Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Nature vs. Simulation

"To many who care about the natural world, no modern phenomenon seems more troubling than the emergence of "virtual reality" as a new form of human experience...and yet it is also true that our awareness of potential environmental problems has an increasingly virtual quality as we turn to computer models and simulated ecosystems to try to understand the complex changes going on around us in the natural world. Drawing the boundary between "real" and "virtual" nature turns out to be rather more difficult rather more revealing and instructive concerning our ideas of nature than we might have first thought"

Page 439 - Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature (Cronon, 1995)

Katherine Hayles chapter in this book titled, Simulated Nature and Natural Simulations: Rethinking the Relation between the Beholder and the World” (pp. 409-425) may be of interest. It breaks down the traditional dichotomy between "nature" and "simulation".

2 Comments:

Blogger Mingfong Jan said...

I see fictions as a form of virtual reality and also a genre of narratives. Comparing with the virtual reality created by simulations and games, story-telling itself might be the ancient form of "virtual reality," in which the "reality" serves as a reference to the virtual world in the story.

In some way, the reality only exists as the present while the past and the future exist as virtual reality. We LIVE in the reality and yet FEEL that virtual reality. In terms of sense making, reality and virtual reality could be merged--just like the AR games that we did.

3:11 PM  
Blogger John Martin said...

If story-telling is a form of virtual reality, then not only would "real" stories of the past and present be virtual reality, but any version of experience including shared experiences would also be virtual relaity. Is anything but direct empirical experience then "virtual reality"? Are our memories (stored and reconstructed into narratives when accessed) all virtual?

If so, at what point does the term become meaningless?

11:47 AM  

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