me write that
down, it's terrific".  So I'm passing it along here.  I think that you,
Bob, and Rip will ooh and aah at it, just like I did.  Science and
spirituality are also just two sides of the same coin: different ways
to describe the same phenomena and the same quest to understand the
universe and ourselves.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #53 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Wed 6 Feb 02 07:21
    
About paste eating...
Even though my paste eaters article was a humor piece (Are You Now or
Have You Ever Been a Paste Eater? was published in one of the November,
1998 issues of Tropic, the Sunday magazine of The Miami Herald.  After
a long, successful publishing life, the magazine, like many other
Sunday newspaper magazines around the country, was killed by the
publishers to improve the corporate bottom line.  After more than 30
years, the last issue was published in December of that year), I ended
up finding out quite a lot about paste, paste eating, and the paste
eaters.  It's not regional.  The people I talked to had grown up all
across the country.  I don't think it's generational either, since
those I spoke with ranged in age from 12 to 50-something.  And it's not
ethnic, cultural, or religious within the U.S. or Canada (I talked to
people from both countries).  It also has nothing to do with
socio-economic level: rich or poor, some kids just love to eat paste.
My hunch is that paste eating was a boy thing rather than a girl thing
turned out to hold up. (Think back, when you were growing up, how many
of the paste eaters were girls?  Few, if any).
It was funny how everyone opened up and told me about all the other
gross things they ate as kids--dog biscuits, laundry starch...I heard
about one kid who even ate gravel.
Oh, and just for the record--I never ate paste or anything else
unusual or yucky.  Hell, I wouldn't even eat oatmeal, Cream of Wheat,
Maypo, or anything else with that consistency (as a kid and as an
adult), so paste certainly never seemed like a swell idea.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #54 of 73: Francesca De Grandis (zthirdrd) Wed 6 Feb 02 11:46
    
I have to say, everything, I mean everything, that has been said in
the posts since I last posted, I not only agree with, but am so excited
about! 

Nina, I know you weren’t bashing self help -- everyone, Nina and I are
actually friends, and we heatedly debate stuff like this all the time,
and totally support each other’s work. So, Nina, not to worry. When I
say I am into what everyone just posted, that includes your most recent
post about self-help. Speaking of which:

>“Their constant introspection actually keeps them from living a
>     life because they're too busy analyzing it.” 

Yes!  I do shamanic counseling for folks all over the world by phone
and no matter where they live, one of the things my clients sometimes
need help with is not using pseudo-healing as a way to stop actual
healing, some of which must come just from getting out there and
living! Its a terrible trap that this society seems to want people in,
especially women, so that they stay powerless! 

Back to awe, just as an aside: last night I was thinking of a point I
made here yesterday and thought of Lew Welsh, the amazing mystic and
poet. He said that a poet must work on his craft -- AKA discipline --
so that when the moment of inspiration hits he can transcribe it! I
would go further and say that without the discipline of perfecting the
craft the inspiration perhaps will not hit.

My question for you Nina: Rumi, the 13th century mystic says in one of
his poems that some seek God out of love of God and some out of fear
but that any seeking comes from God and is legitimate. 

I think this is an important point, because we who have awe of the
starry sky or are awash with magic at the thought of God or anything
else comparable might judge those who seek God out of pain. Yet I agree
with Rumi, that all paths come from God in the first place. 

Now, spirituality can exist without God, I just happened to use Rumi’s
material which happens to be about God. So my point here is not so
much about God per se but about the validity of all *spiritual*
motivations. Yet one of your earlier statements, Nina, seemed to imply
that spirituality that comes from pain or a desire to improve oneself
is less valid, Yet I know you, and know you don’t believe that. So can
you expand a bit more on the point you were trying to make? And I would
be so happy if you felt like addressing, in any way you desire, the
points I just made about pain being a doorway into spirituality.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #55 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Wed 6 Feb 02 13:36
    
