Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Post American Existentialism: on Becoming a Real Life Computer Game Avatar
Post American Existentialism: on Becoming a Real Life Computer Game Avatar Lex Loeb Contributor Network . Second Life is an INTERNET phenomenon that should not be missed. Yes, this is a recommendation to visit Second Life and to get yourself your very own avatar. An Avatar is a computer generated animated cartoon character you can control either as yourself or as some one you wish to "role play" with your computer allowing you to control it and interact with the site environment and with other avatars on the Second Life site. Second Life is not the only site with avatars. There are now a number of sites that have them. Second Life is one popular site with participants with personal avatars from all over the world. Recently IBM announced that it had a program allowing someone to transfer their avatar from site to site online. Having an avatar can become something of an out of body experience. You need to try it out to see how this happens. It is not necessary that your personal avatar or avatars have any particular personalities of your own . You can just create anything you want to and then set the avatar out into the abstract world of fantasy created places that there are so many to choose from on second life. There is plenty of commercialism in the second life world. It is often commercialism of the absurd since often what is offered for sale is bodies, body parts, land, and virtually anything you need to recreate anything you can imagine building into a private fantasy or a fantasy body. The Avatar need not even be human. Where as the INTERNET has developed into something of the collective unconscious, Virtual worlds like second life have become existential reality. Scholars might argue that anything as contrived as second life is existential reality. Let them. They are wrong. It is definitely existential reality because it takes takes very base notions of how to recreate reality and to humanize it. Second Life is about what a lot of different people , who take the time, effort and expense, to attempt to create various personalized visions of reality. Some are more fantastic than others. The idea that many people who occupy second life is to build for themselves a dream home. Dream homes on second life, including castles, out number most other types of buildings constructed on and in thin air there. Second Life is populated by all kinds of people with all sorts of motivations . The idea of being able to have a second life on line is appealing to many but not to all. For some it is just a game. For others it is commercialism or advertising for something in the real world. The sophistication of the virtual world sites like second life is increasing upgrade after upgrade of the complicated software involved in making it possible. The term post American existentialism does not describe what is found on happening on second life but how online virtual realties and computer gaming are transforming Americans faster than other people on earth. This is because American just happen to be more exposed than others to the virtual world experience. After being on Second Life for a while , if you start identifying with your avatar, you can find yourself walking down an ordinary city street and you begin to feel like you are a real life avatar and everyone around you is also an avatar. It is a very strange feeling. For a while I felt like I was walking like my avatar. I started looking at people near by and thinking "Avatars!" Suddenly the real world becomes this existential state of existence where all the absurdity of every day life starts making sense. Someone created the real life environment and all those people around me are controlled by hidden computer key boards and joy sticks. They are all looking for something. They are motivated by some secret being behind the scene. The real world starts looking very different after spending enough time in a virtual online world or on a video game. It is very very strange because you start to see other people on the streets who are behaving like avatars. Many are not even aware that they are becoming real life avatars. Post American existentialism is living as a dream character in a dream world, It is supposed to be absurd. It used to be that Americans used to have to go to a movie to interact with fantasy world but now it is everywhere. One morning you go out and pick up the newspaper and see a headline that says 50 billion dollar ponzi scheme master mind arrested by authorities. it is a true story. On the second page of the paper there is an article about an international treaty to stop global warming as it that could be a factual statement of what is possible. The sky might as well be falling because you would believe that too. People who never knew anything about finance or the economy are glued to their TV sets watching the world enter the "next great depression." because that is what the television personalities are telling them to do. It used to be that the guilt of innocence of OJ Simpson is all that mattered in the news but now it is the need to know if you need to go on a run on a bank that is federally insured just because it happens to be the latest greatest American Fad. Fortunately for second life it has no mass media as we know it on the outside, not yet. Even more interesting is how giant banks can lay off hundreds of thousands of workers and let the at home computer avatars do their banking online. People are selling bank stocks in an era where the cost of hiring large numbers of tellers and loan officers is no longer necessary and bank fees are going ever higher. Online automated banks can maintain exactly the same high profit margins with billions of independent avatars to do business with.less and less direct human customer service. Online banking avatars already exist to help you with your banking needs. Soon you find yourself doing business with machines all day and all night with no direct human contact. I was hesitant to use Internet banking when it first arrived but after a few years of much facilitated service and only a rare need to actually write a check anymore I am pleased to becoming a banking avatar at the Avatar National Bank. This is post American existentialism . It is also a test of old standard existentialism which , itself, is becoming an online reality. After having my avatar, I will probably never again walk into a night club and not feel second life avatar deja vu. These people who all look to good to be true in real life are. For more real life post American existentialism there is craigslist.com. Most of what is on craigslist is no more real than what you find on second life. Some is and some is not. You do not always want to find out. Craigslist is the greatest existential experiment in world history. It is amazing what people want and what they try to sell or just magically become. Avatars are everywhere in real life. They are leaking out of sites like virtual worlds and craigslist onto the planet's surface. Some know they are some are not sure yet. You cannot just walk up to an avatar on the street and say "Hi I know you are an avatar. I am one too. Let me teleport you to my private tunnel of love." Actually you can if you are sure you are talking to a real avatar who is aware she is an avatar. The next time I go into a bar and someone asks me If they can make me their friend and teleport me somewhere, that is when I will be convinced that President Obama is really an avatar too. Anyone else notice how avatar like the new president is? .