How is technology supporting social justice? Is spirituality in conflict with technology in this era of the approaching ‘Singularity’? Do avatars deter human connection or assist it?
Join host Dusan Writer on March 7th at 12pm PST as he welcomes Intersections International to Metanomics for a discussion of virtual dialogues, spirituality and human connection in the ‘age of the machine’.
Recently, Intersections hosted its own in-world discussion: a Veteran/Civilian Dialogue, which brought together an equal number of veterans and civilians to share their perspectives and experiences. By bringing together two groups that might seem to have very divergent experiences, Intersections hoped to create moments of insight and empathy that could lay the ground for larger social healing.
The process of the Dialogue followed highly successful ‘real world’ events: but was it possible to translate a physical world experience to a virtual space? How can you translate the emotions and body language of a discussion war to a virtual space? Was the experience “less real”?
Startled Cat produced a video of the event:
As an organization dedicated to social justice, Intersections brings diverse communities together to build bridges, gain understanding, and empower individuals to positive change. But while technology can be a great facilitator the dangers of a life mediated by computers poses questions for spirituality and what it means to be fully human.
Robert Chase recently wrote:
And I learned of the sociological term for the trend in our culture today as more and more of us are engaged in an “exodus to the metaverse.” This exodus, populated by avatars, is a phenomenon that will only increase as technology allows us deeper sensory immersion into other “worlds,” and the lure of the journey becomes ever more enticing. At our meeting, Thompson made the point that when creating an avatar (which is Sanskrit for “the essence of the divine” and represents your presence in the metaverse) you never leave yourself totally behind. The avatar you create is an expression of part of who you are. So, even in the process of creating avatars, we confront important psycho-spiritual questions of identity.
The implications for our Veteran-Civilian Dialogue Project are profound. In Second Life, traumatic brain injury and horrific disfigurement caused by war can be eclipsed by exchanges between young, strong, attractive avatars in the metaverse. Skills of engagement and confidence in one’s core strengths can be kindled in Second Life and transferred back into “first life.” Introverts can become part of the conversation; extroverts can seek solace in the silence of observation.
At Intersections, we are committed to exploring those hard places where boundaries shift, old paradigms collapse and new identities emerge. This may be the most significant intersection of all because it represents the convergence point between universes real and virtual, collapses time and space, and will increasingly become normative as a way of interacting.
Join us for this wide-ranging discussion of virtual worlds, spirituality, veterans and civilians, and the implications of technology on who we are and the societies in which we live.
You can watch the show live on Monday March 7th at 12:00 p.m. PT from this Web page, or join us at our studio in Second Life.