Francesca: I'm glad you brought that up.  It's not that I believe that
there are more valid or less valid sources of spirituality, spiritual
paths, or motivations towards spiritual exploration.  I believe that
what we have left out of the equation is, perhaps, the equation's most
important element: the human mind.
People make all of the choices in their lives, including choices
regarding their spiritual motivations, paths, and how they use
spirituality, by using their minds.  So, a person in pain has a mind
set that leads him to think a certain way and make certain choices. 
Some of those choices pertain to that person's views on spirituality. 
That is not to say that a path to spirituality that begins in either
pain or fear is any more or less valid than one that does not.  It's
just different than a path that begins from a place other than pain or
fear.  The qualities and experiences of the pain/fear path will, by
definition, be quite different than those of a path that is not
motivated by pain or fear.  That is one of the reasons why everyone has
unique spiritual experiences than are unlike those of other people. 
Plus, many things happen to us while we're on our path.  While someone
may not have begun down the path from a place of pain and fear, they
may certainly encounter those things down the road.
Does it matter where someone's path begins and what motivates them to
walk down the path in the first place?  No, I don't believe it does
matter.  But where you begin and what motivated you will color your
experiences on the path.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #56 of 73: Francesca De Grandis (zthirdrd) Wed 6 Feb 02 16:15
    
great, thank you!!

Yes, the motive makes so much difference. 

Which brings me to my next thought/question. Motive shapes the path
and yet, for me, perhaps the net result counts more, don’t you think? I
want two results from my path (two that I can think of offhand, so
this might be glib):
1) I am pagan to the core, so the mystical experience of, for example,
God(dess) walking next to me as I go about my day -- not as a metaphor
but Her actual tangible presence, I feel Her as tangibly as if she
were an embodied being -- is vitally important to me. I suspect that I
would dry up like a dead leaf without visceral experiences of a
spiritual nature.
2)  But it is easy for mystics, myself included, who in rejecting a
mechanistic society and its dry didactic and repressive spirituality,
to become *too* enamored of the mystical experience and forget that no
matter how groovy your meditations feel, if your spiritual path is not
helping you be kind to yourself and others, you’ve got to reevaluate
your path. 

For me, goal #2 is where discipline comes in. I personally have to
practice diligent disciplines on a daily basis to keep my spiritual
feet on the ground while my mystical head is in the clouds. 

Any thoughts about any of this, Nina?
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #57 of 73: Francesca De Grandis (zthirdrd) Wed 6 Feb 02 16:23
    
 Ooh, Ooh, ooh, also, Nina, (I love your thought process!)  since the
human mind’s influence on one’s spiritual path is so deliciously key to
your last post, can you in any way address the relationship between
net result of one's path and one’s mindset? Ooh, ooh ooh!
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #58 of 73: Francesca De Grandis (zthirdrd) Thu 7 Feb 02 13:53
    
(next day) : Hi, Y’all, well, tomorrow and Sunday are the last two
days of this conversation with Nina. So, folks, now’s your chance to
ask your last questions of Nina, make your important points, stand on
your soap boxes. Nina, ditto!

Wonderful things have been said, and truly interesting issues raised.
And I look forward to seeing Nina’s answers to the questions posted
yesterday. (This is my second time checking in today and no one else
has posted yet today but I am sure Nina will make her daily
contribution before the day is out. And I will be back tomorrow.) Now,
how do we end this grand medley of thoughts, Nina, everyone?!
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #59 of 73: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Fri 8 Feb 02 00:05
    
Thanks for those responses Nina.  I think that that "wonder at what is
as it is" is what makes realistic idealists possible!

And now I actually have your book!!  I love the frontpiece quotes:

"There are powers who take care of you.  If you're a doctor, you get
sick people; if you're a lawyer, you get cases; if you're a writer, the
Almighty sends you stories."  -- Isaac Bashevis Singer

"We have sought truth, and sometimes perhaps found it.  But have we
had any fun?"  --Benjamin Jowett

Taking off on those quotes, (and one more, in the Jaco interview, you
observe, "People are the way they are because of life itself.") -- it
seems that one of your talents is to bring what should be obvious into
some sort of compelling relief, so it actually *is* obvious.

