Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Digital Shamanism: The Psychological Dimension of the Transworlders Paradigm

Most of us tend to ignore the deeper dimensions of being that hide beneath our mundane states of mind. It struck me today that the idea of "Transworlders" not only applies to movement between virtual worlds, but also to travel through inner worlds and states of consciousness. And even to what might be thought of as "digital shamanism."

There is an essential mystery at the heart of life, awareness and identity. Although to our habitual state of perception we live in an atomic, isolated and disconnected universe, if we look more deeply, the entire world and everything in it can be viewed as what Thich Nhat Hanh calls a web of interbeing
“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-“ with the verb “to be,” we have a new verb, inter-be.
Thich Nhat Hanh, From “Peace is Every Step”
As the concept of interbeing is applied to virtual worlds, we can begin to see that the solid appearing boundaries between human and avatar; atomic and virtual; corporate and artistic; and so on, are fictional expressions of our collective mental models. So, for instance, there is no conflict between the perspectives of "augmentation" and "immersion" in virtual worlds. In fact, they are interdependent concepts.

Extending further, our avatars can not only be viewed as vehicles that take us from the human world to the virtual world, or as emergent identities that live within an immersive environment,  but also as expressions of deep archetypal energies that transcend both concepts. I tried to express some of the mystery of this approach in the image at the top of this post.

That's it for now. Hope to post more on this line of inquiry soon.


Mo Werefox said...

Suggestive as usual. Thank you :)
I wonder how the concept of interbeing could apply also to the interpersonal relations we actualise in all the worlds we live in. And to recall your concept of avatars as "...expressions of deep archetypal energies that transcend both concepts", I also wonder how would the archetypes works and shape our relations. I suppose you’d consider the intertwining of the multiple identities we are formed of. Intriguing…

Sowa Mai's dog said...

your thinking is interesting but thousands of years have passed and you still want to make God in the image of man, accept transcendance

Botgirl Questi said...

Oh. I didn't mean to imply that God was an anthropomorphic being. Of course I know she is truly a Dog in ultimate form. Sorry! ;)