Sunday, March 1, 2009

Waking Up In Virtual Worlds

That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. Pema Chodron.
Second Life can be a great teacher of impermanence. Although it feels like the avatars, places and objects we experience virtually are solid entities, it is relatively easy to understand they are actually projections of data on far-flung servers. Noticing how our mind creates the illusion of reality within a virtual environment can help us catch a glimpse of how the same mental processes create our experience of the atomic world.

Seeing through the illusory nature of our experience of pseudonymous virtual relationships is much more difficult. It feels like we have some sort of innate ability to see the "real person" behind the avatar. We don't. What actually happens is that our very limited experience of a person's words and deeds are transformed into a mental image that's completely fabricated by our own mental projections.

Of course, we do the exact same thing within our physical world relationships. So when we see the mirage-like nature of the virtual, it is a small step to also wake up, at least for a time, in the physical.

6 comments:

Tateru Nino said...

"What actually happens is that our very limited experience of a person's words and deeds are transformed into a mental image that's completely fabricated by our own mental projections."

How does that differ from the physical world?

Botgirl Questi said...

Hi Taturo: Did you make it to the last paragraph? ;) I don't think there is a difference in the process, just easier to notice in VWs.

hazel said...

that reminds me to a song:
”can you see the real me? can ya?“

Tateru Nino said...

I did. I just boiled it down some. Though I didn't quite follow the wake-up part. But it's been a long couple of days.

Botgirl Questi said...

Tateru: For me, it's relatively easier within virtual world friendships to notice myself objectifying people in many ways that are purely speculation. When I catch myself and snap out of it, it's like "waking up" from a dream.

By repeated practice in the VW setting, I have enhanced my ability to do the same sort of thing in RL situations. I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in the original post!

sowamai said...

So does that mean there is no heightened awareness developed in the VW? Like the blind hearing better. Or are we merely projecting more of our own crap on each other to fill in the blanks rather than opening up a psychic channel to facilitate a deeper connection? I'm disappointed. I knew I was doing it in First Life but now my dreams of a cleaner channel of communication are being challenged. Oh well as long as I keep honestly looking I'll wake up eventually. Thanks for the awareness.