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Virtual objects - just as emotionally or symbolically valuable as physical things in the world?


MargieG
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Hello again - hopefully not bombarding you SL readers out there. This question is a bit philosophical and please feel free to think through the differences between the virtual (representational) object and the things we touch and feel in RL. Do you feel differently about them? Are they equally valuable to you in terms of your identity or how you want others to see you? How you want to be remembered? Take me through your thoughts as I am fascinated. MargieG

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if one invests time in creating something, be it virtual or real, it has an emotional connection just as a painter's work of art does. it goes to your identity, it tells a tale about you.

did the mona lisa mean anything to da vinci? if he had painted it in photoshop and uploaded it to sl would it have had less meaning for him? probably not.

sl is just a medium of expression. so what ever self expression means to a person, sl will roughly follow the same emotional course.

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On the shelf here I have my grandfather's bible.  I can open it up and look at the fading letters, in pencil, on the first page; a gift from his father to him on his eighth birthday.  The cover is worn from years of handling; the binding is failing on certain groups of pages so you have to be careful with them, the onionskin slightly rough and pleasantly crinkly under your fingertips as you turn the pages, seeing sure and certain typesetting printed in ink on those pages during a different time and place in history, probably close to a hundred years ago now.

Then I picked up my Kindle and .... well, it's a Kindle.  Might need to charge the battery later.

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Point taken. Let me try to stay on topic better and perhaps give the op the emotional depth she inquires about.

So my guess would be that the OP would like to know of you in how much impact a replica of said bible into SL ( handcrafted and textured by yourself), would have on an emotional level compared to it' s original : would you  use it merely symbolically in SL or would the object itself have more value than other objects in SL you owned ?

/me clears his trashcan inworld meanwhile.

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Y'know, I think I'm going to leave you in my will, Bouttime.  :smileywink:  Here in its case I have a 1990 Martin D-18, solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides in relatively good condition.  A few dings here and there and some wear from being played.

I also have an SL virtual acoustic guitar that, when clicked, plays the first thirty seconds of Evanescence's 'Bring Me To Life'.  Sometimes you have to reset the scripts and make sure to turn up your gestures volume or you can't hear it.

Which would you prefer?

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That's an interesting point of view, but I strongly feel that any digital copy of a real world item will never come close to having the same emotional attachment as the original, no matter how much time is spent on the reproduction; a digital reproduction cheapens it.  Like Bouttime's reference to the Mona Lisa being done in Photoshop, I think it comes down to uniqueness, one-of-a-kind as opposed to a digital copy.  And no matter how unique it is, it's still not real.

Kind of like the argument for online music theft/piracy: you have a car in your driveway.  If someone steals your car, it's gone.  If someone pirates your car, it's still there in the morning.

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the one that represents you best, not the one that has the most monetary value or better use.

do i want some lamp you bought at walmart or some kooky thing you made in sl that reminds me of your spirit?

you mean someone can't make art in sl that means more to them than this keyboard i'm typing on?

come on now, i know you understand my point.

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I do understand your point.  The problem is SL (and other digital mediums) are about as indestructable as an image scratched onto the screen of an Etch-a-Sketch; one bump and it's all gone.  If I'd want to have something to remind me of you, it'd better be something I can place on my shelf twenty years from now, and yes, that includes some tacky lamp you bought from Wal-Mart that the dog accidently chewed on for an afternoon.  :smileywink:

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Bouttime Whybrow wrote:

BTW the mona lisa is not real. it is just paint on a canvas.

True enough.  The thing is, the artist took some time, and skill, and devotion, and applied and rearranged that oil and color with brushes and fingertips to create something new that didn't exist before.

The difference is, when you turn the lights off, it's still there.

EDIT: and before this suddenly turns into a discussion on the nature of human existence and Schrodinger's cat, I'll excuse myself from this thread and pretend to go do some laundry.

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so i guess the blood sweat and tears i put into my work hardly means anything.

maybe if i made a digital movie instead of digital clothes then that would mean something, but then i would need something to play it on, so yeah the home movies of my dear departed grand pappy aren't really worth much since they aren't real.

 

sorry if i sound sarcastic, i'm trying to work on that (seriously).

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I suppose I have an emotional attachment to some of the things I've made for myself, even if they're not particularly wonderful compared to some of the things made by other people.  Other than that, virtual things are important to me when I'm in SL, but I hardly ever give them any thought when I'm not logged in!

