Escape Reality go Cyber

Cyberspace is an exciting escape from reality that allows the consequences of the real world to disappear. We have all been seduced into the world of cyberspace where one too many hours have slipped away from us, whether it be by instant messaging a friend or playing video games. I understand this feeling as well as the next cyberspace enthusiast, back in the day I spent countless hours of playing and being drawn into the world of the game, World of Warcraft. 

In my experience being in the cyberspace world is a great escape from the hectic everyday lifestyles we live. You can be anything you like in cyberspace, a war hero, an elf, a pyromaniac, a theme park boss the possibilities are endless.  But everything must be done in moderation, you would have heard of those stories where parents neglect their children in order to down a 10 hour gaming session, these are some of the negatives of this space.

It is somewhere to elude the consequences of reality, like in the Four Puzzles from Cyberspace book Lessig gives the example of two virtual neighbours; one neighbour kills the other neighbour’s dog with poisonous flowers. If this situation happened in the real world everybody would disapprove of the neighbour with the poisonous flowers, and there would potentially be a lot of negative media attention towards the person owning the poisonous flowers. But seeing as this example is cyberspace no real consequences were administered.

Cyberspace is a strange and exhilarating world where the real world’s rules don’t apply, and doing anything or being anyone is possible. 

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6 comments

  1. Hey Elise

    I agree that cyberspace operates on its own set of rules. But its determining what exactly those rules are and how they differ from reality that has made things infinitely more difficult. Where do we draw the line of property and how do we inforce ownership, when everyone is just a number that can be easily manipulated or concealed. To me it seems that these negative ramafications are always miles ahead of any potential solutions.

  2. I’m not sure I can agree with your reading of that particular story about the poisoned dog. I feel that Lessig is trying to point out how in the world of cyberspace, it is possible to come up with solutions that can be of mutual benefit no matter what someone’s passions are.
    I feel that should the situation occur in the meat world, then the same manipulatable reality would be there as well. I just think you missed the real metaphor there.

  3. I agree with some negatives that you mentioned but can you think of any positives as well? In terms of gaming, cyberspace is a great space to connect with other people in the world as you can go online. So in this case, it’s not always ‘escaping from the reality’ I guess 🙂

  4. Your concluding point on how cyberspace doesn’t run by real world rules is an aspect that I often forget. We are faced with consequences that have large ramifications for individuals on frightening personal levels such as online bullying. I like your take on the escape from real life to the endless possibilities of being whoever or whatever you want to be. Perhaps this is why our generation has been greatly affected by the discovery of oneself.

  5. Theres a fine line I guess when it comes to Cyberspace and law. In a sense, I like majority I would say, don’t want to see the Internet and Cyberspace governed. The movements of the United States and its allies are genuinely something I fear.

    Whilst the example of the dog does indeed reflect Lessig’s writings literally, I’ve made the assumption that his writings lend themselves more to an understanding of mutual benefit. In that sense, while the internet must remain a place free of higher authority, general, unwritten rules that promote the benefit and wellbeing of each user does somewhat exist. We are all users of Cyberspace, so lets all do the right thing by each other.

  6. I’m not sure whether I can subscribe to the idea that cyberspace is a place where the rules of reality don’t apply. Sure platforms like WoW and Second Life allow users to create new personas and participate in a world outside their everyday lives but do rules not apply there? Is it not just a virtual community with their own rules, regulations, codes of conduct? I mean, you can go to jail in Second Life right!? With so much of ourselves playing out online these days, I feel like reality is where I go to hide, switching off for me is literally, switching off my array of Apple products and going back to the safety of hard copy for a couple of hours.

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