[-empyre-] FW: VII Place and topos

Jonathan Marshall Jonathan.Marshall at uts.edu.au
Fri Oct 12 10:29:03 EST 2012

Hi Ana

One of the things i've tired to work through, without any great success is the relationship between the virtual and magic and alchemy (which seem to shade into the religious). The connection seems marked in the use of terms whose power is marked but hard to hold, in struggles between binaries taken as real, in the ascription of powerful affects beyond those generally observed, of transformations, of the spirit, of dismbodiedness and so on. Ultiatly Of mystery, and of Being.

Clearly i think that we have to admit that it is relatively easy for some humans to enter altered states of consciousness (pleasure and pain) which somehow seem better or more real than their normal states, but which are rarely easy to describe, when you are in a more mundane state, so that it is obvious to others they are superior . 

clearly there is also a way in which these states can be triggered when online, or gazing at a screen (even a cinema screen if we are to believe older film critics) and possibly they can be triggered reading books - so there is something about the ways we overwhelm our normal senaory apparatus with (for want of a better term) imagined senses, or the suppression of sense, which leads us to feel somewhere else, or in some different space.  Obviously again drugs and meditation can sometimes do this as well.

Returning to the original mail, the place as topos can seem to do this as well. In that sense the imagined or 'defined' or 'signposted' becomes real, and evokes the feelings associated with that reality, so that we don't just say 'Oh cybermind has been said to be like a livingroom, so i will logically, behave like it was a living room', but that the online space implicitly and subliminally opens into something like a living room party, and the behaviour we employ seems natural, even though we might deny it *was* a living room or a party.  Similarly, i think people can somtimes nowadays see films as classify them as virtual or unreal, and not respond as if they were endorsing or witnesses something which has happened and which they might otherwise find abhorent.  That engages with bigger questions about the purpose of media and art....

but there is also a sense in which magic seems to be opened when something is unfamiliar, as we reach to encompass what we perceive and feel that is beyond what we can place into known 'concrete' signifiers. 

Thus, (and of course this is a guess) in its early days virtual love appears/is more powerful. It ends as we move towards regularising it, or it moves to an end the more we do it with others.  In either case ends because it becomes conventional and tested, it no longer opens to the 'altered states'....


From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Ana Valdés [agora158 at gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, 11 October 2012 9:55 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] FW: VII Place and topos

I don't remember now if it was Hal Foster who wrote a book when he
compared the cyberspace and the feelings experimented when people were
navigating the early caves with gloves and helmets with the feelings
and impressions experimented by the Christian mystics in the Middle
He (I am not sure if it was Foster but it don't really matters) read
the books written or dictated by Teresa of Avila and John of the
Cross, maybe the two best writers from that time. And they were
describing their religious extas and their visions and their
exultation when they left the physical body in terms very similar to
the terms people using virtual prothesis and navigating a 3d landscape
And the same I can relate to speaking about death and mourning and
love. I fell in love with another avatar and we carried on a
"disembodied" relationship during a time, maybe a year. At the end we
started to call each other by phone, he lived in Miami I lived in
After a while the whole thing ebbed out because now it was a "normal"
relationship and it was distance and we were so different and so on...
The thing making the relationship was the disembodying...



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