Monday, October 13, 2008

Illusion or Awakening? Reflections on Virtual Life

Over the course of the Botgirl Thought Experiment, I've gone back and forth between seeing virtual life as a path into illusion or a means of awakening. Although I haven't given up on a digital yoga, it's clear to me that spending a significant portion of our time in virtual worlds without sustained conscious attention leads many of us deeper into ignorance and suffering.

The primary value of virtual identity for me has been its power to shed light on the fictional nature of normative identity and the constructed narrative quality of all conception. For the first couple of months as Botgirl, my interactions were in strict role play from the imagined perspective of an AI embodied as an avatar. Inhabiting this carefully designed character afforded me great equanimity. It often felt as if I was channeling an enlightened being. Looking back now over the first months of blog posts, it's easy for me to see when I was streaming directly from her consciousness and when I was writing as an interpreter of her insights.

Over time, it became harder to maintain the purity of the character because the wall between my physical and virtual lives began to feel uncomfortable. As I developed online friendships, more and more of my "atomic" perspective and personality began to bleed into virtual communication. This was primarily because I couldn't come up with a way to establish what felt like authentic relationships from the limited ground of an intentionally fragmented part of myself.

So I'm dedicating the rest of Lazy Month to contemplating and reevaluating the value of the Botgirl Thought Experiment. I'll keep you posted.

in contemplation
blinding lights fade revealing
stars in a vast sky


Blog Archive

About Me

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