Sunday, January 30, 2011

Home Sweet Virtual Village

I can’t begin to do justice to any detailed explanation of just what the heck the metaverse is. But this sort of limitation has never stopped me. I’m absolutely sparkling with energy whenever anyone mentions virtual worlds. We’ve had virtual worlds inside our heads since the evolution of the capacity for language. We live in worlds that we create in our heads. We build worlds from input from eyes, ears, interaction with others, and our own understanding of the world. It is that understanding that is so crucial to really “getting” the concept of virtual worlds.

Just think about how a single bit of knowledge can shift everything in our “real world.” While I have many difficulties with the reasoning behind such actions in this example, I think most contemporary women in the western world can completely understand how the knowledge of an affair by a husband or life partner changes everything. Most women cannot view anything through the same lens once an affair is disclosed.

Similarly the mind’s eye is shaped by our understanding of it. Knowing that our reality isn’t real, as in immutable, changes everything. A new world is evolving. The created world that each of us has in our head can not in the foreseeable future be shared, but mutual realities beyond what we share with our families and most intimate friends began in earnest with oral traditions that contained epic tales. This aspect of shared reality enjoyed another burst of punctuated evolution when fictionalized worlds created by writers climbed the various rungs of shared cultural fictions (drama – think Shakespeare, novels – think Dickens, broadcast media – radio, movies, television, internet.) And now we are coming into the another phase of internet media and one that very well may indicate a change in kind and not just quantity – one that allows vast communally development of ideas outside of the physical world. Single novels each created by thousands of people. Vast networks of women providing direct markets to other women and bypassing the male constrained economic and political systems that may limit their access traditional forms of capital resources and mobility but not their creativity and drive to innovation.

I see organizations that work with global women’s concerns and I see non-profits that help women’s organizations, but most of these seem to mirror the male conceptualizations of hierarchy, corporate structure and hyper-territoriality.

I want to find out what women can do if they build community based on their conceptualizations. The endeavor that I’m undertaking is not only for feminists, communists, anarchists, lesbians or any other stereotype that is often associated with uppity women. What would a women-oriented, women-conceptualized network look like? What would it do? How would it do it? Why would it do it? The only answer I have is that I can provide one node in the answer to “Where would it do it?”

My answer, "here."

-- first draft written in Jan. 2010 on another one of my blogs

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