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3 tweets

2015-06-12 20:53:02.825724+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

RT Omer Shapira @omershapira:

Lots of people in my feed mocking this concept. All of them were born with 4 functioning limbs and social mobility

Speaker in front of slide reading "to create virtual worlds more meaningful than real life&quote.

Let's talk about being, say, mid teens. Maybe male, in decent shape. Maybe gone out for a high school long distance running practice and pretty much smoked all but the fastest runner, and can hop on a bike and hammer out 60 or 70 miles no problem, manage a 15 or 20 foot crossing on a tight rope, handle a canoe on whitewater, juggles balls or pins, socioeconomic background that confers some advantages. So pretty good at manipulating the physical reality, 4 functioning limbs...

But something about that social thing doesn't click. Something about the school thing, the focus on socialization over knowledge, on rote regurgitation over thinking, on external rewards, doesn't click.

RT Omer Shapira ‏@omershapira:

Of course, you won't meet the audience most likely to find solace in this statement, because they rarely leave their houses to your vicinity

But, really, they do. Invisible because they pass, because they do a decent, if relatively quiet job of looking "normal". Sure, there's something about the clothing that seems weird, the sense of humor maybe.

One day, amidst the squeal and warble of an acoustic coupler, in dot matrix type, a world unfolds. To call this world "low res" is an understatement. It's maybe 40 columns wide, possibly all upper-case, unfolds at 30 characters a second, which is slower than most of us read. But the relative sensory paucity of this world is overridden by one thing: a social environment that matters, that carefully ponders the difference between ethics and morality, and is willing to abandon the latter. It provides an environment for re-inventing self. Identity comes from constructions that aren't necessarily reflections of pop culture, and nobody makes fun of that.

And, suddenly, manipulating that world, understanding that world, building that world, is the most important thing.

A decade or so later, maybe a little bit more, that world has grown up. The economic value of the skills necessary to manipulate it is leaking out into the broader world, the broader world is slowly leaking in. There's also confidence building, the fully constructed identity becomes hybrid: there's a name one could find in a phone book, but the pursuits and passions are still acceptable.

Of course this process continues, the virtual world becomes diluted by the real world, some of the ideas of the online leak out into the physical. Teens become middle-age and a paunch, those neurons that used to be able to compensate for the qiver of a taughtly stretched hemp rope atrophy, falling hurts. Maybe social skills improve, it's easier to "pass", rather than being the weirdly dressed kid it's now witty and engaging with slightly eccentric ideas that nobody understands, but seem profound without being pretentious. And we've all won. Kind of.

RT Omer Shapira @omershapira

Let's talk about art that makes you feel powerless rather than products that make you feel more powerful

And here's where we part ways. I don't want to afflict the comfortable. That "real life"? It's a social construct, of fashion and fashionable, of trends and marketed pop idols, and fuck it, if that's what turns you on, it's yours and more power to you. It is the world, "real life", and it has its place and if people find solace in it that's great.

But it doesn't change except when the fringes assimilate it and drag it in more interesting directions, and right now we have precious few fringes. Sure, we pass, but there's tremendous isolation in passing. And, to the earlier point, there's even more isolation in not passing.

So, yeah: 4 functioning limbs, social mobility, and well aware that somewhere out there there's the wharbling of an acoustic coupler, the buzz of a thermal printer, the click of a keyboard, and a world that's more compelling than "real life". Maybe it's all happening in the physical world now, maybe cyberspace is a social construct of the "real life" of two decades ago attempting to understand, but it's there.

And we should find it and celebrate it, because it's how we're going to foster the big ideas that'll bring the next positive revolution in our culture and world. And, yes, it will be scoffed at and mocked. "real life" fears change, fears growth, fears innovation, and it responds with scorn and ostracization.

Fuck that.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: 3 tweets made: 2015-06-13 18:57:01.328643+00 by: Mars Saxman

I don't understand the context for this wall of text but I sure can relate to it.

I have been musing recently: what's next, now that the web is over? Where should I look for the next frontier, with all the weirdos and inventors?

#Comment Re: 3 tweets made: 2015-06-15 13:41:07.393361+00 by: meuon

Perhaps the answer is a "sub-net" where we can be anonymous or the online persona we want to cultivate, and say the things that we want to say, and need to say. My explorations of a couple of dark/sub-nets quickly hit the illegal activities button I was afraid to hit. I want to converse intelligently, not arrange for drugs, sex and forbidden porn.

There are sides to being involved in an online community/reality that aren't as appealling to me as they once were. Part of my interest in BBS's and early inline communities was an escape from the mundane and unhappy world around me. At this point, I'm fairly happy, and I seem to have an interesting and eclectic group of friends and world around me. Less reasons to escape into cyberspace.

#Comment Re: 3 tweets made: 2015-06-15 17:28:58.927147+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, I've been pondering recently how we brought the world to the Internet, and how we went from being able to find the other technical people online, to now how the interesting spaces are happening because of geographic filtering and real life gatherings.

I was also at a "leadership training"-ish seminar last Thursday, there were some interesting exercises on being told what to do and telling what to do that... well... translate to square dance calling.

I'm calling for the Redwood Rainbows tomorrow evening, have a number of other gigs this summer, and am thinking more about how we used to play with alternate social modes in the virtual spaces and now we play in the physical ones.

#Comment Re: 3 tweets made: 2015-06-15 19:02:11.14607+00 by: Larry Burton

I've often played with them in both,... at the same time. I do my best to make any world I'm in "my" world. ;)