Chapter 11: Kira and Play as Being

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    I chatted with Piet Hut over lunch in mid March 2009 at the Institute for advanced Study. He talked at length about the current state of the entities and to an extent his visions of what Kira and PaB are and will become.

    Kira Institute: 

    At first Kira was an external entity. The ideals of Kira and PaB were alike. Kira, as an official non-profit and
    tax-exempt organization, gave us an opportunity to apply for grants to fund PaB. If Kira was providing the money, it would be natural for the virtual PaB land to include a corner for Kira.. But quickly we realized that Kira was the more broadly based organization, including a focus on science and "science in context", interactions between science and other ways of knowing. Therefore, it would be more reasonable to let Kira pay for all the land in the virtual world, and to let PaB use part of that land for PaB purposes.  In other words, Kira quickly become the umbrella organization for PaB and many other activities..  The growth of the activities in the Kira Cafe followed a natural, organic growth. With relatively little prior planning, new activities were added one by one as demand for them grew.  For example, after a debate about phenomenology, which drew quite a crowd, it seemed natural to start a weekly phenomenology workshop.  When new creative and energetic individuals started to frequent the Kira Cafe, we asked some of them to lead new workshops in areas of their expertise that overlapped with the Kira mission. Kira was built from the bottom upward rather than top down.

    Kira is a virtual university. The walls are lower, i.e. there is less of a barrier. Anyone can attend and participate in events. It is a laboratory experiment in building a new university but may be more than may become a university.

    Phenomenology Workshop and Play as Being:

    Note the Phenomenology Workshop is just one of a number of Kira workshops. As Pema talked I began to see the workshop functioning as a course in the virtual university. The workshop is influeneced by the works of the philosopher Edmund Husserl. We discussed this particular workshop because the methodology is the most closely related to Play as Being of the worskops.

    The Phenomenology Workshop does not deal directly with Being. Being expresses itself through phenomena but it is the phenomena which are studied. The experiments may be the same in both the Pheno Workshop and PaB. But Play as being goes beyond phenomena.

    Being allows phenomena to appear, and we can know more about Being by really going into phenomena.  So the Phenomenology workshop studies phenomena qua phenomena, as phenomena.  And PaB tries to see how Being shows Itself through phenomena.  The approach to explorations may be similar, but the vision of PaB is far wider than that of phenomenology.

    The phenemology approach can be readily defended as a philosophical approach. It is not so easy to defend Play as Being in that framework.

    Play as Being

    I began to understand Play as Being as a "club" or activity group in the virtual university. If so, it is a very special activity.

     Play as being is the most radical way to explain reality. For most people coming to Kira, the Play as Being approach is not what they are looking for.  It is not one of those activities one expects at a virtual university.  Rather, it takes place in a more remote area. And Play as being is not run by Kira; decisions are made within the group, by the guardians.  Though sponsored by Kira, PaB is largely autonomous.

    PaB is the only place where Being is discussed in any real way. It starts at the end, i.e. that there is nothing that needs to be done. "Being" that points to what IS, as beyond all opposites, beyond all dualities, all dichotomies.

    Note: there is also a workshop on Time

    Timlessness gets closest to Being . Timelessness is not a phenomenon Phenemena can point to timelessness.

    As one becomes more aware of Being, the distinction beween oneself and others becomes less a distinction.

    PaB is not a laboratory curriculum. Everyone's own personal experience is their own lab.

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