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Scylla Rhiadra

Between the Desire and the Spasm

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/me adds an Agree, an Applaud, a respectfully muted Yay .. and a sincere Impressed by all the intelligent, well-read and carefully considered thinkers contributing to this thread.

.. 'nuff said.

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Great OP Scylla!  Having experienced some Slove, I'm inclined to agree with Ish.  Knowing too much can spoil the romance.  For example: I met an intriguing rogue at a jazz club back in my formative weeks in SL.  I was a newbie.  I hadn't worked out all the ramifications of actions in SL yet.  I was invited back to his place for a private dance and I was afraid to go.  He quite logically pointed out that I could TP away in a heartbeat or if that wasn't safety enough, there was the red box in the upper right hand corner of the screen, you know, the one with the X?  Still, I didn't go with him that night.  But we continued to type to each other for several weeks and eventually he talked me into voicing with him.  What a mistake!  The illusion in my mind of this personality on my screen did not match up with his voice at all.  Illusion shattered. Desire disappeared.  Romantic possibilities - nil.

I used to think that the internet was a way of meeting other minds on a level playing field. That you could know each other on a deeper level because of the lack of trimmings.  But now I think that when there is an absence of concrete values, we confabulate.  We fill in the backgrounds with what we want to see.  Now sometimes we manage to co-create a wonderful fantasy that is very vivid and immensely satisfying.  But it's important to know the difference between that wonderful fantasy and reality

 

 

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Scylla Rhiadra wrote:

I liked your discussion of love muchly, Carole. . . although I think I'd make some allowances for what Ishy says as well; as always, there is a sort of continuum on which these things run.

The thing is (*cough*), you're talking about "love," which is a word I pointedly didn't introduce into my OP. I was talking about "desire," which is far from being the same thing, I think. although the two can coincide (and maybe are often in conflict too).

What makes love so wonderful -- and it is
vastly
more important, at least in theory, than desire -- is that involves a sort of self-abnegaton, or even (to use Keats again) "negative capability."  You surrender part of yourself to one you love, and that has to include surrendering one's control over one's own desires. A really healthy love is probably the polar opposite of projection.

But desire, on the other hand, I see as expressive, forceful, wilful . . . and creative in a way that love isn't. It's somewhat solipsistic, certainly, and selfish, but for that reason all the more powerful.  It can also be enormously destructive, but then much art is.

It's an open question which of these two dominates relationships in SL, I suppose. For some, those willing to sacrifice part of themselves to a larger something, Love is probably what it's about. I suspect that these types tend to be some form of augmentationist, and that, for the love to flourish, it soon needs to lead out of SL and into RL.

But my own suspicion is that what we mostly see in SL is desire, because I think that the mechanisms of desire are built into the very premise of SL. If desire in SL is a form of projection, and therefore delusional . . . well, what in Second Life
isn't
?

Carole says (quickly, cause it's late and she has to go to bed):

I do take your point over the distinction. Really I do. But I think I rather agree with the other poster (Mailty - or something similar - apologies for massacring your name) who said that the two can't really be separated. To me, the desire part is the ante-chamber to love. I'm not sure how you can get to adult love without passing through that phase, nor can I imagine what you have if you only have desire without even the tiniest smidgeon of hope and expectation that it turns to something more important.

In SL in particular...with no bodies and few operative senses, I'm a bit confused over how you can even really talk about sexual attraction in the usual sense at all, when all the bits and bobs which give you sexual attraction just aren't present (you're not telling me you REALLY get turned on by a toon??? I don't believe that for a moment) and it all falls on something much more character/spirit-based anyway.

 eta - MAYALILY!!! THAT was the name! Sorrrrreeeee....

 

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No worries Carole!  Just call me Maya or May, either one is okay with me.

The the OP:  It sounds like you are frustrated.  Frustration comes from the amygdala too.  If you think you are frustrated, perhaps try to examine why?  If you examine why you are frustrated, it may help clear away what is frustrating you so that you can have a happier SL. 

