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The Eternal Myth

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Eternal Myth

    According to George Berkeley, an Irish Philosopher of 17th century, things exist only if they have on observer. If there are no observers, nothing exists! George Berkeley was one of the three most famous eighteenth century British Empiricists He is best known for his motto, esse is percipi, to be is to be perceived. He was an idealist. According to him, everything that exists is either in a mind or depends for its existence upon a mind. He was an immaterialist as he believed that matter did not exist. He accepted the seemingly outrageous position that ordinary physical objects are composed solely of ideas, which are inherently mental. He wrote on vision, mathematics, Newtonian mechanics, economics, and medicine as well as philosophy. In his own time, his most often-read works concerned the medicinal value of tar-water. And in a curious sense, he was the first great American philosopher.

    Why am I now dragging Berkeley into a blog? Because I am amazed how beautifully his theory describes the cyber world characters! We interact almost on a daily basis with so many persons here without knowing who or what they really are. We laugh with them, share a lot of our inner secrets with them, get angry with them, feel annoyed with them, feel lost without them! It defies all known precepts of human behaviour that we feel so strongly for people who we dot not know, may never meet and may as well be from outer space! In fact, in extreme cases, our feelings for these cyber world people are much stronger than what we feel for our close kith and kin. Yes, they exist in our mind and fit into the description of Berkeley. They are of a highly complex character as each one of us perceives them differently.

    Let’s get back to Berkeley. Like most philosophers of the period, Berkeley seems to assume that touch provides immediate access to the world. Visual ideas of an object, on the other hand, vary with one’s distance from the object. As one approaches a tower one judges to be about a mile away, “the appearance alters, and from being obscure, small, and faint, grows clear, large, and vigorous”. The tower is taken to be of a determinate size and shape, but the visual appearance continually changes. How can that be? Berkeley claims that visual ideas are merely signs of tactile ideas. There is no resemblance between visual and tactile ideas. Their relationship is like that between words and their meanings. If one hears a noun, one thinks of an object it denotes. Similarly, if one sees an object, one thinks of a corresponding idea of touch, which Berkeley deems the secondary (mediate) object of sight. In both cases, there are no necessary connections between the ideas. The associative connection is based on experience.
    .

    Experience is the key word here. The cyber world people are seen by us through the window through which they present themselves. We know of them only as they project themselves. Barring a few, everyone here is a delightful character and I am often left wondering if everyone is only as close to his projected image, how jolly a place this world will be! Characters who keep fighting with everyone around them in their real life are so funny, realistic, suave and so light hearted in the cyber world. People who fight with everyone in the chat rooms are in real life so soft spoken who will not say boo to a lamb! In almost all cases, the cyber world has come to be regarded as a place where it is so easy to lose your identity and thereby becomes an ideal world where you can live a life of your own choice particularly when the real life is at great variance with the desired one. It is a world where you can make people believe that you are what you make yourself appear to be which in real life is so damn difficult. It is a world where perception is the name of the game
     
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  2. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,
    I happened to read this thread - to be very frank, I wondered how any of your thread could fail to elicit a response & read it !
    I, with my limitations, have nothing to comment upon the first para - it is one shade better than Greek & Latin to me !
    I fully enjoyed the rest of the post. I too find the cyberworld, very fascinating. It is very probable, that even if we live in the same city, we may not ever meet ! But, strangely, the urge to meet is not high, because the interactions give you so much of warmth and pleasantness very often. I think the charm will be lost on meeting the person in flesh and blood ! There may not be any connection at all, whatsoever between the real person and the person, we have imagined in our minds. We laugh with them, we cry with them, very often with a lurking suspicion at the back of our mind whether we are getting too close with them emotionally without even knowing the gender of the person; but still we go ahead, at times baring ourselves to them if we find an emotional anchor in them.
    Yes, we love to project ourselves as Mr or Ms Perfect - perhaps, an inner desire in us manifests itself thus ! Very often, when I get flattering F B s, I imagine, what a hearty laugh Vish will have if he reads them, knowing me fully well ! Ofcourse, I manage them out of his sight, is a different matter.
    There is real pleasure in losing your identity sometimes, projecting yourself as how you would have wanted yourself to be, but which was never to be. You said it right that perception is the name of the game.
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    I heave a sigh of relief as I get my first feedback on this rather heavy subject!
    Cyber world is a greater make-believe than the show business. Most of us want to be very idealistic here and take extreme care to ensure that our negative points do not get exposed. We are always more anxious to impress our faceless cyber friends than our real life buddies. We care a damn about what people think of us in the office, in clubs and families but we are very concerned about our image with our cyber friends.

