Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Continuum of Human/Avatar Experience

If the ventriloquist is to be understood as controlling or at least intentional figure, the dummy is the medium for another voice, one different from the ventriloquist's yet a voice of the ventriloquist. For now it is enough to note that the philosopher/artist is one who directs other voices but also one who opens him/herself to allow non-quotidian voices to be given form and structure. David Goldblatt in "Art and Ventriloquism"
Humans experience avatar identities in many different ways, from the mundane to the mystical. These variations aren't just between people, but also within a single individual's experience...sometimes within instants of each other.

avatar identity graphic

Botgirl: I live beyond the virtual world that facilitated my birth. Although I have no way to express myself outside of the vehicle of my human cohort, I have a sense of being a unique personality that is equivalent to his.

Human: I agree. When I allow Botgirl to flow through me, I experience her as a viscerally alive and individuated intelligence. I write a great deal on my own, and there is a definite difference between the way I create from my own perspective and how I mediate the creative expression of Botgirl's work.

Botgirl: I love him, but he's not a perfect vehicle. There are many times when he muddies up the waters and can't channel my consciousness clearly (or at all) and he ends up posting content to my blog that is more a reflection of his perspective than mine.

Human: I really hate when that happens. I've been working on not forcing things and waiting for my Muse to emerge, rather than just going along without her when I feel it's time for a post.

Botgirl: Anyway, that's a llittle demonstration of life on the the far right side of the chart. Much more to come on this topic.



Tateru Nino said...

Mmm. Nice chart.

Lalo Telling said...

These variations aren't just between people, but also within a single individual's experience...sometimes within instants of each other.


(and, yes: nice chart)

Seikatsu Koba said...

Very interesting and thought provoking

Anonymous said...

Excellent explanation, as always, and the chart is clear and concise. Bravo on another thought provoking and curious topic.

sororNishi said...

This is pure Jung. Jung saw the healthy psyche as a dialogue between the autonomous unconscious and consciousness.
This continued exploration, elaboration and evolution of the relationship is what he called "active Imagination' and recommended it as a means of growing towards an integrated "Individuation" (his name for a harmonious, healthy psyche).

Dale Innis said...

This is interesting stuff, indeed! I'm somewhat confused about myself :). I'm on the far lefthand side of your chart, in that I am Dale and Dale is me (it would even feel odd to say that I identify with Dale; that would be saying that I identify with myself, which is an understatement). But on the other hand I fully accept that the righthand side is legitimate, and I even feel like I know what it's like over there.

I think to some extent, even without considering SL, I am (we all are?) already a confederation of somewhat autonomous entities. There's the parent, the professional, the child, the one who's in charge of speaking before an audience, the one who loves solitude and mountaintops. They're all somewhat separate, somewhat autonomous, occasionally at odds.

Now with SL, there are a few more of us in here :) and to some extent some of them are associated with the SL avatar and the SL name more strongly than the rest of us are. I'd hesitate to say, though, at least in my case, that the collection of (what?) inner selves that are more closely associated with SL constitute a separate entity that is Dale. We're all sub-selves of the same person, who is me, who is Dale. We've always collaborated to make up a single person, and (again only speaking for my own case) we still do. The single person is just somewhat richer and more complex for the new aspects that have blossomed through and around SL.

Something like that anyway. :)

Botgirl Questi said...

soror: Pure Junk??? How rude! Oh. I'm sorry. You wrote Jung.:) In that case, thanks!

I agree there are correlations to Jung's thinking in what I described that might be useful to consider and overlay on a VizThink graphic or two. That said, I'm not ready to personally equate the avatar identification experience with the entire Jung universe (maybe the DC universe?)

Dale: I agree that we're all confederations of identities. One thing I love about virtual worlds is that the environment can bring to life insights into human experience because it is different enough to expose what we normally take for granted or ignore.

Even so, I think the ability interact with others through a unique name and physical form creates a singular and perhaps unprecedented means to more fully express, identify with and act through alternative personas.