Are Jesters Serious? Purpose, Serendipity and the Buddha

Many of us arrived on MOOs for the first time accidently, either through individual research, recreation, or, ever increasingly now, through institutional workshops. One quick glance through the survey forms shows that to be the case for ancient MOOers and MOObies alike. Most of us fell into MOO headlong and with the passion that Max, Colega, and Gustovo note toward the end of the first MOO session, when pondering the "why" we continue to MOO.

Max finally finds the point he intented to make.. *enthusiasm (the fire within)
Colega_guest tells Max, "Passion."
Colega_guest says to Max, "fire in belly. that's what keeps MundoHispano going, I think."
Gustavo says, "220 V - that's what keeps BioMOO going, I guess."
Gofy laughs at Max.
Gustavo winks. (MOO1 615-633).

Those of us who have worked and played here and remained -- designing, developing, administrating -- work from a multiplicity of visions as to what we have found of value on MOO. Our individual and collective vision/s inform our work, getting played out in a wide diversity of MOO possibility.

In most cases we worked from the bottom up, playing as guests, asking the typical questions: "What is this place?", "Who am I here" -- ontological questions of being in a new place which upset our known epistemologies. Typically, a researcher starts with a well-formulated question, and "Who am I?" is a good place to start. More and more we are asked to define this place we have chosen for our work and play, and that process of definition, we believe, is more than reason enough to introduce people to MOO. For as we define ourselves, both to ourselves and others -- as others join us in the endeavor -- we must constantly re-think, re-enact ourselves, open to the serendipity, the play of our work here.

Buddha at the Crossroad

Buddha for some strange reason hangs out at the crossroad of towns. One day a traveler comes by, smiles at Buddha and asks, "What manner of town if this?"

Buddha smiles back and asks, "What manner of town was your last home town?"

The travelers makes a wry face and spits in the dirt, "Awful! The people were greedy, contentious, violent, licentious, and all kinds of evil. That's why I had to leave!"

Buddha nods solemnly, saying sadly, "You will find the same here."

Not two hours later another traveler appears at the crossroad. Traveler_2 smiles and bows graciously to Buddha, asking, "May I inquire what yon village is like?"

Buddha smiles back and nods, "What manner of village are you from?"

"Oh," replies the Traveler_2, "A wonderful town of wonderful people. They work together for a common good, they share the fruits of their labor, they succor each other in need and celebrate joyfully all achievement."

Buddha nods, smiling, "Such is the type of village you will find yonder."

By the way, Buddha was a bot. E was programmed to respond to travelers' requests. The question asked was the answer returned. Such are the limits and possibilities of MOO.

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Janet Cross

Kristian Fuglevik