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Dana Hickman wrote:

In "Our world, Our imagination", remaining a caterpillar is a perfectly viable means to obtain endings to many of our wants, because the entirety of SL exists within the caterpillar stage. Always searching, wanting, looking for something new to satisfy, someone new to bring us higher... it is the nature of this place. It is really only those who embrace the refocusing of their desire, transforming it into something greater that have the means to transcend this realm.


I particularly like what you say here, Dana, because I think that it is in the nature of desire, as you say, to continue to impel us  forward; I don't think that it is ever really possible to break that cycle, because even the fulfillment of desire is never final, but always triggers a new fantasy.  And as you say, I think that this is also part of the nature of Second Life.

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Maya, you are introducing both an ethical element into this discussion with the suggestion that "God" gave us desire towards the higher purpose of Love, and a scientific and almost evolutionist one with your location of this within a particular part of the brain.

I don't think that ethical questions are beside the point, but I personally don't think that there is an ethical "design" for desire.  For me, ethical considerations for design derive not from speculations about God's purpose, but rather from human constructions of ethical behaviour. In fact, being an agnostic, I think that "ethics" in general is an entirely "human" thing -- I'm afraid that I don't find "creation" or "nature" or whatever you want to call very ethically satisfying.

You seem to be implying that desire is somehow "illicit" or unjustifiable unless it is put to the cause of "Love," an argument that I don't really buy, and that hovers awfully close to the "sex outside of marriage" prohibition of certain religious groups. For me, ethics are determined largely by a consideration of "harm," and while I would certainly agree that "desire" can be harmful and destructive -- as can most human things -- I don't believe that it need be so. And if it is not, I see no reason to prohibit or proscribe it, even if not in the service of "Love." I think it is a powerfully creative force, especially when one's conduct under its influence is responsible. Far from being a "primitive" or "childlike" force, regardless of which part of the brain it comes from, I think it is probably responsible for much of what humanity has accomplished over the millenia in the way of art, science, and human culture. It is a vehicle for the imagination at the height of its powers, and that makes it, potentially, very creative indeed.

With regard to your later suggestion that I may be frustrated, please allow me to gently steer you away, again, from this kind of crudely biographical reading of my OP: I am in turn frustrated, desirous, aroused, disappointed, and all of those other things in both SL and RL, but so are most people, I suspect. This OP was not composed as a sort of personal complaint: it is, honestly and truly, neither more nor less than a sort of philosophical speculation.

And thanks, btw, for your thoughtful and articulate responses!

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

/me adds an Agree, an Applaud, a respectfully muted Yay .. and a sincere Impressed by all the intelligent, well-read and carefully considered thinkers contributing to this thread.

.. 'nuff said.

TY, Darrius.  And I agree entirely about the responses, which are indeed thought-provoking.

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Thanks Katt!

I agree entirely with everything you say, especially this:

 

"But it's important to know the difference between that wonderful fantasy and reality"

 

I think that making that distinction is indeed the difference between being "creative" and being "deluded."

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Thank you Tiffy for the blimey! 

I'd think SL is a lot like RL in this respect:  If we have desires in SL we need to get our goals in order to reach those desires and/or try to examine what is blocking us from reaching that/those goals. 

What brought me to frustration is that psychologists suggest that amygdala's response to frustration is:  I want what I want when I want it and I want it now.  That only leads to more frustration.  Setting mini goals can help alleviate that frustration.  SL/RL, when it comes to goals, sometimes we need to take what we call in America "baby steps" or "mini steps", maybe you call them that, too!  lol

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Carole Franizzi wrote:

 

Carole says (quickly, cause it's late and she has to go to bed):

I do take your point over the distinction. Really I do. But I think I rather agree with the other poster (Mailty - or something similar - apologies for massacring your name) who said that the two can't really be separated. To me, the desire part is the ante-chamber to love. I'm not sure how you can get to adult love without passing through that phase, nor can I imagine what you have if you only have desire without even the tiniest smidgeon of hope and expectation that it turns to something more important.

In SL in particular...with no bodies and few operative senses, I'm a bit confused over how you can even really talk about sexual attraction in the usual sense at all, when all the bits and bobs which give you sexual attraction just aren't present (you're not telling me you REALLY get turned on by a toon??? I don't believe that for a moment) and it all falls on something much more character/spirit-based anyway.

 eta - MAYALILY!!! THAT was the name! Sorrrrreeeee....

