On Sat, 11 May 1996, Teresa Tipton wrote:
> It is helpful to redefine the nature of "virtual" vs. "reality" but in
> the sake of rhetoric, some of James' point is obsfucated here, henry.
mmmmmm... it's a possibility...
> You have a relationship with your wife, henry, not your computer
In point of fact, while I believe that statement, I doubt the either you
or Jamie (my wife) would agree.... ;-) <VVVBG>
> - and if you have more of a relationship with text and terminal, well,
> then, perhaps there may be some friction that results...i.e. "real" vs.
> "virtual" interaction is with human beings, not their fascimilies...
A terminal "...is only plastic" as I believe Newt said to Ripley in
another context. Text? Words. Speech, sign, letters, braille...only
formal difference. Nu? Oral communication with a time-slip. It is not
"text" nor verbiage, nor your voice on the phone or in the next room, or
even your whispering in my ear that my relationship is with. I relate
only to you, the entity who communicates (not with the communication).
It is my suspicion, (and ONLY a suspicion) that there is a site on the
web where fairly advanced programs, artificial intelligences, are run,
un-announced to the "real" people communicating there. In that context your
argument has more teeth perhaps. In that particular case I am unsure
where my relationship lies. I haven't returned to that site in some time now.
> ...and while fiction is good reading, it is not the same as experiencing
Logically, this argument stands. Practically, I believe that quite often
people mistake effectively written fiction for reality and configure their
beliefs and lives accordingly. "willing suspension of disbelief" goes as
far as it can, and I think that to write fiction (or to create in terms of
some other art) without considering this possibility is to be missing
something. No. Fiction is not the same as reality but at times
measurement of the difference eludes possibility.
Does anyone on this list avoid showering in an empty house? Do you remember
> - it is another version, as is reading text from people from whom the
> cues, non-verbal communication, and other forms of interaction, are
Yes and No. Mostly yes. Is the semiotic verbal? The FBI seems to claim the
ability to gather quite a bit of information not directly specified in the
text. But, it remains true that most of the familiar modes of N-VC do not
appear on the monitor. This is a point of discomfort or disorientation for
some folk, but not all. How reliable are our non-verbal skills? Surely
skills vary from individual to individual, mayhaps the lack of non-verbal
skill is a reason for some to find greater comfort in a realm where a
majority of that communication is excluded. There is much uncertainty
> Both are important; the computer is a tool; but lest we be guilty of
> "obsessive-compulsive disorder" with our computers, then James makes some
> important points of caution in the use of the tool.
The computer is as beside the point as the air molecules which carry
sound. But I can see that the point could be argued. While I agree that
James makes some excellent points I still feel that the source of the
argument for him and most people I know is the appearance of greater
validity for more immediate and local concerns. Maybe this stems from some
greater appreciation for the haptic qualities of life? Similar arguments
are offered against engagement in "foreign" affairs to the neglect of the
"domestic". Equally cautionary exhortations.
I wouldn't and don't argue that such viewpoints are invalid. I accept
them and encourage those for whom they are important not to swerve from
them. For some reason though they don't work for me. As a result I will
request a little space for my perspective and may even hope to encounter
another of my tribe on occasion.
The major point on which I contend is the location of the "problem" in the
inert object of the computer, the immaterial "space" of virtual "reality."
At issue here is the relationship between people and the valuation of
certain qualities in that relationship.
My secondary point is really unconnected to this discussion and only
touches it in terms of the phrase "virtual reality" which I see in the
common daily experience of introspection; unrelated, or only
peripherally related, to computer domains.