Living in a Virtual Reality


Marc Jacob's Zombie models on Tumblr

On-line dating, webcam chats, video dating, facebook, tumblr, myspace, bebo, speed dating, chat rooms, blogs, twitter, the list goes on…..these things have become our reality, our ‘virtual’ reality. Social sites are in fact far from social, they are an isolated pastime, a simulation.

There is even something called, ‘virtual dating’ which uses Avatars (graphical representation of the users) for people to interact in a virtual venue, like a romantic café in Paris. But why would anyone want to date a cartoon character? It is part of our humanity to evolve through human interaction and exploration of the natural world. We need genuine warmth and affection – love in the sun, not on the net.

In cyberspace, it is easy to create a persona and a life that is picure perfect and quite dazzling. So, you can set up a facebook page with photos airbrushed in photoshop and then add images that are glamorous and racy to create a in-credible illusion of your life. Dating sites offer the same trap, a profile that portrays a pseudo person. You can be anyone you want over the world wide web.

And there is a dangerous side to dating a virtual stranger. Recently, a woman in America sued the dating site Match.com for $10m because she was matched with a murder suspect who brutally attacked her.

We are swimming against a tsunami. For within this graphic game world we are trying to become more real, more natural and more normal. These sites encourage us to create an enormous ego personality, but what we want is to crack the ego and embrace our shadow to tame and heal it, not give it free rein to run wild.

Morose looking models with painted, pouting faces adorn the pages of the social networking site Tumblr. These images, romanticise depression and eating disorders, portraying them as rather exotic. But most depression is the dark forces pushing, and eating disorders are an illusion of the ego and its image of itself, related to the desire to be something that you’re not.

Gradually these complaints become self-perpetuating, so anorexic behaviour, or over eating, becomes addictive, so while it may start out in the psychology of a person, it becomes gradually physiological, you build a residual self image.

So far has this simulated virtual world gone, that some children can’t ask each other to dance at a school disco unless they have a mobile phone to text and ask for a dance.

It’s time to get off our computers, embrace our friends, grab our pets and head for the hills for a little while, to feel the wind on our faces and the sun on our skin, to bathe in a river and sing to the stars. Let’s get real.

 

© Stuart Wilde 2013 – www.stuartwilde.com

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