Friday, May 13, 2005


The question was posed, by email: how would 'virtuality' be different than our current experience? may we now be living in a virtual world?

Sure! but since evidence of that is, by def, 'outside' our experience, it quickly becomes a matter of belief. I'm going to defer on the "brain in a vat"/MATRIX rundown right now, recall a lecture I attended when visiting Alicia in Montana, and link to David Chalmers.

Still, we sometimes do have experiences beyond what we identify as normal. For my own part, my experiences have not lead me to think that my current reality is a nasty virtual trick of some kind. Rather, those experiences have lead me to believe that when I'm caught up in human affairs I tend to miss the forest for the trees. It's not that there aren't trees at all, or that trees are actually slimy energetic ... uh ... I'm thinking of that kid's movie about the magic tollbooth, where he almost got caught by some nasty creatures in the 'doldrums...'

Anyway, my point is that my transcendent experiences haven't lead me to believe that my experiences are a complete fiction of some kind, or a figment of an imagination (mine or the entity pulling this hypothetical hoax), but rather that in a 'normal' human state of mind, I'm just not seeing the wider picture.

I tend to think of it in terms of local and diffuse consciousness. in a transcendent experience, I identify more with a diffuse consciousness. In my more human moments, I tend to identify with the humble human foibles of my local aaron-being. A metaphor that works for me more often than not is that of the locality of consciousness that identifies as 'aaron-being' is a droplet of water in a vast sea of meta-consciousness.

Coming back to the interpretation of virtuality through this lens, I could say that my experience, when subsumed by the daily troubles of 'aaron-being', are constrained by the limitations of that perspective, and are, in some sense, virtual. Hard edges surrounding my perceptions typify this state of being, and I certainly don't experience consciousness as diffuse in any sense.

I feel like drawing a picture, though I doubt it will help. part of it would be labeled 'aaron-being', part 'diffuse consciousness', and there would be a timeline. 'Aaron-being would travel mostly linearly on the timeline, but would have the possibility of diffuse edges and tendrils etc. etc. If I get around to doing the drawing, I'll put it here. okay. here it is.


It seems I forgot to put tendrils on there. i think there's room...

Anyway, to come back to the original tangent from the previous post-

I started on this chain of thought, and I found myself being rather pejorative about the possibilities for the virtual world. I felt like coming back to say: Sometimes, very beautiful things are made by beings that have no perspective from which to appreciate their accomplishments. So who am I to pass judgment?

Even from my limited vantage point, I can see some beauty in us placing ourselves in a sea of information. In some sense, an alignment with fluid information over physical reality may be seen as a noble and desperate attempt at the transcendental. (The flip-side interpretation, one that I'm usually more apt to make, is that the creation of a virtual world is the just the control-freak side of humanity coming out.)

Another tangent:

I'm tempted, again, to ask - What is special about humanity?

In some places I've made the comment that it is consciousness, or awareness of the consciousness that makes humanity interesting. But, as a different take on human evolution, you could say the stage of 'information' comes before the stage of 'consciousness', and that the glimpses of the nature of consciousness that we're having will become more prevalent as we become more fully integrated into the later stages of the 'information age'.

food for a later post?


Post a Comment

<< Home