1. Would you like your mind blown today? Read this longer piece in The New Yorker about “virtual embodiment.” It sounds like some amazing opportunities for learning and healing with this–so I bet we’re going to make it commercial and destructive instead. Regardless, the most interesting thing I’ve read all week.
“I need you to think of a personal problem that is causing a bit of distress in your life,” Neyret said, while I went through a few embodiment exercises. “You will explain the problem to Freud. Then, when you finish speaking, you will press this button”—she guided my hand to a controller—“and you will enter Freud’s body. Listen carefully to yourself, and try to give yourself some advice.”
The virtual world shifted. I was sitting at a desk in an expansive, glass-walled house. Outside, wildflowers punctuated a sunlit lawn. Across from me, behind his own desk, sat Sigmund Freud. There was a large red light on my desk. It turned green.
I paused, uncertain how to begin. “My mother is in a nursing home, and when I get updates from people who visit her I feel guilty,” I said.
I pushed the button, and the world shifted again. Now I was Freud. I looked down at myself—white shirt, gray suit—and, in a nearby mirror, inspected my beard. Across from me, behind a desk, sat my avatar, wearing a blue shirt, gray jeans, and brown boots. He opened his mouth, then closed it. He settled his hands in his lap and looked at them.
2. This is old but I have been thinking of it again, along with the handy chart: How Not To Say The Wrong Thing.
“Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, ‘Life is unfair’ and ‘Why me?’ That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.
Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.”