[Physical Reality Versus Mental Reality]

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Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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[Physical Reality Versus Mental
Reality]

[An analysis of the fine line between Online and
Offline interaction]

[Kelsie Uejio]



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Table of Contents

TITLE PAGE: PHYSICAL

REALITY VS. MENTAL R
EALITY

1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

2

INTRODUCTION

3

S
AMPLE
2

Q
UOTE

3

S
AMP
LE
2

I
NTERPRETATION

3

S
AMPLE
2

D
ISCUSSION
/

C
ONTRIBUTION

5

S
AMPLE
1

Q
UOTE

7

S
AMPLE
1

I
NTERPRETATION

7

S
AMPLE
1

D
ISCUSSION
/

C
ONTRIBUTION

8

S
AMPLE
10

Q
UOTE

10

S
AMPLE
10

I
NTERPRETATION

10

S
AMPLE
10

D
ISCUSSION
/C
ONTRIBUTION

11

S
AMPLE
8

Q
UOTE

12

S
AMPLE
8

I
NTERPR
ETATION


13

S
AMPLE
8

D
ISCUSSION
/C
ONTRIBUTION

13

C
ONCLUSION

16

R
EFERENCES

18





























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Kelsie Uejio

March 15, 2010

PSY 459

Report 1


Physical reality versus mental reality



Introduction;



With technology rapidly advancing to include occ
urrences that could not be previously
experienced with out virtual reality or the Internet, many people are wondering how far the
horizons extend. Does our capacity for human knowledge have any limits when confronted with
this phenomenon? However in the
scheme of things, many people have fallen prey to the
alluring sensation that online experience provides many with. People have become lazy and no
longer exercise or play sports as often due to their time being occupied with online activities
such as play
ing “World of Warcraft” “ Runescape” and chatting on Facebook. Who could blame
these people when battling dragons’ online sounds like much more fun than throwing a football?
This current imbalance of opinions between the idea of Internet as being useful

and the idea that
it is distracting people from real life is a current debate. By using four samples from discussion
post that is maintained by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Cyber psychology class, this
essay attempts to explore the fine line betwe
en online and offline interaction and seeks to give
readers a deeper insight into a world where not only physical reality exist but also mental reality.
This idea is evident from the first sample presented in the following paragraph.

Sample 2:

Another G31

student wrote:

The virtual world brings forth an entire new world and culture into
our own “Real World”.


Interpretation:

By writing this statement, this student was probably referring to the growth of innovative
technology and it’s cultivated use in the
world. By “entire new world” the student may be
suggesting that a different organization of actions, possibilities, and opportunities is opened up to

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the mass public. These experiences include anything from Internet surfing, online chatting,
games, video
s, shopping, blogging, going to college, studying, meeting new people, learning
new things, and having a career. This is all encompassed in what we know as “the virtual
world”. Although we are familiar with some of these activities outside of the virtual

world, the
word “new” is used because we experience virtual reality in a way that is different from real life.
Although we are able to see, hear, and communicate in this realm, we are unable to smell, touch,
and taste. A world without these three vital
senses is distinctively strange from a world in which
we are so used to having the benefits of al five senses.


The student’s use of “new” may also co notate a contrast between the real world and the
virtual world. “New” can refer to the virtual world, wh
ich is what so many people of this
generation are accustomed to, and this can highlight the fact that the “real world” may be a place
in which people from older generations strictly choose to dwell in. Evidence of this idea can be
seen amongst the populat
ion in various statistic studies. Morales (2009) reports one such study in
which roughly only 23% of adults using the Internet were above age 65. This statistic may
support the idea of virtual reality being a “new” phenomenon.


Not only did this student i
mplicate that an “entire new world was brought forth into the
real world” but also that a new “culture” is brought forth. Culture can implicate a variety of
things but it is most likely that the student meant the way virtual reality influences the pattern
s of
human knowledge, behavior, and beliefs of multiple societies around the world. The Internet
directly influences this through bringing popularity to the latest fashions, trends, and music.
Through media coverage on the Internet, blogging, search engi
nes, and such, culture is dictated
and thus the Internet determines the very society in which people thrive.