Since we're winding down, feel free to ignore as many questions as you
wish, but I do wonder...

1) On the personal level, in the intro, you comment (when you start
interviewing the fireman on the front lawn of your smoking house),
"Sometimes it's annoying to not be able to not be yourself."  What I
would be curious to hear a little more about would be some of the turns
your life took between having your wonderful second grade teacher and,
well, now.  I know you've said you had a sense from a young age of
what you wanted to do, but how did that play out?  Sometimes when I've
sensed the outlines of what I might be "meant" to do, I've felt like
Jonah headed for the whale.  Other times, well, it's just that
undeniable thread weaving through it all.  For you?

2) The people you interview really are out on some frontiers, even
beyond the frontier.  What do you think will happen when the rest of us
catch up?  For example, can Deborah Mash (neuroshamanism) bring new
wealth to a "bankrupt community," or will science and mysticism just
get un-wedded again when her ideas and discoveries are applied?

3) You say, "I never wanted to write about hard news or breaking news
-- crime, politics, accidents."  But, to me, what you write about *is*
hard, breaking news.  What do you think makes it seem that way to me,
and apparently, to you?  Is it a little bit of a different sense of
time-scale?  Of values?  Of curiosity?

4) Ok, so what is Truth?  These are Voices of Truth, and it's like
music, they're all different, even contradictory, but they're "in
tune."  What is it?

Ok, enough, off to bed to read Voices...
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #60 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Fri 8 Feb 02 04:58
    
Francesca, sorry that some of my answers aren't posted until the day
after the questions are posted.  That's because of the time
difference--you're on the West Coast and I'm on the East Coast.  So, if
you post late in the day, I may not see it until the next morning, or
afternoon, my time.
I thought your ideas regarding spirituality, discipline, helping
others, not floating around in a mystical haze, made lots of sense.  As
for your question regarding how mind set is linked to spiritual path
and results, I think that there are infinite answers to that since so
many mind sets lead to so many different kinds of paths, and those, in
turn, lead to so many results.
I'd like to toss out some ideas for discussions we can have during the
last few days of this on-going interview.  Let'a talk about
creativity, inspiration, exploration, humor, imagination, and time
travel.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #61 of 73: Francesca De Grandis (zthirdrd) Fri 8 Feb 02 09:32
    
Well, regarding exploration. I would like to know what it was like to
interview Charles Jaco, the intrepid CNN reporter. He is a figure that
fascinates me and was among my favorite interviews in “Voices of
Truth”: the American cowboy mentality has been denigrated so much, but
it has its strong points and it seems to me, though I don’t know Jaco,
that he embodies those good traits. He runs into trouble instead of
away from it, looking for truth in the hopes of creating, dare I say
it, justice. And he seems to have the adventurer’s plain old love of
trouble and danger! Maybe I am completely romanticizing him, but that
is how it seems from a distance. For all I know, he just wants a good
career. And maybe it is that plus everything else I’ve conjectured. So
what was it like interviewing him, what motivates him, what is he like?
And is he single? :-)

BTW, I made a typo yesterday: we’ve three, not two days, including
today, to wrap all this up: three whole glorious days so that anything
anyone asks or says has plenty of time to be answered, developed,
debated and praised!!
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #62 of 73: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 8 Feb 02 15:52
    
(remember, if you don't have a WELL account and you're reading this on the
web, you can send your questions to inkwell-hosts@well.com)
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #63 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Sat 9 Feb 02 12:44
    
