Friday, January 13, 2006

Nothing But 'Net 

An interesting consideration of online friends as "imaginary" courtesy of my blogexplosion battle opponent FyreGoddess. I've actually pointed out as much to my students, have encounted plenty of phenomenological ramifications, and concur with much of the good Goddess' assessment, however subjective the experiences that led us to this.

(In my case, one such experience involves my own joy and surprise at receiving a CD from a previously-online friend over the summer when I needed it most. Imaginary friends can't burn CDs, can they?)

The question of what is real, especially outside the self, has always been a fun one for phiosophers to toss around. Also true: the concept of "real" gets slippery in a half-virtual world. Rather than drag out the old college textbooks, it's worth pointing out that full participation in the world of textuality without tonality -- i.e. the half-there persona we see through the glowing screen -- requires clothing others with the imagination.

Everything from Trolling to the rapidity with which online folks tend to open their minds and hearts to each other comes back, ultimately, to the fact that we must clothe that username, that language, that origin, that other in some sort of self-generated humanity in order to make use of it. Even the tendency to forget that the global includes the local -- a fact that has caused much hot water for an unforgettable few of my blogging students over the years -- is merely risk and ramification of this absolutely vital approach to being, truly, digital.

On the other hand, the associated truth -- that those who are both most imaginative and most able to remember that it is their own imagination that clothes these online denizens are those who will ultimately be most successful in the online world -- makes me happy, too.

Other half-productive wandering today included a first-glance at Webster's new open-source space -- a nice healthy way of keeping language real and fluid from an otherwise traditionally high-culture source -- and a few turns tightening up entries on everything from old employers to fave cheesy fantasy author Lawrence Watt-Evans over at Wikipedia. An interesting pair, that. Gotta do something with all that time on my hands -- might as well add value to the universe.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:04 PM |

I suppose imaginary friends would have to use imaginary cd burners, and imaginary iTunes playlists... :-)
Wow, I only just came across this post. Thanks for the props, thanks for link, thanks for the validation. It's really only people who have explored online relationships who can really understand them, but at the same time, you have to have really explored real world relationships as well, which I think can be a difficult median to find.

Anyway, I'm glad to have battled with you and enjoy reading your blog as I come across it while voting in other battles.

Thanks again!

~FG };^>
Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening