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29 March 2009

I'm almost 100% an observer now; whereas in the past my core passions were painting, reading, live performance, laughing, building, dancing, sheer physical exuberance, and observation, I'm down to one: observation. It's ok, I suppose, although being an observer and not a participant is excruciating and perhaps gives one a slanted view that's not terribly useful. On the other hand it's always interesting to look at things from strange viewpoints, plus it's all there is, heh.

It's obvious now that virtual reality is influencing reality a great deal, and in a positive way. I did used to wonder years ago if people who first learned to drive inside virtual reality would have subconsciously-held beliefs like "it's not real" that carried over into reality because they would be sitting in a seat looking at a screen - however that isn't apparent to me. What is apparent is a license to play that, once acquired in VR, is not revoked for just plain R. That's good.

The other thing has to do with social media. Because I grew up in a time of centralised information dispersal I used to think that things like, say, blogging, shattered and dispersed the ancient juggernauts that had always existed. Taking a longer picture, though, I can see that what social media really has done is allow people to go back to the old information-sharing processes of tribe and village. It was the juggernauts which were artificial, not the blogs and twittering and whatnot.

It has a parallel in the DIY movement in indie music. A hundred years ago I enjoyed seeing Calvin and Candice, who started K Records, mailing out cassettes of music that went around the world to fans who had picked it out of a crude catalog. K was operating outside the realm of the taste-setting music juggernauts, celebrating the small, the niche market, the raw. What was only possible in a small way then has become possible on a global-ish scale now. It was easy to see even back then that what was going on was not a change in what-had-always-been but an edging closer to ordinary people making music for other ordinary people, the goal being live music for everyone, and not a central recording industry spitting out copies of the same song to be consumed by millions.

I think most people have been at a job or in another situation where gossip runs rampant. I certainly have, but my response (partially because I was brought up to know how to keep my mouth shut) was just to never tell secrets. I've been in trouble more than once for knowing something but never saying a word - not a very common thing. The more social human trait is to speak and receive gossip and let the chips fall where they may. Information became centrally dispersed because the power-wielders could make it so, but then it became useful in some cases because the central source was trusted (say, The Times in 1920). Once the central sources became less trust-worthy there was nothing compelling holding that artificial net together and people were free to revert to an older model. I don't see it as better, necessarily, but as they say, a change is as good as a rest.

posted by - 11:42 AM

Yep! You are a good observer.
Though you are mainly observing, I observe that you are still creating content for us VR weirdos.

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