“Virtual reality brings forth “ a “new culture” into our “ real world” can also be
interpreted as the advancement of cultural sharing. With the
wide amount of knowledge easily
accumulated on the Internet, people have found that sharing and experiencing new cultures have
become increasingly easy. With information accumulating cites such as Wikipedia, search
engines that our available in every lang
uage, and YouTube videos from all over the world,
people are able to see pieces of other traditions and customs from places they may not be able to
easily visit.


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Discussion/Contributions
:


The relevance in this sample was that it employs its readers to q
uestion many things
about online and offline interaction. While this leads some readers to create a distinction
between reality and the events that occur in the cyber world, some can use this statement to
justify their idea that the cyber world is just as

real as life offline. This idea is later followed in
sample 1.


The ironic thing about sample 2 is that the statement can be seen as backwards. The
student who wrote this sample is claiming that virtual reality has brought a “new world and
culture” in
to our current society when in fact; it is society that created virtual reality to begin
with. Does society influence the virtual world? Or does the virtual world influence society?
These two questions set the stage for an argument between the relevance
of online interaction
and offline interaction.

This argument is so controversial because the many gamers, bloggers, web surfers and
such defend the Internet as an entity that is truly amazing and a great contribution to society.
These people see the end
less innovation and opportunities that the Internet and virtual reality
open up to the public as beneficial for further development of civilization. They believe that
online experiences are just as valuable as offline experiences and that people can use t
his new
world to explore their beliefs, heritage and sexuality among other things. To these people, the
relationships, experiences, and knowledge that are developed in virtual reality or online are just
as important (if not more important) than the relati
onships and experiences they have in physical
life.

The opposite side of the argument is that the Internet and virtual reality are not as
important as physical life. People who are on this opposing side of the argument use the concept
of reality and valid
ity to justify their thinking. They question how the Internet and virtual reality
can ever hold potential for great relationships when you can’t even be sure whom the other
person is that you are forming a relationship with. Some of the people on this si
de of the
argument can understand the benefits of online activity but these individuals still remain firmly

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convinced that these actions wouldn’t mean anything with out occurrences in the physical world.
They view online interaction as something that can
be controlled by a person while reality means
sacrificing control to a divine faith or higher power. This idea is highly relevant being that most
people can control their daily interactions better on the Internet versus in physical life where so
many thin
gs can just randomly happen to one person. In some cases virtual reality can be seen
as a fantasy only because things like death and rape cannot occur solely online. But if these are
the only thing that distinguishes online activity from being just as re
al as offline activity,
wouldn’t any person choose online activity compared to the latter any day?

Another key concept of sample 2 that evokes contemplation within readers is the
definition of reality. The person in Sample 1 defined reality as occurrences

that happened “
offline” but she/he also added her/his opinion that reality should qualify as anything that happens
regardless of whether it happened on or offline. This definition is important in the argument
between the relevance of offline and online
interaction due to the idea that some people justify
their beliefs based on reality. Often, people who do not think online activity is valuable believe
that it is irrelevant because they think that the interactions that occur online will not contribute to

a person’s life. What these people have to also consider is the fact that while online interaction
may not contribute to a person in a physical way, it can definitely contribute something to the
person in a mental way by shaping his/her thoughts or makin
g him/her view life in different
terms.

Influence of this conception is shown in sample 2 when emphasis is put on “our real
world”. Does this mean that virtual reality is not real? People who defend online interaction
maintain that virtual reality is jus
t as real because we are able to explore it almost in the same
way that we explore the world in our everyday life but people who defend offline interaction
would probably disagree with this idea using the fact that one can not physically visit the virtual
world thus it is somehow “fake” or not as real as the offline world.


These themes that sample 2 inspires us to contemplate are presented throughout
the entire report. The fine line between offline and online interaction and the fact that each
student att
empts to justify online activity as real or fake helps to explain their views. The
argument between the two sides is presented in the next three samples; one side that is willing to

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embrace the advances of technology and one side that is more hesitant to
treat the offline world
and the online world as both needed and important entities in society. The following quote is a
sample of a person who believes greatly in the power of online interaction.

