I am currently developing a game that explores the concept of zen koans. The player takes the role of a great sensei's gakusei and attempts to answer the sensei's zen questions in a koan-like fashion.
Unfortunately the chances of the player getting the koan right are very very slim - coming up with the most zen like response is almost impossible. But in a way this goes hand in hand with the concept of "doubt" that koans are meant to inspire in their recipients.
The real enjoyment of the game doesn't come from being right but the experiencing the transient zen phrases that the procedural generated language of the computer creates.
There are amusing koans like:
"Decorate not and you will receive fifteen kittens."
Bizzarre koans like:
"Over the yacht lies a slippery cod."
"Eleven evil corn are worth as much as a jar of rainy minister."
And strangely poignant koans like
"There are no sheep in this world that do not whirl."
"Is asparagus a type of loss?"
Having spoken to some zen aficionados I've been told that what the computer is producing is not really zen, that only a true zen master can come with koans that are at once subversively unmeaning and poignantly relevant.
But I am not convinced I agree. Much of zen is about an effacement of the self, of removing the self from creativity and allowing chance, the luck of the draw, of life to create art. In many ways I feel something simplistic as a computer generating these little phrases has removed me from the creative loop and what we are seeing is universally manifest chance and fate giving us meaning. They're kind of fun as well!