In the first article, “Identity Crisis,” Sherry Turkle applies her psychological knowledge to those living in the digital age. She explains that the social world now values fluidity over stability. Mulituser domains (MUDs) encourage the formation of multiple selves. Some hold the idea of a “saturated self” where many voices become part of the self. In this manner, each person has multiple personalities and our personalities include each other.
So if there is a multiplicity of selves, do they have coherence to one another? Turkle points out that those who have multiple personality disorders have selves that are distinctly divided from the host self. Whereas psychologically healthy inhabitants of virtual communities often play with this creation of multiple selves. Today’s more fluid sense of self encourages the acknowledgement of diversity and the acceptance of our inconsistent personae.
The second article by Douglas Rushkoff, “They Call me Cyberboy,” has a more nostalgic vibe. Rushkoff was an active participant in the early days of the Internet. He envisioned the online world as a home for the outcasts of society. Therefore, when the Internet became the domain of businessmen, Rushkoff saw the demise of his interactive dream world. However, he still hopes that corporate money will help build the virtual world and then businesses will leave the Internet to those who see its other potentials.
Do you see the creation of multiple selves through digital communities as a way to stretch the imagination or as a danger to the purity of one’s identity?
Do you see online business as a commodity or as an invasion of the virtual world?