Electronic Rituals: Meditation #1 – Electronic Rituals The Indecision Space

Introduction

For the first meditation assignment, with Dan Oved as my collaborator,  we created the Indecision Space, a mobile-friendly ritual accessed at  http://indecision.space. This is an “electronic” ritual that visualizes the conflicting thoughts we usually have when making a decision and explores how human’s minds are influenced by unrelated implication when making decisions.

In the system to perform this ritual, the participant:

  1. Thinks of something he/she feels undecided or worries about
  2. Holds his/her phone and waits patiently for 5 seconds for the results to come out
  3. Gets a sentence of “oracle” that suggests about decision making

Documentation of ITP students performing Indecider

Inspiration

The idea of Indecider came from our discussion about what part of our daily routine is worth transforming into an electronic ritual. We went from ideas that celebrates our “graduation” from a day of ITP, as many of us stay in ITP until pretty late, to posting on Facebook every single time someone solves a bug, then finally to Indecider. We want to write a small program that performs the role of the Oracle of Delphi, who is the High Priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi that served as the oracle, that could let us know the “oracle” from program about our common life struggles.

How it works:

The oracle is actually nothing but a sentence “the answer has to do with something …” plus an adjective word picked from a database with about 300 common english adjective words.  And to avoid stereotypes about “fortune telling” or “goddess”, I sketched two cats, one for the “indecision” and the “undecided” pages  with a question mark and one for the “oracle”page with an exclamation mark.

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We add a three-second waiting time before you can hit the button “Oracle, please help me choose” and  a five-second pseudo-loading time for the oracle to show. Based on our own experience and our observation of others performing the ritual, proper amount of waiting time in a ritual raises people’s interest in and attention on the results that’s about to come out, and it helps to enhance the sense of the ritual.

Thoughts:

As we experienced as well as observed, most people who performed the indecider ritual consciously try to build a loose connection between the oracle and a choice they have in mind, or try to interpret the oracle and associate it with some practical suggestions. And the interpretation actually to some extend is a process to convince the person who practice the ritual something he/she prefers or has decided.

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