Conditional Existentialism Workbook

"Spaces for having spiritual and religious conversations are few and far between. And often it’s hard to have them without feeling like you need to walk on eggshells. They’re such intensely personal subjects and probably rightly so. However I’m realizing that there’s a lot that can be done to facilitate these conversations in a way that is focused not on each other, but on the process of co-creation around these spiritual/religious questions and concepts. When the focus of your thoughts and speech is not aimed at the other person, but rather conveyed in the format of thought spilling out unto paper, the result is disarming and suddenly the need to correct, argue or debate dissipates."
—Conditional Existentialism Workbook

The following workshops are a way of experimenting with how conversation around these topics can happen through visual play. The focus of each conversation is having marker on paper. When the conversation is facilitated, it becomes more about trying to collaboratively understand and analyze the concept in order to come up with a solution, than to endlessly hold circular debates. Ideas are also unhesitatingly shared and respect for the opinions of others are maintained.

At the heart of this workbook is that it invites you to play. Yes, the conversations that take place are heavy and yes they’re not easy to do, but there is no pressure to be right or to draw well. The simple rules lend themselves to creating something interesting and beautiful every time. And as as we begin to reintroduce these concepts and questions into our lives and become better versed in them, then we can become more unified in thought and practice together. The simple rules of the games lend themselves to more intent focus on the conversations taking place. And the nature of it being an overall indirect yet direct conversation means that the pressure that you may offend or be found ridiculous for your opinions is lessened.

project trailer

Workshop I Directly Indirect 2 players
1 sheet of paper
2 colored markers
1 deck of question cards
1. Two players sit across from each other with the sheet of paper and deck of cards between them.
2. Taking turns, one will ask a question from the deck and then start drawing, while the other answers the question.
3. The first one to start drawing will draw a filled in solid circle in the middle of the paper, enlarging and perfecting the boundaries while the other talks.
4. Once the player who answered is done talking, the other player will stop drawing.
5. Now the other player asks a question and begins to draw, enlarging and continuing to try to perfect the boundaries of the circle.
6. Continue for 10 rounds of cards.
Workshop II Spiritual Poem Train 2 players
1 sheet of paper
2 colored markers

1. First player writes a word they associate with spirituality at the top of the paper.
2. Second player writes another word associated with spirituality that is also associated with the former word below the first one.
3. Repeat steps.
4. Continue until the words reach the bottom of the page.
5. Once done, read out the entire list in dramatic performance style.

Workshop III “(+) (-) (~)” 4 players
3 markers (green, red, orange)
1 sheet of paper

1. Decide amongst yourselves one narrator and three drawers.
2. Narrator will call out a list of words one-by-one.
3. For each word called out the group must collectively consult and make a mark on the paper that corresponds to whether they feel positively, negatively or neutral about the word and whether that word is spiritual or religious .
4. If religious, draw on the right
If spiritual draw on the left
If positive, draw a green circle
If negative, draw a red cross
If neutral, draw an orange squiggle
5. Size of the symbol depends on the strength of feeling about the word.
6. Stop when 15 words have been completed.

Workshop IV Draw God 4 players
4 markers
1 sheet of paper

1. Together with your group draw an abstract representation of God/Divinity/Spirit/Gaia.
2. Each person must take turns making one continuous mark on the paper. Once the marker leaves the paper, it is the next person’s turn.
3. The next person can only start another mark within 1 inch distance from the previous mark.
4. Repeat these steps for each player until each player has made at least 8 marks or continue until satisfied.