[SLED] The paradox of virtual worlds?

Steven Hornik shornik at yahoo.com
Fri May 1 06:20:01 PDT 2009

As I read Eloise's post I couldn't help thinking to the TED talk I watched a few days ago of Sarah Jones going in and out of character during her talk, I could swear her face was changing as she did this and thinking which character was really "her", wouldn't they actually all her, and wishing I could see what's happening inside her brain as she switches from one character to another - I would suspect that for some of us the same transformations occur as we go into and out of character with our avatars.  Here's the link if you haven't seen it:


Dr. Steven Hornik
University of Central Florida
Dixon School of Accounting
Second Life: Robins Hermano
yahoo ID: shornik
twitter: shornik

From: Eloise Pasteur <eloisepasteur at gmail.com>
To: SL Educators (The SLED List) <educators at lists.secondlife.com>
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 1:36:40 PM
Subject: Re: [SLED] The paradox of virtual worlds?

Both Jungian psychoanalysis and Gestalist psychoanalysis as I understand them (very much as a lay person) would suggest we all create fictitious versions of ourselves all the time - in particular as we adopt various archetypal demeanours in response to changing conditions in Jungian theory. I can't remember the terms in Gestalist theory any more and google has left me confused, but there's a similar sort of adaption of self to conditions. You could argue that the ability to visually (and potentially for those that deeply immerse kinaesthetically and auditorially) create a fictitious version of ourselves is actually a healthy thing, or maybe a healing thing.

If you don't believe you create a fictitious version of yourself write down what you think you look like, sound like and how you act for a few fairly mundane activities - answering the phone, having a coffee, reading your emails say. Then arrange to have yourself video taped whilst doing this. Just how different is the presumably real version of you on video to the image you have of yourself? And that's for fairly stable physical characteristics, your internal mind and emotional set is much harder to capture and according to most people much more fluid. Does enrollment counselling include telling people they're no longer able to attend college I wonder? I bet your behaviour then is rather different to when you're helping a bright new face who wants to come to college and whom you (personally or institutionally) want to encourage to attend.

There's a buddhist (apparently mis-)quote that I remember as "Hand your flesh back to your mother, your bones back to your father, and show me the real you." Whilst that's to some extent about the impossibility of separating who you are from your inheritance and your early culturisation, it's also a good illustration of how hard it is to know the real you rather than the fictitious versions you generate.


On 30 Apr 2009, at 18:14, Dittmann, Robert M. wrote:

I’ve heard many folks claim that what they love about SL is the ability to truly be themselves.  I find it paradoxical that people create fictitious versions of themselves so that they can better express the truth about them.

Robby Dittmann
Enrollment Counselor
Division of Online Learning
Darton College

This email is intended only for its recipient(s) and may contain information subject to F.E.R.P.A. regulation.

From: Robin Teigland <robin.teigland at hhs.se>
Reply-To: SL Educators <educators at lists.secondlife.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 10:55:03 -0400
To: SL Educators <educators at lists.secondlife.com>, Second Life Research Listserv <slrl at list.academ-x.com>
Subject: [SLED] The paradox of virtual worlds?


Some colleagues and I are preparing a panel proposal for an IS conference.
The focus of the panel will be on paradoxes in different realms of IS

My contribution to the panel will be based on virtual worlds. So, I was
wondering what people see as the biggest or most puzzling paradox with
virtual worlds (if any).  I have a few ideas but I would love to hear yours!

Thanks for any suggestions you may have.  I really appreciate it!

Robin, aka Karinda Rhode

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