Computational Narratives – Ren’py and Branching Narratives

I decided to wrap a Ren’py dialogue within an in-person conversation between two people.

The premise is two people sit down to talk about the meaning of life, in an open way directed by turning over cards on the table.

You can find a zip file of the project to download and play yourself.

Here is a video link to documentation of the Ren-py game, until I figure out how to get the game online.

Below is the dialogue and interaction flow.

 

Two people

Put two gold cards face down in front of you.

Image result for gold cards playing

Take turns flipping one up, and discuss the question together.

  • Card 1: At what times in your life have you thought most about the meaning of life?
  • Card 2: In what ways has religion, philosophy or science played a part in your understanding life?

Now turn over one colored card from the separate stack.

Image result for colored playing cards

  • Card A: Where do our moral obligations come from?
  • Card B: Is knowing different than believing?
  • Card C: Can science support religion? Can religion support science?

Discuss for a minute.

Then together choose an advisor to include in your conversation.

[Dalai Lama, Ethics Philosopher, or Brain Scientist are projected on a wall, with a mouse provided to engage with the Ren’py project]

Image result for dalai lamaImage result for brain  researcher womanImage result for ethics philosopher simone

One scenario could be:

Card A: Where do our moral obligations come from?

&

Choosing Dalai Lama

Seekers: “We’ve come to ask you a few questions about life, and what it all means.”

Dalai Lama: “Yes, there are many questions to ask.”

Dalai Lama: One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not: What is the purpose of life? [link]

Dalai Lama: What interests you most in this moment?

  • Option #1: Moral Obligations
  • Believing and Knowing
  • Science, Religion, and Science

Option #1: Moral Obligations

Our inner lives are something we ignore at our own peril, and many of the greatest problems we face in today’s world are the result of such neglect.

  • Question #1A: Do you believe moral obligations are the responsibility of the individual or society?
  • Question #1B: Can science provide the grounds for moral obligations?

Question #1A: Do you believe moral obligations are the responsibility of the individual or society?

Dalai Lama: Ultimately, the source of our problems lies at the level of the individual. If people lack moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate. So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, inequity, intolerance and greed — all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values — will persist.

Question #1B: Can science provide the grounds for moral obligations?

Dalai Lama: It’s good to ask where we can turn for help. Science, for all the benefits it has brought to our external world, has not yet provided scientific grounding for the development of the foundations of personal integrity — the basic inner human values that we appreciate in others and would do well to promote in ourselves. …  What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics. [link]

 

Narrator to end interaction:

“What resonated for you in what the Dalai Lama said? Do you think something is missing in the Dalai Lama’s responses?”

“Try choosing a new card.”