Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back in the love box with AIR-based relationships

Based on feedback from digado and Rheta, it seems I didn’t do a very good job of tying together the various threads within yesterday’s post. One reason is that it was written as a stream of consciousness rather than a reasoned argument leading to a previously formed conclusion. I made a few big leaps between ideas without taking the time to walk through the chain of connections. Maybe my textual communications skills have become corrupted by too much comic creation. Anyway, I'll have another go at clarifying yesterday’s missive by answering some of digado's thoughtful questions:
How did immersion get dragged into these relationships?
I'm not dragging it in by iteslf. I came up with the snappy acronym and catch phrase “AIR-based relationships” to define the area of my inquiry. AIR = Anonymous identity + Immersive environment + Romantic attraction. It seem to me that the combination of these three factors creates an especially unstable and volatile mix.
When not 'immersed' you wouldn't have the relationship either, is that what you are saying, or does immersion create these relationships...?
Well, it seems to me that if you weren't immersed, you'd be more conscious of the fact that the hot babe you were flirting with could quite possibly be someone who looks like your grandfather in real life. Humans exposed to attractive images of their preferred gender(s) can experience reflex physiological responses that flood the brain and body with hormones that act like a love drug. I've written about this process in the past. If everyone walked around in a Naruto avatar, I reckon there would be far fewer romances.
People created 'virtual' relationships long before 'worlds' such as SL over the internet, with or without immersion
Well, I would say that if you are focused on a text chat enough to get romantically attached to someone, the text chat environment is immersive for you, and your online affair would be an AIR-based relationship. At least until you traded real IDs and/or met in person.
I'm still trying to get my head around that last paragraph tho, I'm sure it makes sense in some way - I just don't see it...
Well, at least forelle saw it. :) What I tried to convey in the last paragraph was that the person you are in a relationship with is a complex living being with vast potential for growth and change. So if your love requires that they don't externally express significant inner changes, then it is a love of an objectification of your lover's past state, not of who they are now. From my limited experience, it seems there is generally less slack for change in AIR-based relationships.

Well, I'm out of juice for now. If any of my ideas still seem cryptic, please let me know and I'll give it another go.


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A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at