Rip, you bring up a lot of good stuff.  You should be interviewing
people on a regular basis!  First, my path as a writer: even though I
knew what I wanted to do, the path did take plenty of twists and turns,
and I was able to gain experience in many formats, from magazine and
newspaper articles to TV and radio, to newsletters, advertising, PR and
books.  As I said in Voices of Truth, I just followed my curiosity
wherever it took me, and assessed the various opportunities as they
came up.  I still do that.
Regarding the "frontier" status of the people interviewed in the book:
I really don't view them as people whom others have to catch up to,
and that's because I know that plenty of people who aren't well-known
to the public (and may or may not be well known in their fields) have
similar ideas and concerns, philosophies and opportunities (on all
sorts of scales), interests and observations.  I think that so many
readers can identify with the people in the book, can relate to them
and may even think, while reading, "Yeah, me, too!  The only difference
is that those in the book have sought out ways to share their ideas,
experiences and observations publicly.  Anyone can do that, and with an
"audience" of any size, even just the people they come in contact with
personally and professionally and in their various communities.
Now, regarding your question about my comment in the book about not
covering "hard news".  That term is a media distinction that's applied
to certain kinds of stories that are handled in a "Just the facts,
ma'am" (to quote Dragnet!) style that differs greatly from the feature
approach, in which observations, commentary and opinion are woven into
the story.  For example: somebody robs a convenience store and a
reporter does a story does a story about it for the newspaper.  That
story just reports the facts: Who, What, Where, When, How and Why (if
that's known).  It's straightforward, reported as quickly as possible
since it's a "breaking news" event.
Later, maybe days, weeks, months or even years down the road, a
newspaper or magazine writer might do a longer, in-depth feature story
about the misguided teenager, who, in order to impress his buddies,
robbed the convenience store  This longer piece is part profile of the
kid, part commentary, part storytelling of what led up to the event,
the event, and its aftermath.  Maybe it has a sociological angle to it.
 Maybe any number of other angles depending upon the details of the
kid's life and the events.  This feature looks at the big picture, not
just the dry facts of the crime.
And, finally, to your last question regarding truth: I liked your
analogy to music.  Yes, everyone has their own "truth", and these
truths may vary, but still be in tune, and harmonize with other
peoples' truths.  I'm glad you picked up on that.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #64 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Sat 9 Feb 02 12:54
    
Well, Francesca, and any other women out there who may be interested,
I'm sorry to have to tell you that Charles Jaco is very happily married
to a terrific television producer, Melissa, who is bright, talented,
warm, and funny.  Charles is exactly as he appears to be in the
interview: he is looking for truth in the name of justice, and he's
always been on the true reporter's mission.  He knew that danger and
injury were possibilities on many of the stories he has pursued, but
that "came with the territory", as the old saying goes.  He's now doing
a radio interview show out of St. Louis, on KMOX.  It's called
"Newsmakers", and it's on Monday-Friday, from 2-4 p.m. Central.  He's
also written a couple of novels and he's now working on a non-fiction
book.  You can find him on the Internet.  In addition to the radio
station's site, he has his own website.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #65 of 73: Francesca De Grandis (zthirdrd) Sat 9 Feb 02 13:39
    
Rip, I’m with Nina about you becoming an interviewer and I had been
thinking the same myself. When I was interviewed in this same venue --
folks, I came to be interviewed and somehow remained as an interviewer;
if you want to see the ahem fab interview with me it is “Francesca De
Grandis; Goddess Initiation”  -- your participation added a remarkable
amount to the conversation. I think Inkwell.vue has a closet
interviewer in you!

Or maybe you function best if someone else gets the ball rolling and
then you perhaps have the easygoing space to do your remarkable thing?
Who knows? In any case, you’re an asset to inkwell.vue!

Nina, yes yes yes, what you said about everyone having their truth and
needing to share it with others no matter the size of their
“audience.” And, as Nina and anyone who read my last book knows, this
is also a soapbox of mine. And of course when anyone says anything I
believe in like Nina has just now, I think they’re a genius! :-)

Your comments also hearken back to our discussion about rip off
self-help leaders. A true guru is not someone whom others mindlessly
follow but someone who has the gift for helping others discover and
trust their *own* unique wisdom. 

