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Virtual Subjectivity

The idea of virtual subjectivity to me is kind of like an oxymoron. I mean how can these virtual experiences be deemed as real when, the whole foundation behind them is the fact that these experiences are happening in virtual reality and not actual reality? Is it too old school for me to think that interactions in virtual realities such as second life are not real because it’s not actually real reality?

You can have conversations, “visit” exotic locations, and do much more in a virtual reality. However, none of these experiences in my mind are real because they lack the physical relevance of real life. For example, the rapes that were described in “A Rape in Cyberspace” were disturbing, but at the end of the day for the victims it was their avatar that was raped, and not their actual self. They might have been temporarily disturbed by the events, but ultimately they would get over it; the same would not be said had the rape occurred in real life. Similarly, if you got stabbed online, would you bleed in real life, obviously not. This argument might go in one ear and out the other to adamant users of virtual realities because the fact is they are adamant users because of the fact that virtual realities are an escape from the real world.

Online, one can control what they look like, the world that they live in, and the experiences they have. But the fact that all of this is predetermined makes it artificial and contrived. Instead of living out your life online in a virtual world, people should instead go outside and experience the actual one for themselves. This idea is taken to an extreme by the recent movie Surrogates.

The movie describes the world in 2017, in which everyone on the planet has a surrogate android by which they live their lives. Their real self lives at home, while they live life through these physically perfect Surrogates. While the plot of the movie takes the idea of having an avatar online to a much more intense extreme, its ideas are not so farfetched. I mean is it a stretch to assume that people would want to take the chance to be able to experience life though a perfect body that they could design. *Spoiler alert* the movie ends with the protagonist destroying all surrogates and forcing the population to interact once again with their actual bodies. This pretty much summarizes my point about virtual realities; they are okay to visit every once in a while, but once you start to prefer your second life to your first one you have a problem and need to bring yourself back to reality, pun intended, pronto.

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