 

I'm not sure that love can exist without desire. It may depend upon the "kind" of love we are discussing.

I am quite sure, however, that desire can exist without love. And I think that I would probably argue that most (but not, of course all) that we have in Second Life falls under the first rather than the second rubric.

You ask whether it is possible to be sexually fulfilled -- or even merely aroused -- within Second Life, without aid from RL and the knowledge of the object of our desires that comes from an acquaintance of the reality of that object -- i.e., that there has to be a "real person" behind the fornicating cartoons.

In a rather obvious way, I could point to the prevalence of "casual sex" in Second Life -- I don't need to tell you that sex is big business here -- as rather self-evident proof that it is possible (even if it is not necessarily the case for you and I) to be "turned on" by cartoon sex. The proof is in the pudding, as they say: people go to enormous lengths to make their avatars sexy and attractive, and the SL Marketplace is replete with products that suggest that people do get something out of cartoony depictions of sexuality.

That would be only a half-answer, though. If we had nothing but the cartoons to rely upon for arousal, we would most of us remain pretty un-aroused.  But in a sense, the entire point of my argument is that the avatars, the animations, and the emotes are little more than the skeletons upon which we hang our fantasies. I think it is true that most "good" sex is also "brain" sex, at least as much the result of what we are thinking, and fantasizing about, as about the physiological effects of the rubbing together of body parts. Nowhere is this more true than in Second Life. And the sexy "clothing" of those rather silly avatars and those often crude animations is fleshed out by the colouring that desire -- or if you prefer, projection -- gives to them.

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Mayalily wrote:

Thank you Tiffy for the blimey! 

I'd think SL is a lot like RL in this respect:  If we have desires in SL we need to get our goals in order to reach those desires and/or try to examine what is blocking us from reaching that/those goals. 

What brought me to frustration is that psychologists suggest that amygdala's response to frustration is:  I want what I want when I want it and I want it now.  That only leads to more frustration.  Setting mini goals can help alleviate that frustration.  SL/RL, when it comes to goals, sometimes we need to take what we call in America "baby steps" or "mini steps", maybe you call them that, too!  lol

But what if it is only the "spasm" that one really wants, Maya?

Not everyone is here to find "love" or anything remotely as grandiose as that. In fact, most people, I suspect, don't want to go beyond the playing out of fantasy here.

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No, I said have a fling if you want.  I'm not going to judge you about your SL.  It's your life and your SL. 

However, aside from God (I believe in God) I believe I am introducing how our desires are filtered and complicated; however, I also believe we have desires to reach an end point or a goal that is and remains fulfilling.

 

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Mayalily wrote:

No, I said have a fling if you want.  I'm not going to judge you about your SL.  It's your life and your SL. 

However, aside from God (I believe in God) I believe I am introducing how our desires are filtered and complicated; however, I also believe we have desires to reach an end point or a goal.  

 

Can fantasy not exist for it's own sake, to be enjoyed in and of itself, without a larger end view? What if our goal is, as I say above, nothing more than the "spasm," or the enjoyment of an elaborate self-generated illusion that we also know to be illusion.

When I go see a play, I know it is an illusion -- otherwise, I'd be horrified by half of what happens on stage. I enjoy it because it is not real. Surely the same logic can apply to desire in SL?

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Okay I've eaten breakfast and gotten ready to head out the door.  I just might have time to try to answer this question, but only quickly.

Um, I guess so since some people don't believe in God, and since we cannot see God, some people believe he does not exist.  Therefore, some people believe God is a fantasy or a figment of someone's imagination for the people who do believe in God. 

However, I still don't see how a desire is not a means propelling that person towards something which is gratifying, fulfilling and sustaining. 

If the spasm is gratifying in and of itself and not hurting yourself (making you long for more only to find out you're fantasy has disappeared as the person changed their avatar the next time you log in, and poof in an instant, you SL fantasy is gone) than that should work for you. 

However, it's the chemistry of the communication and the visual that is stimulating and brings about desire imo in SL.  If you still have the communication but your visual is gone, I'd doubt you'd still have the desire for your fantasy avatar. 

