Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monkeyspheres IRL

While we currently live in a world where the digital is inescapable, the distance between the real and the virtual needs more emphasis. This virtualization of most activities does indeed make evident the "psychic double" we all carry around with us, but that does not mean one can simply forget the bodily aspects of interaction.

Dibbel wisely points out that "while the fact attached to any event born of a MUD's strange, ethereal universe may march in straight, tandem lines separated neatly into the virtual and the real, its meaning lies always in that gap" (16). Indeed, we construct meaning for the virtual world in our real lives. We interpret the virtual and make it part of our own, ourselves.

It is also important to note that this virtual world which we're discussing is completely incorporeal. The circuit board is not the body for our virtual reality. With the virtual, humans externalize their internal. But the construction of meaning is purely internal (by this I mean the act of constructing meaning--not the determinants of that meaning, such as the social factors which influence it). The virtual is then a way to cut out the bodies involved in communication. Yet their are still always bodies sending and receiving information.

Here is where we step into the realm of the monkeysphere. The moneysphere is defined as "the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people." On the interwebs we all meet so many people that eventually we stop thinking of everyone as people. This is when the conception of Virtual reality becomes dangerous: when we take this step back, and stop thinking about the people sending and receiving information.

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