Unfortunately, as a self-help teacher and national religious leader, I
find people sometimes want me to give them the answers instead of
helping them do the work themselves. Though I am excellent at helping
them find their *own* paths  I hate it when others want the answers
from me. Did you find this an issue with other self-help or religious
leaders you interviewed, that pressure to be the dictator of morals et
al?

Well, Nina, everyone, this has been a learning experience! And
tomorrow’s the last day, so this may be my last question. 
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #66 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Sat 9 Feb 02 17:16
    
Francesca, How nice of you to notice I'm a genius (she said modestly).
 Actually, I think we have discussed my genius as well as your genius
numerous times in the past, but I really appreciate you letting
everyone else in on this.
OK, now on to the issues.  I agree with your take on that fine line
between teaching people and running their lives for them.  A number of
the people in Voices of Truth expressed the same concern that you have.
 The one who put it most strongly was Caroline Myss, best selling
author and medical intuitive.  She adores teaching, coaching, inspiring
people, but absolutely refuses to be anyone's guru, to have anything
even remotely resembling "followers" and, in fact, she looks at those
who feel the need to have someone to follow as perhaps in more need of
help than others.  Someone who wants to be a follower, though, needs a
special kind of help, since that desire is a problem in and of itself,
apart from whatever other issues that person may be exploring.  James
Redfield also expressed a very strong desire not to be anyone's guru or
leader, and in all of his work his main theme draws upon the premise
that everyone needs to be in charge of their own spiritual and personal
development.  
I'm looking forward to any final comments or questions on Sunday, our
last day talking together.  This has been great, and I'm going to miss
checking in every day to hear what everyone has to say.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #67 of 73: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Sun 10 Feb 02 09:18
    
Well thanks Nina, Francesca for the compliment.  Although I do also
experience my share of times here on the WELL where I will make a
comment and the topic just goes silent (imagining people all over going
"huh?")  

To me, the most fascinating thing about internet discussion ties right
in to Nina's point that the people in the book aren't really somewhere
that needs catching up to, but actually surrounded by a whole range of
others who just aren't being so visible about it.  Although posting in
this mode is a classically individual act, it starts to bring out in
people a great intuitive sense of (and responsibility to) the
collective.  Imagining, and honoring the existence of, all those folks
nodding, "me too" and all those also shaking their head, "nope!"
becomes a more exercised part of one's nature here.  

On the hard news vs. feature distinction, what I'd like to add is that
it seems to me that there are angles of perspective that focus that
Who What Where When How Why attitude on the "feature" material.  I
imagine a shaman's WWWWHW.  Or the perspective that a system such as
astrology or ecology implies - pushing you to see interpenetrating
scales of, well, not "causality," but pertinant significance.  Whole
Earth once put out a book of material collected from the magazine
titled "News that Stayed News."

One last question before I rush off today: about focus.  It seem to me
that even passion plus discipline don't fully answer the question as
to what one is to do.  The doctor gets too many patients, the lawyer
too many cases, the writer too many ideas.  Maybe one reason why
becoming a follower is so enticing is that it contributes to settling
that question of focus.  So the question is, what are the other
ingredients that go into "downshifting" all that passion, curiosity,
and discipline into the constraints of time?
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #68 of 73: Francesca De Grandis (zthirdrd) Sun 10 Feb 02 10:42
    
ooh, Rip, love your question. And I want to answer it myself so badly
(just call me Madame-Francesca-Knows-All-Sees-All,) but I’ll leave it
to Nina.

As to your comment  about posting bringing out people’s sense of
responsibility: maybe your posts have an added value as a
non-interviewer, in that folks can see someone who is not “official”
jumping in and trusting his/her authority. Great role model.

Nina, re your jokes about genius: I think you and I are are lucky in
that we have strong egos. I’ve always known that I had something
important to say and that I was a genius! 

