July 19, 2015

What is Enaction?


“Enaction is the idea that organisms create their own experience through their actions.”—Edwin Hutchins

When we enter the KE-verse, we enact a scene, we do not act out the scene. There’s a significant difference between enacting and acting. Acting is following a script and taking on a role, a character that is different from your own. Enacting has no script and you do not take on a performance or play a character. You are playing yourself, and, as the expedition progresses, you enact more and more of your true self (who you are when you’re present) and begin dropping the veil of the false self (who you pretend to be).


What should I do?

When you enter the story, first try to orient yourself. Make sure you take in your surroundings and feel that you are there. That is the immersive part of the process. Once you feel immersed, align all of your actions with the environment you perceive as if it were the physical world. Refrain from doing things that would not be possible – however, do enact things that could be done. For example, you can sit down and pour some virtual coffee into a virtual cup (pour coffee), or you can enact a cold by starting to (sneeze) or (shiver). This kind of action is called placemaking (“Your very own, two-by-four, duct tape makeshift Holodeck” – JK)


What about the others?

It is important that you do not jump out of the story and describe it from a third person perspective (meta-layer). Stay inside the story. Refrain from describing your current experience or what you have experienced in the past (we do get to write personal journals on longer treks). Otherwise, it takes you and others out of the flow and breaks the immersion. Focus on the others, become aware of them as if they were standing right next to you. Do not focus so much on your self or your projection of your self. Just be present, take note of all the signs that are around you – the visuals, the words, the pictures, the sounds – and respond with your own signs. This kind of interaction is called Enactive Intersubjectivity. It will open up a social field that begins to resonate between participants and becomes stronger the further we travel together.