I'm just kind of wondering why you are dreaming instead of doing?  What is the purpose of keeping an avatar fantasy that you are not even partnered too?  Why do you keep this fantasy even if it has poofed?

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"It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts... However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible...It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."

Albus Dumbledore could just as easily have been talking about Second Life.

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Scylla Rhiadra wrote:


Carole Franizzi wrote:

 

Carole says (quickly, cause it's late and she has to go to bed):

I do take your point over the distinction. Really I do. But I think I rather agree with the other poster (Mailty - or something similar - apologies for massacring your name) who said that the two can't really be separated. To me, the desire part is the ante-chamber to love. I'm not sure how you can get to adult love without passing through that phase, nor can I imagine what you have if you only have desire without even the tiniest smidgeon of hope and expectation that it turns to something more important.

In SL in particular...with no bodies and few operative senses, I'm a bit confused over how you can even really talk about sexual attraction in the usual sense at all, when all the bits and bobs which give you sexual attraction just aren't present (you're not telling me you REALLY get turned on by a toon??? I don't believe that for a moment) and it all falls on something much more character/spirit-based anyway.

 eta - MAYALILY!!! THAT was the name! Sorrrrreeeee....

 

I'm not sure that love can exist without desire. It may depend upon the "kind" of love we are discussing.

I am quite sure, however, that desire can exist without love. And I think that I would probably argue that
most
(but not, of course all) that we have in Second Life falls under the first rather than the second rubric.

You ask whether it is possible to be sexually fulfilled -- or even merely aroused -- within Second Life, without aid from RL and the knowledge of the object of our desires that comes from an acquaintance of the reality of that object -- i.e., that there has to be a "real person" behind the fornicating cartoons.

In a rather obvious way, I could point to the prevalence of "casual sex" in Second Life -- I don't need to tell you that sex is big business here -- as rather self-evident proof that it is possible (even if it is not necessarily the case for you and I) to be "turned on" by cartoon sex. The proof is in the pudding, as they say: people go to enormous lengths to make their avatars sexy and attractive, and the SL Marketplace is replete with products that suggest that people do get something out of cartoony depictions of sexuality.

That would be only a half-answer, though. If we had nothing
but
the cartoons to rely upon for arousal, we would most of us remain pretty un-aroused.  But in a sense, the entire point of my argument is that the avatars, the animations, and the emotes are little more than the skeletons upon which we hang our fantasies. I think it is true that most "good" sex is also "brain" sex, at least as much the result of what we are thinking, and fantasizing about, as about the physiological effects of the rubbing together of body parts. Nowhere is this more true than in Second Life. And the sexy "clothing" of those rather silly avatars and those often crude animations is fleshed out by the colouring that desire -- or if you prefer, projection -- gives to them.

Love without desire? Certainly, it exists. It's the love of friends, of parents for their children and what you hope will occur once the intial buzz wears off in a romance (some claim it transforms into something of a higher nature, but I shan't get into that here) as I rather get the impression desire doesn't last for decades.

Desire without love? Indeed. However, I remain convinced that beneath the undercurrents of desire lies the hope that love lies in wait. The antics you are perhaps referring to on SL are of another nature altogether I think, though. The other person is just an accessory to what is most definitely a solitary pursuit. Only a sliver more interactive than a porn mag or flick...but really not at all redolent of desire for another specific human being. The cartoon sex is just a minor prop - a toy - uhm...as desirable as those accutrements you can buy in certain types of adult shops for when you wish to amuse yourself (speaking in careful euphemisms here...PG and all that...) but has ziltch to do with truly desiring another human being.

This is what I think, anyway.

 

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Poe try! Hey! Cool.

