The use of computer hardware and software to create an artificial (i.e. ‘virtual’) environment.
The user normally enters the environment by wearing a headset that blocks normal vision. The environment is manipulated with an electronic glove – or a similar device – connecting the user to the computer.
The term has been traced back to the brilliant French playwrite Antonin Artaud who believed that the internal world of so-called fantasy and the imagination was just as real as the outside world.
This view parallels to some degree C. G. Jung’s reflections on the art of alchemy, where relationships with matter and particularly with other people are viewed as something analogous to chemical interactions. And the hypothesized Jungian dynamics of transference, counter-transference and especially syntonic counter-transference point in a similar direction.
Artaud’s understanding of virtual reality also touches on the notion articulated by John Donne that no man is an island–that is, neither distance nor even death entirely separates one individual from another.
No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
Virtual reality is having a significant impact on business, medicine and the entertainment industry, where virtual users enjoy, relax or express violent and sexual impulses in socially acceptable ways.
But not everyone sees it this way. Some say that violent virtual reality games should be reexamined in the event that they may promote rather than prevent actual violence.
This is a relatively familiar debate stemming back to the days before home computers. Before the PC the effects of violent TV shows, especially on children, were studied by researchers and public health officials.
Scientific and consumer watchdog concerns about public safety, however, have not deterred virtual reality from taking off. There’s always money to be made through the commodification of sex and violence and definite laws must be passed to regulate the process.
The idea of virtual reality also figures prominently in science fiction TV (e.g. Star Trek‘s holodeck) and movies like Total Recall (1990) and The Matrix (1999) where users enter computer generated worlds indistinguishable from day to day life.
Given the fact of today’s microchip implant technologies, these fantastic scenarios seem probable for the not too distant future.
» Burrows (William S.), Gould (Glenn), McLuhan (Marshall Herbert)
Add to this, report errors, suggest edits or voice your opinion by posting a comment
Posted on October 24, 2008, in V and tagged computers, hardware, jung, sci-fi, science fiction, sex, software, star trek, technology, violence, virtual reality. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.