Here comes the tide

| Monday, February 2, 2009
Re: Happily Building My Sandcastle by Larisa

It is human to live in a world which is not real. To pretend to live in reality is a lie. We filter everything.

To be human is to dream. This seems to be what separates us from animals. We can think ahead. Even more, we can think that which is impossible.

The oldest form of entertainment is telling stories. The second oldest is making up new stories, stories which are entirely imaginary. To create and live in a world of fiction and imagination, perhaps that is the pinnacle of human existence. Or it's just another step in our collective delusion.

Either way, it's fun! Or if it's not fun, then stop. But why try to tear down the fun of others?

Perhaps it's altruistic, a heroin addict trying to prevent future addicts. Still, how much of the problem of heroin is a matter of personal variation? Some people react differently to the world. Some people react badly to flashing lights, should we bad the police and their warning lights? Pardon my specificity, but the heroin addict, how much of his descent is due to the drug and how much is due to how he and the world at large treat it?

Or is it ego, insecurity? Perhaps a person feels the need to justify his actions. He is alone and if he won't follow the herd, then he will try to get the herd to follow him. Few people can stand alone or sustain action which is not supported by society. Even a small part of society is sufficient for an individual. But that small set may seek wider approval. Conversion is their confirmation of rightness.

WoW is like most of the world: socially constructed and as real as we all want. We're in the most imaginary times ever. Currency itself is imaginary. Currency backed by gold was less so, but the value of gold, while based on its scarcity but remarkable properties, is still socially created. Currency now is based largely on our perceived value, backed by nothing. Is money fake, worth nothing? Of course not. It's as valuable as we make it.

Temporary? Oh sure, WoW is temporary. It will end. What doesn't?

I find value in WoW. It's a gigantic experiment. How do people act in a sexless, genderless, raceless world? How do I act when I am free of everything I have been told I am? How do we build ourselves up, take ourselves down, switch identities to something new? Why? Or why not? Why be yourself when presented with a blank slate?

To imagine, to be someone else, somewhere else, is human. To immerse oneself in a fantasy may be the purest form. We can learn about ourselves and each other when we see the identities we create. Call it an addiction, start a crusade against it, you're only showing who you are. We're on the brink, or perhaps just over... we're somewhere near the start of the biggest social change we may ever see. Jump in headfirst or not, but either way, remember to learn as fast as you can.


Kiryn said...

Well said. I'm a strong believer in the idea of the internet as a new culture, a new world, a new frontier that people are just beginning to learn how to live in. Some people fight the transition, but it's only a matter of time, and I'm very patient.

LarĂ­sa said...

You call this ramblings? This is just beautifully put, I simply adored this post. I'm glad if I in anyway inspired you to write it.

Beth said...

Why be yourself when presented with a blank slate?

I've seen that when people are forced (our guild requires real-life names and optional for folks to post photos and details about themselves) to get to know each other, the anonymity mask is stripped away and everyone is more likely to act human. On the other side, it also helps prove Penny Arcade's Internet Dickwad Theory. Strip away anonymity and folks start being nicer.

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