[-empyre-] FW: VII Place and topos
agora158 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 12 10:55:22 EST 2012
Hi Jon, as I told you I was for some years a "hard core gamer", it
means I played Ultima Online and Everquest for many years. I never did
the exodus to WoW since I found it deja vu in many senses.
And I never played any magic characters, I played traditional warrior
types or shaman/healers. For the shaman/healers and for all the magic
characters was crucial to find some objects to perform some rituals,
herbs to heal, swords of power to conquest the entry to some hidden
place, crosses to perform resurrections, grials to drink holy water to
be accepted in some guilds, the list is interminable.
But very few of these games took the magic or the alchemistic
processes deeply serious, it was mostly the mimicry of some mundane
But it was an authentic need in all people I met online to merge with
it's avatar, to trascend the boundaries of our human bodies and be
able to crawl, fly, runm with the horses, be inmortal.
A mixture of Achilles and Gilgamesh, passing Sigfried and Arthur,
Merlin and Morgane la Fay :)
On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 9:29 PM, Jonathan Marshall
<Jonathan.Marshall at uts.edu.au> wrote:
> 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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> — Leonardo da Vinci
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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth
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will always long to return.
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