"Virtuality", by David G. McDivitt

To: Egoism and Ethics Debate 
Subject: Re: Zeno
From: "David G. McDivitt" 
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 14:13:23 -0600

This is an interesting observation. Having been in computers a number of years, experiencing many systems, their data elements, and human interactions involving those data elements, I realize we do no more than make everything up as we go along. I feel these mental constructs are no more than an accelerated form of what mankind has been doing for thousands of years. Past civilizations did not have computers and keyboards. Instead, they used moral models. For this reason I feel men have always lived in virtual space. For any invention to be successful and enter widespread use, it must enhance some existent capability. Automobiles and cars enhance the desire to move around. Telephones enhance the desire to communicate. Television and movies enhance the desire for entertainment. Computers have enhanced the desire to virtualize, which in essence is further development of abstract ability.

"Physical" and "abstract" seem to represent boundaries within the same continuum. By reducing abstract qualities we seem to come upon physical attributes, but further reduction shows these physical attributes to be abstracts as well. Abstraction may represent the point where one enters analysis, and physical the point where one exits, having satisfaction. This would seem to hold true on any level. Any person can pick up what someone else did, and reduce further. This does not nullify what the other person did, but merely represents a different context, and different need.

This is why I don't marvel much at quantum mechanics. I fail to see how the pursuit, and answers obtained, are any different than what mankind has done before. It is the same quest for the physical, having begun with previously accepted abstraction. When finally we view what QM produces, how can it be seen as other than abstraction - the physical world in yet another abstract form?

I think the best answer is simply to view ourselves as virtual beings, interacting within whatever parameters afforded us by contemporary society. Do we assess past cultures critically? If so, we do it with the views of this culture, and we continue living in the present tense rather than the past. The past cannot be lived or experienced again. All we may have are opinions and fantasy, however supposedly true, but experienced now.

As soon as we come to grips with our virtual nature, we shall immediately evolve an order of magnitude from where we were. This is to understand the dualism of abstract versus physical, and no longer live with the impediment of having to always differentiate between the two.

To apply this, consider the difference it would have made in past cultures, had they not been so fixated on various ideals, and if they had not clutched reality so tightly. There is such fear of not being in control, and the incessant pursuit of reality is a quest for control. Why not just realize we make things up to suit our need? We must only recognize our need, and not supposed reality, which is an abstraction.

>From: "T. Harms"
>Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 16:29:16 -0800
>>Yours is a theory-laden interpretation
>That was good for a chuckle. As if there could be interpretations that
>*aren't* theory laden!
Subject: Re: Zeno
From: "David G. McDivitt" 
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 14:33:18 -0600

Since this is the "egoism" list, I wish to express that I experience my own virtualizations. If a robot or artificial intelligence can do the same, then so be it. It just so happens I am already doing that. Whether or not it is sanctioned by society, or I share in global consciousness cannot change the fact I do what I do, and wish to own it.

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