So I feel like I've been getting lost in kind of an interconnected web of ideas as I've been talking with fellow writers about their topics and how they all relate in so many different ways. But It's becoming very interesting, and I've had some very helpful comments and feedback. And I'm starting to hone in on something. Much of these interconnected discussions have been about the conflicts that are raised by new media: regarding its effects on politics, academia, social interactions, and individual identity. But what I would like to suggest is that these conflicts are not new. The digital medium is just that: another medium of expression and communication that we are painting our pre-existing human nature onto. It's making changes in the way the world works, but it's not changing our core nature, or making us less human or less engaged with reality.
The metaphysical implications of virtual reality were explored before the internet became truly universal (1993, in that hyperlink), and a non-physical world has for ages been something that humans used to introspect and define themselves. The Iroquois and the Maya used it. Borges' magician in the circular ruins used it, and in doing so, discovered his inherent nature (for better or worse). Like the magician, the protagonist of recent-cultural-phenomenon blockbuster "Avatar" lived in a different world while his body slept, and as a result, arrived at certain conclusions regarding his identity. Maybe we should go and watch this movie with these kinds of things in mind or something. Anybody have plans tonight?