The Everlasting Voices

"O SWEET everlasting Voices, be still;
Go to the guards of the heavenly fold
And bid them wander obeying your will,
Flame under flame, till Time be no more;
Have you not heard that our hearts are old,
That you call in birds, in wind on the hill,
In shaken boughs, in tide on the shore?
O sweet everlasting Voices, be still. "

 

he even wanted the nice one to shut up and be dead...hence the heaven bit. Yeah, he was trying to be nice but secretly wanted to kill them...right? Nah, but who cares. I will label him a murderer with restraint anyway. Yeah, this is the intelectual stuff peole miss all the tie! Yeats wanted to bludgen or otherwise send voices to heaven, but then played all nice and faked it all up with some kind of stuff about begging them to be still. Like, dead still. OR, he wanted them to ferment corn!? ;)

Me? I am not as crude as this man, no need to hide it. I wish the voices would just kill each other and die and leave the wold and it's brains alone...but you all will most likely still remain under thier control, beckoning to thier communications, even if not known. Sad, but maybe not all of you...so there is still hope some semblence of humanity will survive to pour over Yeats works...or even beavis and butthead. Another fine set of poets!

"Today we're going to explore the world of hiku."
"We're going to explore the world of getting high?  Cool!"
"No, beavis, not *high* *cool*, hiku--the haunting japanese form of 3
line poetry."
        Beavis & Butthead

Butthead, a scolar! Who knew!

 

EDIT: didn't anyone notice the OP is calling someone a spaz and wishes to look down at them from her "lofty" position and so on? I mean, if you take into account the odd odd usage of the word spasm....but I am not really digging into this post so much! Surely someone else is more well equiped with higher mental abilities and so on...right?

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I guess since I posted off topic I should redeem myself, and also remind anyone thinking this is a poetry thread.blah blah. yeah....

Desire, love and romance are all figments. Once I figure out how to understand the purpose of figments, then the purpose will be clear. Until then, I might have to study some other things. I have a whole thing in my mind about cyborgs and CMOS chips! Yeah, boring stuff...but bateria cyborgs can be cool as well....I am just not sure what advertising was trying to tell me that the scolar papers just don't really seem to communicate to me with big huge pictures and 3 words that barely form a sentence, but sure do get my attention.

Bacteria can make your games faster...yeah, something like that would have made sense. Then some little pictures with little bacterias with working hard, throwing little chunks of information....yeah, that might be it. But I don't know, they all say so much that I have to read to try and undertand and I can't get it all. Desire...who needs it, I think we need more time away from all the noise and should slow down because society can't figure out what it wants to do but to just do stuff, anything, and amuse themselves or continue on some usage that enhances the same old stuff they had in caves!

 Which brings me back to the whole desire thing. We can do the whole love thing already (ok, that doesnt' sound right..uh...that is NOT a solicitation! ) so....look deeper, further, under, over...to the area...yeah, maybe there...um, OK under and hang a left then a right and go forward a bit past the mail box...yeah, maybe there to. I mean, MORE social stuff so people can say who they are, say look at them and try to swap fliuds or otherwise 'mingle' in some way. Ametuers! People have done this for thousands of years! I want to see people build pyraminds....with robots and stuff...ON MARS! Until then, seriously, this sorry dirt ball will die..yeah, Yeats will be unread to! Alians will never understand us due to lack of meta tags. I am so disgussted...NOT METATAGS FROM ME! Ok, I lied...I did add some a few times. I also might have to mark up a data base for a HUGE secret project that will change the face of my...well, my note stack! Yes, this to will maybe get lost. I would need to get a HUGE telescope and start looking for all these flying rocks myself or something? Comeon, more robots on the job please! We need more robots, we will die with a lack of htem...so what is with all this stuff about smart people doing liberal arts or arts? The robots don't need this so much, they need pepole to scientifically study art, shape, color and vectors!!! We need more math, MORE ALGEBRA AND CALULUS! I mean, CULCULUS! Yeah. MOre math. MATH OR DIE!

um....ok, now time to go fry cornflakes. Chow...I mean, Cioa...Ciao? CHEeoww

/me huffs and puffs swinging fat arms around rotund rolls in a bee line towards the kitchen, one soft fat cushioned step at a time.

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knife as iin cutting the canvas or the painters knife, used for cutting, smearing and so on the paint....usually something thick either way. Well, not saying cutting a canvas with a pocket knife is not artisticly allowable, who am I to say...but destruction of the image might be what you meant...thought I assume you mean adding definition, texture or depth that might pull away from impression...then again, I lost track of what I was reading and thought you meant cut up the picture and remembered bob ross and his happy trees!

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