But not everyone feels that way; that is a tragedy so I try in my
classes, counseling, and books to help folks trust their own unique
genius. Everyone has genius of some sort! Well, imagine my delight when
I met Cathryn Michon and she talked about her book “The Grrl Genius
Guide to Life”; she writes that it is important for women to declare
their own genius and that of other women. She's very funny about it,
explaining that a man will declare “I am a genus, I can make an omelet”
but women won’t declare their genius after a major accomplishment. So
my gal friend Phoebe Wray and I are always telling each other, usually
in a joking manner, “You’re a genius.” And it has actually been good
for us, believe it or not.

Anyway, as Castle knows, I’ve done this interview despite being badly
laid up with a herniated disc; I  can type very little and most of my
typing for two weeks has gone into this interview. Since I am a writer
by trade, that means other writing did not happen. I made that choice
because I believe in Nina’s work, and therefore it was important for me
to support it by interviewing her.  You who have not read “Voices of
Truth”: It is an important book that could change your life. Get it!

My last question: What’s your current and next projects, Nina?
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #69 of 73: Francesca De Grandis (zthirdrd) Sun 10 Feb 02 21:10
    
 Well, everyone, today's the last day of the topic. It is “Happy
Trails to You” time, as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans ride off into the
sunset and this sleepy  interviewer goes to bed. It is time to say “so
long. Sigh, much as I hate the fact, the interview is at its end,”
though maybe someone else will post something yet since there are three
more hours til midnight here in California. So party on without me if
you want, but for me, here’s my exit line -->

Nina, Linda, Cynthia, Rip, Rab, and everyone else who participated in
this, including those of you who did not post -- you non-posters give
silent witness, a silence that creates the universe anew every time you
kindly listen to what others are saying -- thank you all for an
interesting, enlightening and dynamic two weeks. 

Its been an honor to do this with you, Nina.

Now this sleepy <yawn> gal, whose eyes the sandman has kindly touched
with his magic sand, says “good night, <yawn>, Goddess bless.”

Be well, be strong, be yourself, 

Francesca De Grandis
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #70 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Mon 11 Feb 02 05:26
    
Rip, since these are our last postings, first let me say that I've
enjoyed "talking" with you during these last two weeks.  Your comments
and questions have been insightful, thought-provoking, and have given
me the opportunity to explore many areas that I had strong feelings
about.  That was fun since I seem to have opinions about pretty much
everything you could come up with!  By the way, I really hate liver and
lima beans.  Just thought I'd throw that in.
You made an interesting point that some people become followers simply
because they're unable to focus or feel overwhelmed by everything out
there.  You ask what to do about focus when dealing with time
constraints.  That's pretty simple: it all comes down to making
choices.  Perhaps that's the problem that followers face--they're not
comfortable making choices, so they just simply follow someone or
something and let that person or doctrine make choices for them, tell
thenm what to do, what to think.  It takes a certain amount of courage
to make choices, and it takes a very strong sense of self, sense of
identity, and drive.  To some of us, that all comes very naturally.  To
others, it does not.  More on that in my response to Francesca.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #71 of 73: Nina L. Diamond (nina-diamond) Mon 11 Feb 02 06:09
    