Sample 1:

One of the G31 students in this class wrote:

I ag
ree though, we do spend a LOT of time online now days but I
think it could go both ways, its not necessary a bad thing. What
exactly is "real social interaction" anyway? I know in the book they
say that, "real" often acts simply as a synonym for "offline"
(p.20),
but to me, if you're interacting with people in any way it is a real
interaction. I mean while being online, you could video chat with
someone, how different is that from actually sitting right next to
them and talking to them? You can see them, ju
dge things from their
facial expressions, and show them things, the only thing you can't do
is touch them. And I understand that touch is a big part of social
interactions but its not like they never go out into the world and just
stay holed up in their ro
oms 24/7 (i hope).


Interpretation:

This person seems to have an understanding of both the pros and cons of spending
extensive time online and he/she alludes to this in the first sentence of this quote. With this said,
this persons opinion becomes clear i
n the next sentence “ it’s not necessary a bad thing.” The
writer seems to have concluded that even though there are both pros and cons to Internet use, use
of this medium is not a generally bad thing. He/she seems to justify this opinion in the next
sen
tence by exploring the fine line between “ real social interaction” and social interaction that
takes place on the Internet. The writer explores the concept by first asking the question “ what
exactly is real social interaction anyway?” By asking this qu
estion she /he means that kind of
behavior can be defined as real social interaction. The emphasis seems to be placed on the “real”
as the context of this question is asked in response to the contrast between online interactions in
the physical world. In

the next sentence, the student attempts to answer the question by
dissecting the meaning of the word. He states that in the book, “ real often acts simply as a

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synonym for offline.” Even though the book gives this definition to real, the writer denies th
is
definition and seeks to expand on this idea by contributing his/her own thought of what the word
means in this sentence; (“but to me, if you are interacting with people anyway it is a real
interaction.”). In this sense, the writer seems to define
real

interaction as being real due to
occurrence. For example, if a conversation happened, it is considered real interaction regardless
of if it occurred online or in person. She/he regards this action as real because it happened.

In this way, the writer su
pports the idea that real interaction is determined by its
occurrence or lack of occurrence and should not be held less accountable than offline interactions
simply because the means of occurrence is different. This is reflected in the next sentence “ you

could video chat with someone, how different is that from actually sitting right next to them and
talking to them?” The writer takes this example of communication through video chat and
compares it to communicating in person. She/he uses this compariso
n to question how they are
different because she/he wants readers to realize that there are actually more similarities than
differences between these mediums.

His/her examples of similarities are highlighted in the next sentence; “ you can see them,
judg
e things from their facial expressions and show them things.” This is an example of how the
two different ways of communicating (through the internet and in person) are more similar.
He/she emphasizes the similarity by only giving one difference (“ the on
ly thing they can’t do is
touch.”) which basically means that the two mediums are the same thing accept the sense of
touch is absent from online interaction. The writer is careful to consider the idea that touch is
important by writing “ And I understand
that touch is a big part of social interaction” but he/she
also supports the idea that internet interaction is not necessarily bad because even if it lacks the
sense of touch people can compensate for this by having physical social interaction. The writer

balances this online interaction because he/she reasons in conclusion to this thought that it is “not
like people never go out into the world and just stay holed up in their room 24/7”. Thus she/he
regards online interaction as something that is acceptab
le since society expects offline interaction
to occur as well.

Discussion/ Contributions:


This quote explores the justification of online interaction and is a good argument to why

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online interaction should be viewed as something that is just as real as in
teraction that occurs
offline. Despite this intriguing thought, there are some problems in this argument that are not
addressed. These problems include using video chat as the only example of online interaction, a
failure to mention other differences tha
t cannot be experienced in virtual reality, and finally the
slight contradiction between the conclusion and the motive of the quote to promote online
interaction as an equally real entity to offline action.

The argument was good specifically for the exampl
e of video chat online. However it did
not cover other online activity such as chat boards, facebook, instant messaging, email, second
life, and other facets of virtual reality. It is true that video chat is very similar to communication
with people in p
erson but these different mediums of virtual interaction are not necessarily the
same means. In fact, people seem very attached to online chatting using instant messaging more
than actual voice or video chat. Though there are various advantages to using
instant messaging,
facebook, or email, they do not offer the same audio and viewable advantages as voice and video
chat. Thus it is easier for some people to abuse interactions on these mediums by lying and
deceiving others.. People must use extra cautio
n on the Internet because these online mediums
make it hard to read the motives and intentions of other people due to an inability to hear tone
and determine facial expressions.

