Virtual Rape Is Traumatic, but Is It a Crime?

Asks Wired Magazine’s Regina Lynn. [Warning: Post is heavy on theoretical ponderings].

Her answer ultimately is that it is “shitty but not a crime.” Backing up though, she gives some very insightful and fascinating insight into the world of online communities, the phenomenological and ethical feel of membership.

She writes:

A virtual rape is by definition sudden, explicit and often devastating. If you’ve never immersed yourself in online life, you might not realize the emotional availability it takes to be a regular member of an internet community. The psychological aspects of relating are magnified because the physical aspects are (mostly) removed. Even regular users might not realize how wide open they are until something drastic happens — they fall in love, get dumped, have a huge fight or get attacked in the online parallel of rape. In that context, a sexual assault can indeed have a deep impact on a person’s life, especially if they are actual rape survivors.


But in a game, you don’t want to lose the long-term investment you’ve made in your character. And these days, your real world income or professional reputation can depend on your online self. In a 3-D marketplace, your avatar’s name is your brand. You can change the appearance of your cartoon without much impact, but changing your name makes it too difficult for customers or clients to find you. If an online environment becomes too hostile or scary, or causes you such great anxiety you cannot work or interact with friends, more has been taken from you than your playtime. Your friends will gather around to give you emotional support — but your customers will wander off and shop elsewhere.

Avatars are a fascinating study into how humans create meaning and how the Spiral of value systems will self-perpetuate in whatever medium.

What we also are seeing, I believe, in the rise of online communities/avatars is the barest proto-beginnings of the emerging theosphere.

The theosphere, recall, is the evolutionary envelope that will transcend and include the noosphere (the sphere of mind).

Evolution has proceeded through transcend and include (across the four quadrants, however defined) from the get-go.

1.Physiosphere (litosphere, rocks, inorganic material, planets, etc.)
2.Biosphere (sphere of life…..plants, trees, animals, early human development)
3.Noosphere (sphere of mind)—blue, orange, green, yellow, turquoise systems.
4.Theosphere. Although we might need a better name. (Hyper-sphere?).

Keeping in mind the admonition not to mix states with stages, there is still the line from Wilber that the stages (structure-stages, levels of consciousness) are “variations on the states.” No what variation means here is not entirely clear. But something like plays on the states.

If that is even remotely the case, the theosphere then is the stage variation on the Soul-Psychic/Subtle state. The Dream state.

In the traditional Great Chain recall that there was matter (physiosphere), life (biosphere), mind (noosphere), soul (theosphere), spirit.

This process begins in turquoise but really gets going full steam in indigo/violet. Which is why I often point out that Cohen’s Authentic Self is the beginning of the Theosphere qua identity and is deeply intersubjective.

The Avatar in other words is pointing I think towards a future transcend-and-include of the current body-mind matrix we are accustomed to. [I know the language there sounds very alien, I’m doing this on purpose for the moment.]

What is the evolution of the Upper Right, to put it simply? Is there evolution into a 4th brain stem? This gets into the heated realm of trans-humanism (if it should even be called that) and all kinds of possible danger zones around eugenics. I’m not going to get into that for the moment.

I’ll just point to this piece by Wilber (Excerpt G on Subtle Energies for Vol.2 Kosmos Trilogy) which talks about a future economia based on subtle energies and that matter has to evolve so that higher stages of consciousness can shine through.

A right-hand technology we know can support a certain degree of depth (the deeper the technology the deeper the consciousness it can help float/instantiate). But a technology can also hold not just depth but various degrees of shallow-hood.

Which leads back to online rape. If the virtual world, or as I prefer the hyper-world, comes more connected, more incarnated into the Kosmos as a pattern, then anyone can plug into the system at whatever value stream.

Roving gangs of criminals, terrorists, rapists, drug pushers, as well as churches, synagogues, and online political “avataric” rights campaigns.

Not to mention as in Lynn points out:

Adult communities facilitate our need to go deeper into our sexual selves, even into secret places around gender and taboos that we cannot acknowledge anywhere else. We feel safe because of the peculiar blend of disclosure and anonymity provided in online communities, and we journey along paths we might not even glance at in the physical world. We don’t expect to have our control wrenched away or our minds assaulted or even the intensity of our anguish during and after.

The avatar considered as something of the “Soul” self includes the current body-mind complex. Again this current format is the beyond primitive compared to what will be in 2-3 decades, but just so we start to get the feel for all this. Because as Lynn is correct to point out our entire legal system will have to be re-thought. Law has been principally held (as it should have been) to the noospheric level of consciousness. Noospheric consciousness sadly does not ex-ist on most of the planet still, which is why tribal biospheric attitudes reign in so many places. Not just in Palestine but in the urban ghettos of the US—i.e. the culture of no-snitching.

But it will affect in other words all down the chain, through the frontal personality/body arena. It extends the possible sphere of interaction (greater depth) and brings a greater degree of felt immediacy (Immediacy as Such however is unchanged as Source/Essence of all Conditions). Hence people can get hurt in ways that are unexpected and are not easily understood and/or dealt with as a result.

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Published in: on May 4, 2007 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

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