Saturday, December 27, 2008

Botgirl's Creator Speaks - Part 2

I didn't have a particular set of attributes in mind when I started browsing for the shape, skin, hair and clothes that would transform Botgirl into the hot little tramp I intended. Shopping in Second Life can be addictive and entrancing. Hours flew by like minutes as I teleported from store to store and drifted into what I now suspect was a semi-hypnotic state. When I began to "wake up," I realized that a dreamlike story had been unfolding beneath my conscious awareness: I saw Botgirl as an Artificial Intelligence waking up as a Second Life avatar with no memory of a prior existence. (There’s a lot more to it, but I’m saving the full narrative for the comic project.) I abandoned my lame spice-up-the-marriage concept and stepped off a cliff into the unknown.

I've never been much of a role player. As a matter of fact, my pre-Botgirl Second Life had a pretty low tolerance for people who wouldn't crack their RP persona in social conversation. So I'm not sure where I got the odd notion of method-acting my way into developing Botgirl as a character for a comic or graphic novel. But that’s what I started doing.

I stopped logging-on as my original avatar and begin exploring Second Life as a newly-hatched Stranger in a Strange Land. It was a mind-blowing experience. From the start, being Botgirl felt like channeling a cross between Susie Bright and the Dalai Lama. I was often more surprised by the words coming out of her mouth as were those I chatted with.

Despite all the sometimes contradictory opinions expressed here over the past year about the nature of identity, as Witter Bynner wrote in his translation of the Tao Te Ching:

"Existence is beyond the power of words to define:
Terms may be used, but are none of them absolute."

Stay tuned for Part Three


sororNishi said...

This post and previous ones have only reinforced my belief that understanding the shift in consciousness that happens as we become a virtual being can only be understood when we go back to the question of how we understand consciousness.

I resisted writing after watching the Ted Talks clip you posted, because, as he said, everyone has their own particular theory on consciousness, and I felt that mine was really just more virtual space junk. Later, I realised that very few people have a theory about consciousness, and those that do, I like to hear.

I think that a major breakthrough has come for the science community now that it has realised that all that black stuff we see in the night sky is not Nothing, it may not be matter as we know it, but it is Stuff. Similarly, consciousness may be better understood when we we start to look at the Unconscious, (and here I am thinking of the individual unconsciousness).

The decisions we take in forming our avatars “ beneath ... conscious awareness” are, like our dreams and inspirations, coming from a place which is outside our conscious control. Because dreams (and, I suspect, inspiration) are uncontrollable Jung called them autonomous, and postulated that the unconscious was both autonomous and older than consciousness.

This, if applied to Second Life, gives this (Virtual) conscious state a very unusual place in our experience, being a sort of waking dream. It is a hitherto unknown mixture of conscious and unconscious words, acts, and decisions. It is populated by Colonials trying to maintain their old culture ( the “real life” brigade) and by those that have “gone native” and become Archetypes, (dragon, elves and the like).

Those of us living in the land between these two extremes are being formed by the people we meet, the experiences we have, the clothes we buy. My human likes to think they make more rational decisions than Soror. But that is delusion.

A dream is a natural phenomenon, it is real. There is nothing unreal about SL either. It is a frontier land for the psyche.

Botgirl Questi said...

sororNishi: Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective. I like your comparison of virtual life as a type of waking dream.