The argument also failed to mention other disadvantages in online interaction
besides the
inability to touch. Other disadvantages include the lack of ability to smell or taste. While these
senses are less useful than being able to see, hear, speak, and type, tasting and smelling is
important to acknowledge in order to create a dis
tinction between the things we can do online
and the things we can only do in real life. By the same token, there are also going to be
experiences that one can only experience online or in virtual reality. Thus mentioning both pros
and cons of offline an
d online interaction would better support this argument’s conclusion that
the online world is not bad because both worlds are needed.

The last problem in this argument is the slight contradiction between the conclusion and
the motive of the quote. The mo
tive of the quote should be to explain and justify thoughts that
will lead up to a solid conclusion. But the conclusion and the motive in this argument contradict
each other since the conclusion is ”spending a lot of time online is not necessarily bad bec
ause

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people are expected to go out and interact in the physical world” while the motive is explain that
“ online interaction is the same as offline interaction because they both occur in real time.” If
online and offline interaction are the same than why
do we need to spend time in both worlds to
justify time spent in the online world. Why can’t we just spend time in one world or the other?
The writer did a good job in addressing the idea that social interactions in both worlds should be
considered real,

but he/she focused too much on emphasizing the similarities of each world
instead of including more distinctions that needed to be made in order to appreciate both worlds.
The ability to do one thing in one world and not in the other is what makes both o
f them needed.
This is the rationalization that would have been better in promoting this argument.

While may students like the student in sample 1 believe that online interaction and the
virtual world is just as real and as significant as in the offline w
orld, there are many other
students who reject technology all together. Some people think that online interaction will not be
able to replace offline interaction. The following is an example of a student who is part of the
other side of the argument. Wh
ile this student acknowledges that there are benefits to having
online interaction, he/she tries to remain realistic and argues that nothing could replace an offline
interaction “like a hug”.

Sample 10 :

It brings up the idea of human contact and social in
teraction in the 'real
world'. Both people mentioned in the end of the review ended up rejecting
technology in favor of surrounding themselves with people in the real world.
It seems that they became jaded with technology, and desired more physical
and soc
ial human contact, focusing on relationships. If everything is "virtual"
in the future, can you see this happening? Or will the online relationships and
social interaction, which are becoming more and more complex, be able to
satisfy our need for human con
tact? I think this could be possible, but I don't
think anything can replace a good hug etc.


Interpretation:

By “it” one can assume that the writer may be referring to a multitude of things.
References could range from readings, a quote, something a per
son said, or just a random
thought but we can most likely assume from the “review” mentioned in the next sentence that

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“it” refers to some kind of review or reading about two people that rejected technology.
Whatever “it” refers to, the contribution from
the reference remains an “idea of human contact
and social interaction in the real world”. Readers can probably assume that this contribution is a
positive one and that the writer wrote this to emphasize an effect that technology may have on
offline inter
action hence the use of “ human contact and social interaction.”


The next sentence in the thought talks about how two people went against the appeal of
the virtual world and instead chose to live primarily in the real world or the world we may know
as
off
line
.
These next few sentences imply that these two people preferred to have solid and
physical human relationship instead of the ambiguity that surrounds an online friendship.
Perhaps these people had such a horrible experience online that they “became
jaded” thus their
negative online experience reinforced them to lead a life solely without the conveniences of
online interaction and virtual reality.


The writer realized that these negative experiences might have reinforced this change of
attitude so he/
she cleverly chose to ask the question “ if everything is virtual in the future, can
you see this happening?” By “this” the writer is referring to a rejection of technology due to
reinforcements from bad experiences that occurred in the virtual world or t
hrough online
interaction. The next sentence “ Or will the online relationship and social interaction which are
becoming more and more complex, be able to satisfy our need for human contact?” basically
questions the other alternative, which is whether hum
an contact in the future could be replaced
with the advances of online contact.


The writer sums up his/her thoughts by remaining open to either side (“ I think this could
be possible”) but also hinting at the situation that he/she thinks is more likely
to occur (“ but I
don’t think anything can replace a good hug.”) From this conclusion, readers can assume that
the student thinks there are some offline experiences (such as a hug) that cannot be replaced with
an online experience.


