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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Why Monks May Have Been Wrong About Their Bodies

Bodies are important in communication and they will continue to be. There are three important reasons for that. First of all, our mind does not function well without a body. As Antonio Damasio wrote in one of his books, body is the genesis of thought. Or as they say, body is the temple of the mind and you may not be able to have any sound mind without its temple. 

Secondly, the next level of computer interfaces will be much better in transferring bodily communication into virtuality. Which would mean that virtual representations of bodies will change slightly in their meaning, e.g. they will have more connections to physical movements. It will also mean that computer users will become more fit, but I would not like to stress fitness too much since that is also a fashion issue and may mislead us in the search of body's real meaning. 

And thirdly, a thought which I am actually very proud of, it appears that computerized virtual worlds may also start to enrich our bodies, not only degrade as is the common thinking.  It happens by showing what we can be - both through fantasy and training. This idea is against many conventional myths, but believe me, it will happen. Just imagine a teenager, who has become good at Konami Dancemat NOT using this skill in real life. I can not imagine that.

Now, the philosophical-futuristic question again. Can we one day live only virtually? Not impossible, but definitely not in a way it is imagined in the movies where a guy's brain lives in a solution. Probably the sensing and thinking mechanisms that need to be transferred into the virtuality are much larger than just the brain and some major nerve routes.