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Reader Comments (4)

Posted: Sep 21st 2008 10:46PM (Unverified) said

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Personally, I view my corporeal "avatar" as a rather annoying restraint (I have no physical disabilities, though I do suffer from arthritis).

A non-corporeal/virtual avatar can navigate spaces with ease- overcoming gravity (flight), obstructions (sit-on-a-prim-and-move or really fast flight), or even (through scripted assistance) being able to move from point a to point b without occupying the intervening space.

Though my views are brought about due to my arthritis, I suspect that most able-bodied people see a distinction due to taking their physical body for granted- it's always been there, and it's considerably more difficult to modify (tattoos are painful, a hair cut takes time to grow out, excess flab requires exercise or liposuction) than a virtual avatar (change skin, change hair, change shape)

Posted: Sep 21st 2008 11:19PM Coldbrand said

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Very, very interesting and powerful stuff. I'm interested in further coverage of this topic.

Posted: Sep 21st 2008 11:45PM (Unverified) said

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My response grew too long-winded, so I made a blog post out of it: http://tentacolor.com/2008/09/21/tools-avatars-and-the-self/

Short answer: when your avatar provides an equally or more satisfying and enabling experience than your physical body, you develop a strong emotional attachment to it and a sense of it being an extension of your self, possibly to the point of preferring your avatar to your physical body.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2008 1:41AM (Unverified) said

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I'm able of body but not of emotion and thought in the traditional sense. I'm finding that I'm getting more attached to my avatar, emotionally, the more time I spend learning to speak through her - IRL I am very shy and retiring, and have used SL as a place to learn to be more outspoken.

I have identified strongly with my avatar as myself for a long time. Thinking of what Jacek says in her post, relating to tools that people use, I think of my avatar as a tool in that sense, and am now emotionally and 'physically' attached to her; I find this attachment, and additional identity with, with other tools, too: my car and my computer are primary examples.

Additionally, I think that familiarity with the interface has added to my sense of identity through my avatar.

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