Discussion/ Contributi
ons:

In contrast to the quote in sample 1, this person acknowledges that there are both benefits and
problems with online interaction. Rather than exploring online activity through the context of
reality and validity, this student chose to discuss the iss
ue of online interaction versus offline
interaction as two opposing entities that may take over one another.

Something that sample 1 addresses is the lack of an ability to touch in the cyber world.
We see a reoccurrence of this as the student in sample
10 also wonders whether “human
contact”, a need to touch and be close to one another, will someday be incorporated into virtual

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reality or be replaced by an online activity. Thus this sample really makes a person wonder what
it means to be a human and to
have social interactions. Just as sample 1 pointed out, although
people are unable to physically touch in virtual reality they are able to connect at a mental level
that is sometimes easier in this medium than in real life.


Can this possibly qualify as
human and social interactions even though there is not any
physical closeness? Perhaps the meaning that can be deduced from sample 10 is that the kind of
physical closeness people are used to in the physical world can be replaced with a mental
closeness i
n the virtual world. One could justify this idea by comparing humans to animals.
Because we are (like animals) primitive creatures, we seek that physical attachment and bodily
protection that close contact indicates. But if (like the writer of sample 10

implies) we become a
more complex society, perhaps a sense of mental attachment will become more desirable and
thus replace our need for physical contact.


On the other hand, this interpretation of “physical closeness” and virtual reality can have
an ab
solutely different effect on the human mind. Like the beginning of sample 10 alludes to,
their might be a possibility that people who experience online interaction and the virtual world
may become so sick due to a lack of physical closeness. This may cau
se such people to crave
physical contact, thus avoiding technology and seeking relationship where they can physically
spend time with the other person.


These samples have progressed from sample 1 in which the student believed and valued
online interacti
on to sample 10 in which the student reviewed both sides of the debate and was
hesitant to declare either side to this current sample 8, which involves a student that completely
disagrees with the student who wrote sample 1. The following sample can be se
en as a
counterargument to sample 1. Like sample 10, sample 8 does not compare online interaction and
offline interaction in the context of reality and validity but rather focuses on either side’s benefits
to humanity.

Sample 8:

While I think the internet

and all of its advances are great and truly
amazing, I do think that it may also be problematic.


With the
internet, as the passage above states, you can do pretty much
anything you can do in real life, on the internet.


I personally think
that this could

potentially lead to society becoming so reliant on the
internet that they miss out on human, social contact.


Humans are
naturally social beings and face to face contact, in my opinion, plays

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a major role in being human; otherwise we would all be like rob
ots.



Interpretation:

The student opens his/her thoughts with a clear idea. This idea is that interaction
occurring in cyber space is problematic regardless of the truly innovative and amazing abilities it
has allowed us to acquire. The student gives ex
amples to show how amazing these abilities are
such as “ the passage above states” meaning the ability to transcend space by connecting to
people and places all over the world. He/she states that “ you can do pretty much anything you
can do in real life”
so he/she realizes that the limits of virtual reality are endless because people
are now able to shop, find information, work, get married, build relationships, have sex, and go
to school all on the internet! Although he/she understands these capabilities

she follows this up
with her/his own opinion “ I personally think that this could potentially lead to society becoming
reliant on the Internet that they miss out on human, social contact”. This statement is actually
more than just an opinion


it is also

a concern. This student is voicing his/her inner musings
that perhaps society may be crumbling to one thing it has always crumbled to


addiction.
Whether it is a substance, smoking, greasy food, or a coffee addiction, all addictions yield some
kind of

consequences. The student who wrote this sample fears that Internet addiction will lead
to dependence on the internet and thus a lack of offline activity and human bonding. To explain
what people are missing out on, the student attempts to investigate t
he role of social contact and
the meaning of being human. She/ he uses phrases like “ natural social beings” and “ face


to


face” to create a distinction between experiences in the virtual world and experiences in the
physical world. He/ she ends their

idea with “Humans are natural social beings and face to face
contact, in my opinion, plays a major role in being human; otherwise we would all be like
robots.” This statement suggests that the writer has stayed consistent to the idea of the Internet
bein
g problematic throughout the whole sample. He/she has considered the benefits of online
interaction and has decided that offline interaction is more valuable due to his/her own beliefs of
social contact.


