Sunni: Hi Paul! Thanks for agreeing to subject yourself to my nosiness. How are you doing?
Paul: I’m well, thanks. Life is good.
Sunni: Would it be too nosy to ask where you are these days?
Paul: Mostly in Chicago, though I do get around a bit.
Sunni: Ah, the Windy City! We’ll probably talk about that a little bit at some point, but first things first. I suppose it’s only fair to give you a little warning before we get started here: I’m going to begin our conversation a little differently than all my prior interviews [pauses] kind of spin out our history a bit, if you will.
Paul: No problem.
Sunni: And I will be greatly surprised if you don’t need to correct me from time to time. You ready?
Paul: I’m ready!
Paul: I sure do.
Sunni: I was supposed to give a talk there, but fortunately didn’t go—I say “fortunately” because I ended up giving birth to my daughter the day I was scheduled to speak. I guess you heard the story from Lobo, who went in my place; and you decided to send me the tapes from the meeting, which was such a totally sweet but unexpected gift. What prompted you to do that?
Paul: Well, I guess I respected what you guys were doing and wanted to help you along a little bit. Lobo did seem like a good and worthy guy, after all. But far more important than Lobo being a nice guy was the fact that you guys were actually living the way you thought was right, the world be damned. That is something I respect deeply. That fact of being right or wrong is a separate issue, as important as that can be. Having the guts to stand alone, acting on your own judgment—against the rest of the world, if need be—that is the foundation of freedom and a personal, legitimate understanding of the truth, and it always gets my attention. That’s what I saw in you guys. That is what I wanted to encourage and support. Giving the tapes seemed appropriate and helpful; and it was something I was capable of doing.
I wrote some about this in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men. I had Phillip talk about a piece he had written called The Magic of The Founder, which referred to this same basic set of ideas. Actually, I think wrote those sections at just about the same time as I sent you those tapes.
Sunni: Wow, Paul [pauses] what an unexpected gift. [long pause] That means so much to me, even now [pauses] and I’m honored and humbled that we maybe influenced the book a little. [clears throat] Well, as I recall, after that we corresponded some, but not much; and then we finally met in person some years later, when I finally did give a talk at Eris. That was fun, but we didn’t really have much of a chance to sit down and really get to know each other. There are just too many interesting people there to do that with everyone one might want to ...
Paul: Actually, I had lunch with Lobo a time or two, and we once went to a lecture with the younger kids. But not you!