Francesca, There's an old saying that I'm sure you're familiar with:
"Man plans and God laughs".  Of course you could also say: "Woman plans
and Goddess laughs".  So, whenever I talk about what I'm working on
and what I have planned for down the road, I always try to keep that in
mind.  A rather chilling example of that: For a number of months I had
a trip planned in which I was going to interview Christopher Reeve in
New York, meet with my agent, have dinner with someone whose work I've
been editing, visit with some friends, then after those three days in
New York I was going to spend the weekend with family in Connecticut. 
I was supposed to be on the 8 a.m. flight from Miami to New York on
Wednesday, September 12th.  So, you can imagine my shock on Tuesday,
September 11th when I was watching CNN at 9 a.m. and saw the second
plane fly into the World Trade Center.
Beyond the shock I felt for all the usual reasons, I also couldn't
help thinking about what would have happened if this tragedy had
occurred one day later.  I would have been one hour into my roughly 2
1/2 hour flight.  Who knows where they would have diverted the plane
and where I would have been stranded, and for how many days.  And, who
the hell would want to get back on a plane and fly home after that.
I did end up doing the Reeve interview, but, obviously not as
originally planned.
so, what are my plans?  Well, right now I'm doing interviews for
magazines that will eventually end up in another interview book.  A
sequel to Voices of Truth, but it will have very different kinds of
people and cover different topics than Voices of Truth.  I'm doing book
reviews, humor pieces, and some book editing.
I am so glad that you were able to conduct this 2 week long interview
despite your poor, aching back, and I'm so grateful for your continued
support of my writing and Voices of Truth in particular.  It means so
much to me that you "get" what I was trying to accomplish by writing
the book.   This on-going interview has been a blast, and I'd love to
do it again.
By the way, I was thinking this afternoon (Eastern time while all you
Californians were probably still snoozing) about our discussions about
the self-help leaders, and I wanted to add something that we hadn't
covered.  As much as these leaders want to help, and as much as people
are seeking their help, something else plays into the equation: society
has come to view nearly every kind of information as a form of
self-help.  Even the nightly news has become part self-help, how-to
lesson on various topics.
I'm a journalist and a writer, yet when I've done talks and book
signings for Voices of Truth, some book store managers expect that I'm
going to conduct these things as self-help workshops.  they're
disappointed when I remind them that I'm not a self-help expert or a
self-help author.  They seem to think that everyone who writes a book
is a self-help guru!  Perhaps that's because there are so many
self-help books out there and publishers insist that many authors
create a self-help aspect to books that have nothing to do with
self-help.  
One author I know wrote a memoir and because it had to do with
spirituality, her publisher insisted that she put a how-to section at
the end of the book to teach readers.  She didn't want to do it, but
complied just to get her book published.  This is ridiculous, but it
happens a lot.
Readers have been trained, in a way, to expect a self-help angle from
just about everything in publishing and the media.  I think we live in
a society that so desperately needs guidance that they look for it
everywhere, even in places it shouldn't be expected to come from.  This
takes us back to our discussion of last week regarding our society
expecting athletes and entertainers to also be role models and
counselors of a sort.
I think that people are afraid of self reliance and that's why
thery're hooked on this guidance thing.  Also, they've come to believe
(Erroneously, of course) that a celebrity or an author must know
something they don't, so they put these people on pedestals and expect
them to be role models and experts, and to tell them "how-to-this" and
"how-to-that".
I don't know the answer to this chicken and egg thing: which came
first, a need for guidance, or was that need artificially created by a
media, publishing and entertainment industry that figured it could sell
people answers, thus creating self-help junkies?  I think it's
probably a little bit of both.  We live in complex times and that can
be pretty scary, so people look for help all over the place (and I'm
talking about pre-September 11th society, so since then it's gotten
even worse).
I know I've brought something up that could launch us into two more
weeks of discussion.  Oops!
Francesca, I hope your back in still in one piece--many pieces is not
good.  Rip, Bob, and everyone else, thanks for asking me to vent,
ramble and rant--three of my favorite pasttimes. 
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #72 of 73: Bob 'rab' Bickford (rab) Mon 11 Feb 02 12:27
    

  Thanks for your wonderful insights and opinions, Nina.

  I gotta add, I *really* strongly agree with you (and others here)
about the notion that many or most people are afraid of decisions
and of thinking for themselves, and that's why they so easily slip
into being followers.  This comes up in politics as much as or more
than it does in spirituality, and is a major source of frustration
to me and many other people.  (I'm gradually learning to just let it
be, since otherwise it will just make me crazy to no purpose.)


  Thanks again, Nina.
  
inkwell.vue.138 : Nina L. Diamond - Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers, and Healers
permalink #73 of 73: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 11 Feb 02 16:00
    

Thank you Francesca and Nina!
  



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