Discussion/Contributions


The student who wrote sa
mple 8 brought up some very interesting points that validate
his/her opinion in the argument between online and offline interaction. These points balance
well with the other samples that have been introduced so far.


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Again, in the same way that sample 10

was analyzed, readers must try to investigate the
role of human emotion and it’s significance in sample 8. This role is even more vital in this
particular sample due to the writer’s strong sense of opinion. In order to investigate the role of
human emot
ion however, we must first look at how relationships are created and maintained in
the cyber world.


At a glance, it seems that most relationships online are first created from networking and
forming groups online. Wheeler (2009), claimed, “there are ma
ny personal identities represented
within the tribe” (Wheeler, 2009, p. 71). We can only imagine how these changes in perception
of identity may affect different relationships that are developed online. Wheeler (2009)
continues to list the different type
s of clans and tribes that are available on the Internet such as
facebook, Bebo, flicker, and MySpace. These groups are comprised of people that develop
intricate relationships with one another through common interest and social interaction. Each
clan is

characterized by different traits and act in ways that are specific to their group.


So now that there is a higher general understanding of relationships through forming
groups and clans, we can ascertain that this development has an impact on how we choo
se to
identify ourselves in cyberspace. But how does this affect our ability to create and maintain
more intimate relationships? How do we transcend from being casual acquaintances and only
having an affiliation in common to discovering a friendship or e
ven a romance that may be just
as important as a relationship developed in real life. There are three things that play a key factor
in developing a relationship further on cyberspace; this includes privacy, intimacy, and sexuality.


“Privacy” is thought t
o be one of the advantages of communicating online. Individuals
are able to maintain this privacy ironically through the limitations of senses online
communication provides. Not being able to touch, smell, and sometimes see prohibits others
from construi
ng superficial perceptions that so often hinder relationships that are developed
offline. These superficial perceptions that full ability to the sense allows us to judge may include
things like how the person smells (ex. “This person has bad breath so he
probably does not have
good hygiene”), looks (ex. “This person has a lot of tattoos and looks like a gang member”), or
feels (ex. “This person has rough skin, keeps sending me bad vibes from his body language, or
has about as much skill at making love as a

little 15 year old). Online interaction prohibits any
individual from making such stereotypical assumption about someone and most people are at
least unconsciously aware of this idea so as a result, most individuals are less prohibited online

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and actuall
y expose their true colors more. This is because people believe that they are less
likely to be judged on appearances and more likely to get the social treatment they deserve
(because many of these people believe themselves to have such amazing personalit
ies that others
would only see if they could get past appearances) (Bollstorff, 2008).


Now that it has been established that there is a tendency for people to act less social
inhibited online and disclose more information about their private life if they
are interacting
through means that restrict the sense of touch, smell, and sometimes sight, we can look at the
effects this has on intimacy. Intimacy is created through a sense of “trust”. But it is hard for
people who do not regularly communicate online

to understand why they may trust a person that
they only know in cyber space more than a person that they know in real life. But intimacy can
also be created because when people look past appearances and superficial qualities to see things
that they can
relate to from a mental point of view. Thus the connection that is created online is
stronger for some because people are already developing a mental and emotional connection to
each other rather than a superficial connection that people are more likely t
o develop in offline
interactions. The value of these connections are greater because it is simply easier to maintain a
relationship with somebody you like and can connect with on mental level compared with
somebody you can only connect with on a physical

level. This is much akin to how one
-
night
stands are based on infatuation and lust for the other person whereas marriages and long
-
term
relationships are usually based on a sharing of core values and deeper understanding of each
other. Thus this may be
an implication for why online relationships can be deeper and last
longer. It is also easier to overlook a person’s physical flaws once you know that they are
basically the kind of person you get along with versus getting over a person’s personality
becau
se you were only judging them on their appearance.


