Re: (>H) Virtual Reality & People

Dr. Rich Artym (
Sat, 28 Sep 1996 12:56:41 +0100

In message <>,
Sarah Marr writes:

> OK, so it's 2am-ish and I've just got back from a night out clubbing. And on
> the way home I was thinking: if I, er, 'physically interacted' with another
> person in a virtual world, but the experience was identical to the real
> world except that I _knew_ it was only virtual, would that lessen the
> experience?

I don't think it would --- we live inside our minds, as they say, and
our minds are good at compartamentalizing experiences. Furthermore,
remembered "real" experiences are often no more vivid than virtual ones,
while virtual experiences can be especially vivid and as pleasureable as
we wish them to be.

Here's a trivial little example than no doubt many have experienced:
you have a small drink and you turn on the CD player and you play some
of your favourite tracks, and if you got the timing right and all the
other unknowables are in sync then you experience a real high. You
know that the world hasn't suddenly become a nicer place, and you know
that the same tracks wouldn't give you a high without the drink, and
you know that the one drink wouldn't have any noticeable effect on you
normally, yet you *ENJOY* the high, immensely, despite knowing that it's
not based on anything beyond the bounds of your skull. The experience
was virtual (in at least one sense of the word) and you knew it, yet
that didn't lessen the experience.

(I know that this doesn't address the *exact* question you asked, Sarah,
but I think it's reasonably related in the sense that it is experienced
without any direct contact with the world outside our senses.)

OK, one example doesn't make much of a statistical population. Can
folks think of others that either support or deny the premise?


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