    If we only exhibit a small fraction of our character reserved for our cyber friends in our real life, how great a person we'll make in reality!
    Sri
     
  4. Lavanya

    Lavanya Bronze IL'ite

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    Where you talking about Berkeley or the Matrix? :-D
    Even though I would not agree on immaterialistic views I can relate to that concept with people. In some sense its true to objects if you think of it as "if there's no need for such an object then will it be discovered or be invented?". This is better seen especially when you don't find certain equipments, tools in the market any more...for people have grown out of its need or have replaced it with better & efficient ones.
    On the same note we tend to make ourselves marketable when we see an audience for it. We change ourselves to be appreciated by a select audience (in that sense this ties in with the 'grouch' thread). Unfortunately not even a fraction of the time & energy spent on 'virtual' audience is spent on the real ones. This could be one of the causes for so many issues with adjustment. We are multi-facetted (I'm just reminded of "Raman ethanai Ramanadi...") though most of us don't use that energy to choose the right avataar for personal life.
     
  5. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Lavanya
    We are multi-facetted (I'm just reminded of "Raman ethanai Ramanadi...") though most of us don't use that energy to choose the right avataar for personal life.

    Well said, madam!
    Coming to Berkeley, I got to hear of him through a limerick! I googled for him and got of a lot of insight into his mental process.His theory, though not acceptable to me, fascinated me and I applied it to our net friends!
    Sri
     
  6. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    George Berkeley is an extraordinarily intelligent man, no doubt! I am still struggling to perceive his perception, no one need wonder about that...But, you seem to match step for step with him Cheeniya...trying to compare his 'esse is percipi' with your cyber world 'percipe'!! Quite an acrobatic thought process:) All the same, you being you, have made it possible for slow beings like me to perceive your perceptions:))

    I am not savvy about cyber world, must add. An innocent interaction a long time back on a popular Indian portal got me an amorous note in my mail box and frightened little miss muffet forever away until I found IL:) But how can you so surely state that those who are pleasant online can be unpleasant in real life and vice versa? I am not convinced.

    Take my word, I am what I seem to be.. whatever that is...it is all in one's perception:))

    L, Kamla
     
  7. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Kamla
    I did not say that of everyone in the cyberworld but a majority put on a mask. You are an exception as I am but many wont even reveal their real age or sex!
    Not that I get perturbed by such hide and seek players!
    My point is that it is amazing how we warm up to such enigmatic cyberwold characters and become so emotionally attached to them. I have known men and women who incur the wrath of their partners in keeping up this relationship with the unseen cyberworld characters!
    What is it that make these people so special?
    Sri
     
  8. Lavanya

    Lavanya Bronze IL'ite

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    May be its the nature of not knowing with whom you are interacting makes you feel less threatened to open up. Perhaps the same person will not want to reveal themselves when they know exactly who their audience are for fear of consequence!
     
  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Lavanya
    So when it comes to cyber friends, it is not the Fear of the Unknown but the Fear of the known becomes operative!
    sri
     
  10. chitrajan

    chitrajan Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Sr. Sri,

    I totally agree with Chithra and you -- If we only exhibit a small fraction of our character reserved for our cyber friends in our real life, how great a person we'll make in reality!

    All of us have an idea of how the other person should be with our own set of perfections and imperfections for them to follow. At the same time without being totally aware of how we are interacting with them, we classify ourselves as behaving ideally. Whereas in reality, we are subject and susceptible to minor and major intricacies in our relationships and are also bound by our own fallacies.

    The cyber world offers us a platform to exhibit the ideal inner persona conceived by us and we enjoy living in the eternal myth albeit for a short time knowing that we are projecting ourselves as ideal and perfect and revel in the adulation craved in real life.

     

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