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Risk Taking

Café-Salon Philosophique #71

November 4, 2001

No. of Participants: 15

Topic for Discussion: "Risk Taking"

Samuel welcomed one and all to our Café gathering. The up and coming elections sparked these questions: "Do forms of government really create change?" "Have things really changed in the last 200 years?" Is the true intention of our governmental system really for the good of all?"

No! "It seems like now, our biggest choices in life is choosing between coke or pepsi!" "Democracy is really a dictatorship with a mask," said Samuel. "Workers are slaves to the time clock in this country," he continued.

Su-Esta thinks that "we do have lots of choices.""But, we are lazy," says Jo. There is great apathy among the American people in regards to our governmental system. People recognize that big money, special interest groups and big corporations are what control government at all levels. "For a supposed, advanced society, we are still very "primitive" in many ways.

"We are lucky, though, that we do have freedom of choice here in this country. But, there may be risks involved in exercising that freedom,"says Mandy.

"What is a risk? Does it exist?""Why do we not dare to take risks?" asked Samuel.

"Risks are chances you take, where you might possibly lose," says Mandy. Ron agreed. Both Phil and Su-Esta felt that "risks might create a loss." But, taking a risk could help one overcome their weaknesses," said Jo.

"If you put things on the line, you just might possibly gain from it," countered Trevor. "Risk is pushing beyond the level of comfortability," said Barbara. "It depends on the variabilities of both positive and negative, said Dennis. Taking risks and succeeding can help to build confidence, give one the courage and strength to do something new and different.

"Life is full of risks," said Barb. "It depends upon what one values in life, and, if one even values life!" said Mandy.

"Having no skills in this society would be a real risk," says Su-Esta. Participants then discussed taking risks in such things as - recreational sports, investing money, getting married, owning a business, standing up for your rights, etc.

We then "bounced" to discussing what we value as humans.

"Do we value life? Why are there wars? What is the purpose of territories, boundaries and restrictions?"

"We all have our own personal values, beliefs and attitudes, but does this mean we value life?" "Now days, everybody wants to be rich. What is richness?" "With the development of the "dot.coms," people are becoming rich by accident and poor by design."

Why do we want to "be somebody?" "Be known?" Trends, fashions, and designs dictate how we carry our personna. Life is measured by material gains and losses.

We are going to have to change our way of thinking if we want to discover true values in life. Why is this? Are life & death situations or disasters the only way we become aware of life? Why is it that we value life only when something goes wrong?

"It's too bad, but I think we are only aware for a very short period of time when something happens, and then, we are right back to our usual distractions," said Jo. "Well, it certainly does make one aware for at least a few moments," said Debra. "I'm always grateful for being alive after doing risky things," said Mandy.

Samuel then shared with participants an exercise he calls, "first thought, last thought." In this exercise, the idea is to remember your first thought upon awakening in the morning, and the last thought before going to bed. This little exercise is just one way to increase thought pattern awareness.

The group was then asked to share "their thoughts." Barb says "I think about my morning routine." Eli awakes wondering, "What was I dreaming?" Su-Esta thinks about "the mess she needs to get out of." "Wow, it's Saturday, and I can do as I please, said Phil.

Trevor wants to know "what time it is?" so he might possibly catch some more zzzzzz's before getting up. Debra just enjoys the space and time between awake and sleep before getting up. "I'm just ready to go," says Jo.

The group then "bounced" to "talking about" consciousness. Are we conscious beings or automatons? We are not as free as we think we are. "We live very superficially," says Dennis. "There are different levels of consciousness," says Ron.

"There is a risk to being conscious," says Samuel. To "know" is risky. Most people try to escape from knowing. Knowing what? Who are you? What is knowing your self? Why do people choose to stay ignorant?

"Because ignorance is comfortable," says Barbara. "Ignorance and hedonism is happiness," said Trevor. "Eat, drink and be merry, for we may die tomorrow," he added. "Yeah, wine women and song," seconded Ron. He too, thinks we are happy when we are ignorant. "But, there is alot of false pretense out there," says Floyd. "We think we know, but we don't." We try to define, name and form "the good life," but do we?

"Living a quiet, simple life is when you find out," says Floyd.

"Some people are not cognizant of their ignorance," Samuel added. "Doubt is what kills."

Next questions, Do we have to suffer to learn? Why is pain, suffering, violence and anger so prevalent in our Society? What is happening to our respect for life? All forms of life? Especially humans?

"We learn in this life, if there is no pain, there is no gain," says Samuel. We are taught at a very early age "how to be grown up." Rarely, beyond the age of 5 or 6, are we encouraged to continue playfulness and joyful attitudes. We unknowningly suppress, depress and hide our true selves.

Child-like qualities rapidly disappear. The ability to know how to play, be creative and use the imagination is diminished by "left brain" dominated activities; and spending time and energy on the consumption & accumulation of material goods.

We then discussed how there can be mental anguish, physical symptoms or emotional reactions related to suffering. "When we think of something as bad or negative, those thoughts can manifest into physical pain or mental anguish."

Resistance, tension and loss of control can also amplify a perceived bad or negative reaction to an event or situation; making suffering even more substantial.

Suffering can also happen when we are not honest with our selves. Something in us is trying to tell us, "it's time for a change," but we don't listen.

It is more comfortable staying in the same rut or routine. It is familiar. Safe. We don't have to deal with the unknown.

Why is it we cannot look at suffering as some new form of expansion?

"Suffering and pleasure depends upon a person's individual experiences, and how they perceive each and every situation," said Floyd.

Phil thinks the degree to which one suffers or finds pleasure in life is "predetermined" even before birth. Life comes through the soul of a person, and depends upon the degree of evolvement. Phil says it is a "God invention."

So in summary, we were left to ponder these questions, "How daring am I? How could I appreciate and value life more? What does keep me from being happy and finding pleasure in life?" HOW ABOUT YOU??

Our next Café gathering will be held November 18, 2000 at the Boulder Bookstore located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, CO. Start time is 6:30 p.m.

Invite your friends! Bring a new and interesting topic.

Reported by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.