Where are we more ourselves?
A thought occurred to me today about the definition of who we are.
I’ve heard it said before that many people enjoy the fantasy of online virtual worlds because it allows them to become someone other than they are. An elf, an orc, a starship captain, a space fighter pilot for some examples.
What do we define “ourselves” by?
If we define who we are by our activities in the so called “real world” then we are constraining the meaning of who we are to our place in a badly organized society based on social structures in place long before we were even born.
It is like painting yourself in someone elses picture and claiming that to be who you are. How can it be who you are if it was painted by someone else? This is the question today’s thought brought up to me.
In a virtual world like Second Life (R) there is no formal social order. No predefined genders even since you can choose freely to change. Your form is not even static as your shape is also freely changable.
So this is a “blank canvas” in which YOU can paint with every color in the spectrum using every brush you can think of to define who you are.
Maybe, instead of saying we love virtual worlds because we can escape ourselves.. we should love them because we can find ourselves.
It is one way of seperating who you are from the mold given to you.
I can think of one piece of my own past, due to the native american influence in my family, that is similar in nature to this experience.
I’ll leave you to ponder the wiki about “vision quests”
A vision quest is a rite of passage in some Native American cultures.
In many Native American groups, the vision quest is a turning point in life taken before puberty to find oneself and the intended spiritual and life direction. When an older child is ready, he or she will go on a personal, spiritual quest alone in the wilderness, often in conjunction with a period of fasting. This usually lasts for a number of days while the child is attuned to the spirit world. Usually, a Guardian animal will come in a vision or dream, and the child’s life direction will appear at some point. The child returns to the tribe, and once the child has grown, will pursue that direction in life. After a vision quest, the child may apprentice an adult in the tribe of the shown direction (Medicine Man, boatmaker, etc).
The vision quest may be a part of shamanism, more exactly, the learning and initiation process of the apprentice for achieving the ability for shamanizing, mostly under the guidance of an older shaman.
The vision quest may be said to make the initiated establish contact with a spirit or force. Psychologically, it may have effected hallucinations. See a complex emic and etic approach to shamanism among Eskimo peoples in .
The technique may be similar to sensory deprivation methods. It may include long walking on uninhabited, monotonous areas (tundra, inland, mountain); fasting; sleep deprivation; being closed in a small room (e.g. igloo).