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Sarcasm is good.  Healthy, even.  :smileytongue:

I read somewhere that, as a rule of thumb, data doesn't exist until it's stored in at least three separate places (the more durable and backward/forward compatible the better).  Home movies are an excellent example, and hopefully we've all converted and saved them from slides or film to VHS to DVD to iPhone whatever the next format will be.  But if the chain is broken, then yes, they cease to exist.

SL is the Etch-a-Sketch.  The image on it is your hard work.  LL is the Yugo giving you a ride on a washboarded dirt road.

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so if data is only stored in one location, how does it get categorized, as only being 1/3 in existence? lol

when the decay of time renders the mona lisa a pile of dust the chain will be broken.

gone with the wind isn't really a classic and doesn't really move anyone emotionally and if i go deaf then music inherently has no emotional value even tough i can hear the tune in my head or envision some outfit i made for sl. surely this cannot be.

i'm actually not sure what your argument is. anything can have emotional value. like a sunset.

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Bouttime Whybrow wrote:

so if data is only stored in one location, how does it get categorized, as only being 1/3 in existence? lol

when the decay of time renders the mona lisa a pile of dust the chain will be broken.

gone with the wind isn't really a classic and doesn't really move anyone emotionally and if i go deaf then music inherently has no emotional value even tough i can hear the tune in my head or envision some outfit i made for sl. surely this cannot be.

i'm actually not sure what your argument is. anything can have emotional value. like a sunset.

I agree with you, Bouttime. Most everything is ephemeral. What's important is simply whether the thing, be it an idea, a memory, an experience or a physical object, has value to us. I have seen the Mona Lisa with my own eyes. It was nice, but not as nice as the simple watercolors my Father painted while in the Navy during WWII. And those watercolors are not nearly as valuable to me as my memories of sitting with him on the beach as he told me of the strange people who lived over the Lake Michigan horizon, eating popcorn with forks.

I think that what devalues objects today, whether virtual or physical, is the sheer abundance of them. I might make the same arguments about friends in the age of facebook ;-)

And as for sarcasm, it is easily produced, narrowly focused and often destructive. Though tempting, it is ultimately of little value. But thankfully there is satire, which requires skill and effort and attempts to illuminate... to elicit change. There are not enough places to store bits of sarcasm to make them "real". But one good bit of satire can ripple on for ages.

 

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In the example given of the bible of course the RL bible is more 'valuable on a number of different levels because it is an object with a direct connection to a grandparent who held it and wrote in it.  Virtual representations of the mundane things that surround us in RL may not be valuable in the long run, however there are a lot of things created in SL that could only exist in the digital world that qualify as art. 

The answer on its value depend on if you feel digital media is a legitimate media for creative expression.  Is a Buddhist sand painting that is constructed and then destroyed immediately any less art than a painting?  If so, why do so many art museums invite them to create them as part of an exhibit?

Examples of what has been or will be created here could still exist for a long time in the future. Nothing in this world lasts but who is to say what will be here a thousand years from now.?  I doubt the cave artists of prehistoric time using charcoal from their fires to draw on the walls ever thought that it would still be here and admired thousands of years after it was put there.  After all they'd seen that rain could wash away charcoal in one good storm.

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I believe that everything, be it physical or electronic can hold value for people-or a person. It depends entirely upon the item, and the people/person in question.

Some of my works-even long before I came to sl-are digitaland they hold a tremendous amount of value for me. Not just because of what they are, but also because of what they represent, the feelings and emotions they bring about and even how they came to be in the first place. I don't expect anyone else to agree or even understand. In fact, it would likely be quite odd for someone else to understand. It's a very personal thing. Our emotions that is. They are dependent upon us, as individuals, to exist and they really can't be replicated(though multiple things can bring them to the surface, the exact emotion, or set of emotions and feelings, is never really duplicated).

I have digital versions of some very personal things in sl, as well as elsewhere on the www. Things I've recreated from my childhood, from less happy times in my life, from happier times in my life even. Things I've recreated from the days when my children were younger-which really aren't too far off, my kids aren't too old, lol. They are very real to me. Not because I can physically touch them, but because of how they came to be, and what they represent. Others may laugh, and disagree with my thoughts on the matter, but i don't mind. I'm not ashamed that non-physical items hold such value for me. In fact, in some cases, I'm rather proud that these things can invoke such feelings, ones that at least at one time, were quite hidden.