The last key factor in developing relationships and friendships in cyber space is sexuality.
This is very important for specifically developing romantic relationships. In order to get a better
understand
ing of this concept, we must first investigate real romantic relationships that have
started online. Lets analyze one such romance “ I met my Second Life boyfriend the first week I
was here. I came to an event at his club…And I began to have feelings for

him” (Bollstorff,
2008, p. 167). This experience of a fellow Second Life user seems to suggest that online
romance may happen just as naturally as offline romances. Even if a romance seems to develop
in a typical way, the question of whether online roma
nce can fill in the emotional need for

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“human contact” still remains. Still virtual reality games seem to open up a lot of opportunities
for people to experiment with their sexuality and gender. This is again due to privacy since
people are free particip
ate in sexual relations that may be frowned down upon or inappropriate in
the actual world. Even though there is no physical contact, experimenting with things like
prostitution, homosexuality, and kinky sexual fetishes allow people to express themselves
and
fulfill desires that they may not be able to otherwise relieve.


Conclusion


In conclusion to this report, the analysis of the various samples not only give evidence to
the argument between online and offline interaction but also to the relevance of th
e definition of
reality. These samples not only interact with each other in a causative way but many parallels
can also be drawn from these four different perspectives. These parallels include the
contradiction of virtual reality and a physical reality b
eing the same, the significance of the sense
of touch, and the exploration of the effect on human contact and emotion through social
interaction both on and off the Internet.

The parallels between sample 1 and sample 8 are so strong that one may find it ha
rd to
chose where to begin. One could start with the obvious use of contrast between offline and
online activity. While sample 1 analyzes offline activity as being something that can compensate
for experiences that you can’t have online and thus supporti
ng the ideal that online activity is
decent, sample 8 argues the total opposite. The reason why Internet activity is bad in sample 8 is
because you cannot exchange the experiences you feel in virtual reality for experiences in real
life. Sample 2 implies

that virtual reality can be appreciated in conjunction with also
experiencing physical reality but sample 8 suggest that perhaps one reality can rule the other one
out.

This relationship between samples 1 and 8 greatly contrast with the relationship bet
ween
samples 10 and 8. While the writer of sample 10 is obviously a little confused and stands some
where in between the primary argument, both writers of sample 10 and 8 try to explore the
concept of “human/social contact”. The difference is that the wr
iter of sample 8 already
understands that a lack of social contact that is so important in human relationships will render
one heartless, while the writer of sample 10 is only knows that a lack of social contact may cause
some kind of consequence but is no
t able to pinpoint exactly what the consequence is.


17


Another parallel that applies to the last three samples is the role of touching. This sense
is completely absent in online interaction and thus is brought up in several ways amongst the
three samples.
Sample 1 lists the sense of touch as the only differences between offline and
online interaction. Sample 10 used the sense of touch to contemplate whether or not the Internet
would have the ability to satisfy one’s instinctive need for “human contact”. S
ample 8 also used
the sense of touch in the same context of “human contact” but went further in declaring that this
sense was an absolute necessity and without it, the Internet would fail to satisfy people or else
turn them in to emotionless “robots”.


Wit
h all this explained, our any one of these perspectives perfect? The answer is no, each
perspective has it strengths and weaknesses. The importance of these samples is that they reflect
the collective mind of human thought on such an abstract issue. The
re are many ways to argue
whether the actual world or the virtual world is more important and to discuss the influences on
both worlds. These samples are not interesting because they are necessarily correct about
everything but because they allow readers
to explore the thoughts and feelings of the individuals
who wrote them. The insight provided from these samples give readers a lot of food for thought
and allow them to think about their own beliefs and conceptions of online and offline interaction.
Furt
hermore, these articles allow readers to contemplate the meaning of being a human, and in
doing so, reflect on who we are and what are social expectations may be in terms of the virtual
world.














18




References:

Bollstorff, Tom. (2008). Coming of a
ge in second life. Princeton, New Jersey; Princeton

University Press.

Morales, Lymari. (2009, January 2). Nearly Half of Americans Are Frequent Internet Users,

Retrieved March 12, 2010, from Gallup

website:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/113638/nearly
-
half
-
americans
-
frequent
-
internet
-

users.aspx

Wheeler, Steve. (2009). Digital tribes, virtual clans. In perspective in Instructional Technology

and Distance Edu
cation,
Connected minds, emerging cultures; c
yberc
ultures in o
nline

l
earning

(pg. 65
-
75). United States of America.