This is Part 10 of my discussion with Irish Author, Mick Quinn, who wrote the best-selling book, ‘The Uncommon Path’, who runs the Integral Heart foundation Project with his wife Débora Prieto, in Guatemala. The discussion is in support of the project, and to see how we can all help, and in various ways.
In this track, Mick talks about his ‘Wisdom Speaker Series’, through which various teachers and speakers from around the globe deliver hour-long lessons to Mick’s teenage students in Guatemala, usually remotely via Skype, and to which he invites me here to contribute to the series with a talk of my own (invitation heartily accepted).
Transcript of Part 10: The Wisdom Speaker Series
James Blacker: What about the Skype, you’ve done Skypes where you’ve had, erm, I don’t remember the gentleman’s name on Facebook, somebody’s Skyped from England, was he teaching the class there, or speaking to them.
Mick Quinn: Oh yes, yes, yes, we do… it’s called ‘The Wisdom Speakers Series’. So we have individuals come in either by Skype, or in person, we will pre-select a topic, so the person can prepare. And they do maybe forty minutes, of a talk, and then stand by for questions and answers, and you know, one of the first ones that we did was with Jeff Carreira, he did a talk on The Big Bang, and how something came from nothing, and what he said to us, actually he said it in the middle of the talk, he was surprised at the amount of questions that the kids had. So, we learned, if we have a Wisdom Speaker, that you leave enough time for Q & A.
MQ: But that’s entirely possible, if you’d like to do something, like that, we’d love to have you.
MQ: Just pick a topic and make a date. What time is it over there now?
JB: It’s er, half past two.
MQ: Oh, so it’s not too bad, because if you did the morning class, the morning class starts at eleven, sorry, not eleven, …starts at nine thirty, so a hour from now…
JB: So nine would be… oh, so three thirty…
MQ: Three thirty until five o’ clock, on a Wednesday.
JB: Well I mean that’s, that’s worth taking a day off, it’s just thinking about what topic you’d like – but yeah.
MQ: It’s totally doable, I mean we could bring our, we have a projector, actually we’re getting a bulb for it, the bulb is dead, but we have a projector that we can hook in Skype, we have speakers, so I just bring this laptop with the camera so you can see the class, and then Débora can translate, and just pick a topic, erm, that, you know, that’s near and dear to your heart, and then translate it down to a, you know, a sixteen year old.
JB: Okay. Okay. And the other benefit of that, which was what made me think about it in the first place was, we were talking about how we communicate what’s going on down there, to the Western world, without impacting on your time, which is finite. And that is one way of doing that, because even if we are blogging about what you’re doing, in the normal context, we still have to hassle you for you to give us the information in the first place. So it’s taking your time. Whereas, if we’re doing something like a Skype… let’s say I do a Skype with your class, then I can put blogs up and talk to people about it here, afterwards, without hassling you at all, because I already have access to the information, because it was a collective thing in the first place.
…Which was why my thought came up about Skype in the first place, that it’s a great way to connect, and expand the awareness that people have of what you’re doing, without constricting your time personally.
MQ: And you know, if you did a, when you do a, you know, The Wisdom Speaker Series, you could have five or six people sitting in the background – and now we have six or seven perspectives on what’s going on.
JB: Sorry. Explain, sorry?
MQ: Let’s say when you do The Wisdom Speaker Series, at your end, you could have five or six people, just, you know, people from the group who are available during that time, to, to, er, passively participate in that event. And there are five or six more perspectives on what’s going on.
JB: Right. Got you.
MQ: Because the other thing that the kids notice, right, the kids, what they love is, that someone’s actually interested in them. I know that sounds egocentric, but the mere fact that Jeff… when we do, when we’re in The States, when we do a fundraising event, we’ll have Liz here, with a bunch of the kids… when they see a group on the other end, that are actually interested in them at this end, it’s quite a moving experience. It’s actually almost as moving as when the people on the other end, in America, see a group on this end, because one to one is one thing, but when you do Skype when you have two groups at each end, it’s quite an experience for everybody.
JB: Right. Okay. And I wouldn’t worry about the egocentric side anyway, because I mean, we haven’t talked about The Shadow, but there’s still the healthy side of it…
MQ: Of course.
JB: …that, whatever level you’re at, I can totally see that… and particularly these are children, teenagers, anyway, so I mean it’s totally getable why they would be profoundly thrilled to be, to have people have interest in them, and to make connections. You can’t buy that kind of experience can you really, if you’re talking about coming from a Third World and you’re interacting with a group in The UK or America.
MQ: Yep. Yep. Cool man.
JB: Okay. We’ll do that. …(bleeps)… Is that my hour up?
MQ: Did you hear that?
JB: Yeah I did, was that what it was?
MQ: No, it wasn’t, it was actually the next thing I have to do.
JB: Can you tell us what’s next? Who’s up next?
MQ: Erm, oh it’s boring processing stuff… we have to do… the end of the year is erm, the report based on our numbers for last year, so I have to finish off the Outlook, it’s a fourteen page document that’s been driving me crazy since just before the beginning of the New Year. A necessary evil that keeps everybody informed. I’m like this close to getting it done.
JB: Okay. Well we’ve got enough to help you from this end, so it’s been great. Thanks, thanks for taking your time to talk with me.
MQ: James, thank you so much for your time, and give you a shout on email, and er, we’ve planted a lot of seeds today, so it’s a, it’s a pleasure to connect, man.
JB: And you too. Cheers, Mick. Bye.
Friday, 25th January 2013.