Saturday, August 25, 2007

48 Are we living in "The Matrix"?

Message no. 48 Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 6:14pm Subject: Are we living in "The Matrix"?

Plato wrote that we perceive reality as if watching shadows on the wall of a cave. He felt that reality was something that would always remain hidden, like mysterious dancers who gyrated behind us around a campfire, while we were bound in chairs facing the wall and could only see their shadows, doomed to figuring out what the real substance of the three dimensional figures might be by examining only their opaque two dimensional forms. Other philosophers have given us the metaphor of blind men each feeling only one part of an elephant -- trunk, body, legs -- and declaring it to be a hose, a clay wall, a tree trunk.

In the early 1990's science fiction author Neil Stephenson wrote a classic "cyber-punk" novel of speculative fiction, peering into the near future, called "Snow Crash". It the book he predicted the creation of a virtual universe called "The Metaverse" where human consciousness inhabits on-line avatars who interact and live out their dreams in a cyberspace virtual world that feels more real than real.

The beginning of the 21st century saw the convergence of philosophical musings, computer technology and popular culture in the creation of the film series "The Matrix".

Now the metaverse, a pre-matrix technology, has become real, with the creation of "Second Life. We must ask ourselves, "what will the consequence of these virtual environments be on the psychology of our behavior?"

We, the students of Environmental Psychology, are the ones who must strive to answer this question, for we have taken on the task of understanding how environment and behavior interrelate.

Here is the place to post your musings and thoughts about this topic!

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