Bottom line a digital rose can hold as much value for someone as an earth-bound physical rose. It doesn't have to, and it most certainly won't for everyone, but it definitely can. It's my opinion that we don't get to determine this, for others. We can only determine worth and value(of anything) for ourselves. Much in the same that no two people see beauty the same, no two people really see value, and worth, the same. It doesn't have to be a physical object for this to be true.

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Janelle Darkstone wrote:

 

Of course, if you had a virtual vase, and took a screenshot, and printed it out, and framed it and hung it on the wall?  That's a step in the right
.

Ok, but try this idea on for size... My wife got me a vintage 1960s autoharp for xmas.  I certainly enjoy that instrument in RL, of course.  Now with my guitars, harp, oud, etc.. it was fairly easy to find something at least close in SL.  But I couldn't find an autoharp on the marketplace.

So I took a digital photo of the RL instrument and used it as a guide for building the basic shape out of prims and then spent some time with art software making a texture (since the actual pic didn't look all that good as a texture) and used that to skin it with.  Then I taught myself how to use qavimator enough to make an animation for holding it and playing it.    I didn't put scripted music in it because I wanted it to use as a prop for when I play the real instrument live for friends or my own enjoyment.

But since that's kind of backwards of the process you described, does that make it a step in the wrong direction?  :matte-motes-wink:

Not that I disagree with your point.  Not at all.  I made myself the SL item because the RL item is important to me, and I wanted to have some form of it in SL.  The pixel version is a symbol that allows the RL instrument to be with me in SL, sorta. It would upset me more if something bad happened to the RL instrument than the SL version of it.  So I'd have to agree with Janelle on the RL objects being the more important.  But the SL instrument is important to me in it's way, and seeing it or playing it reminds me of the things I learned in order to be able to have it.  That's a harder quality to evaluate.

So re-routing to the OP's question.. At least for me, some items in SL are sort of an extension of RL objects so I have them when I'm in SL.  But then there's also items like spaceships, sailing ships and airplanes where I don't have anything like them in RL, and I'm only likely to ever own them in SL.  I think of those as "mine" too, in a different sense.  When a virtual object is all you have of something, then it's perhaps a bit more important. But the pixel versions and objects are a lot more replaceable, even though they maybe have more risk of getting lost to a computer glitch or whatever.  I'd say though that it's at least hypothettically possible that someone might find some virtual objects as valuable as some physical objects in the world. 

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

In the example given of the bible of course the RL bible is more 'valuable on a number of different levels because it is an object with a direct connection to a grandparent who held it and wrote in it.

Don't confuse the message with the medium. There’s something nostalgic or cool about the old way of doing things. Like a guy that collects vinyl records or vintage Atari video games.

The message is the connection with another mind. We seek to connect with people in a meaningful way. Bukowksi's words have an impact on me whether I read them on a Kindle or in a cheap paperback I bought secondhand.

The bible is important because it represents the connection between grandparent and grandchild. I can read Emerson and connect with the thoughts of a man that lived more than a century ago. I can read the bible and channel the thoughts of people who lived thousands of years ago, no matter if on a computer or in an ancient book.

It's the message not the medium. Some people just get very attached to the medium in which the message was delivered. What's your message? That's what I want to know about you. Send it by IM, email, post a letter, paint a photo, sing me a song, I don't really care.

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I've been thinking about getting an autoharp.  :smileytongue:  And I like the example of musical instruments in general because you know as well as I or anyone does, that having a real instrument in your hands makes all the difference in the world when it comes to playing.  Using the mouse or keyboard keys to press keys on a virtual piano comes nowhere close to having a decent, full-sized keyboard with pressure sensitive weighted keys, or feeling the warmth and vibration in your bosom of a good acoustic over pointing and clicking a virtual guitar on the screen.

But I was thinking about objects today.  I used to play EverQuest a long time ago, and one of the great achievements was undertaking a class-specific "epic" quest to earn one's epic weapon.  The memories of investing so much time and effort, asking guildies for help, the feeling of triumph when I had finally succeeded and wielded my new weapon proudly.  I don't play my character anymore and the weapon is long gone, so I don't put much value in it as much as the fond memories of the friends that helped me get there.

The virtual object itself has no value to me.  Memories and addresses, phone numbers and friendships of some of my old guildies, however, does, and that's about as real as anything that can come from a virtual world.

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