ARTS3091 Blog 4 – How do we know what is real?

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Virtually virtual

The virtual is:

The indeterminate potential of any given moment
as the entire weight of the world moves through it’
(Murphey, n.d.)

This sentence is a brilliant summation of the concept of the virtual. To truly understand it however, you have to read murphy’s article a few times, or flush the sentence out a bit more.

On first reading, I thought the virtual was better conceptualized as an ‘unimagined’ reality, rather than a ‘potential’ reality as murphy describes.  As I reread the article I saw how ‘potential’ reality was a more concise term. As well as this I came to understand how the virtual is in fact real, or at the very least, I came to see how you could refute that the virtual is not real.

Murphy’s statement can be split in half.

The “indeterminate potential of any given moment”  (Murphey, n.d.) refers to the multiplicity of the concept of the virtual.  There are virtual memories: our memories which we are not actively remembering all the time and which we ‘throw ourselves into’ to ‘actualize certain individual memories’. The same could be said to apply to concepts or thoughts.

We could apply the concept of the virtual to Scott Rosenberg’s article where Mark Zuckerberg discusses the metaphorical map of technology:

I think that the biggest part of the
 map has got to be the uncharted territory.”
(Rosenberg, 2010)

Zuckerberg is essentially saying that the biggest part of technology exists in the virtual, waiting to be actualized in the form of new technology.

This brings us to the second half of the sentence, ‘as the entire weight of the world moves through it’(Murphey, n.d.). This phrase explains that the virtual is affected by reality. When a potential reality is actualized, it is through a physical (or real) medium. For example, a memory can be actualized by a smell, a thought/concept can be actualized by words on a page, or an entrepreneurial man or woman can actualize a virtual technology.

This is why the term ‘potential’ reality is more fitting than ‘unimagined’ reality, as it has the potential to become truly real, not just imaginarily real. In other words, we cannot deny the virtual the status of ‘real-ness’ or real-ity’ when it is transformed by things we claim to be real.

References:

Murphey, A. (n.d.) Arts3091 Course Notes – Week 5 [Accessed 27th March 2011] Available at: http://arts3091.newsouthblogs.org/course-outline-and-readings/#weekfive

Rosenberg, S. (2010) “Your map is wrong”: Zuckerberg lights out for the territories. Wordyard. [Accessed 27th March 2011] Available at: http://www.wordyard.com/2010/11/17/your-maps-wrong-zuckerberg-lights-out-for-the-territories/

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