Imaging Thought

I have finished and posted the essay that all of these posts have worked toward completing. The title ended up being “Imaging Place As Imaging Thought: Deleuze, Electracy, and Second Life.” One insight I reached in the process of writing it is that there is a connection between Deleuze’s call for a new image of thought and the new kind of thinking that Ulmer calls forth with his concept of “electracy.” Another insight I discovered is that the “imaging place” that cognitive metaphors of the Mind as a Body moving through space is a form of imaging thought. That is, we automatically image thought using these metaphorical concepts that Lakoff and Johnson have discuss.

The second part of the essay was an experiment in “thinking with Second Life.” I call it “Disorientation” as it is meant to throw into doubt some of our cherished beliefs about rationality. A startling coincidence occurred. I chose randomly, among the multitude of pink stars (indicating events in the Second Life cartographic interface), the one for the place called “The Think Differently Lounge.” And the funny thing about the place was that it was like most of the other dance halls you might encounter in SL, but this one had a grid-like structure for a ceiling and walls. And there were no obvious exits. I couldn’t find one, at any rate. So after teleporting directly into the “Think Differently Lounge,” I was trapped and surrounded by a highlyl striated (grid-like) barrier. Striation is a codeword in Deleuze and Guattari for a process that has congealed, crystallized, stabilized: all flows have slowed to a rigidity–the state (vs. the nomad), the tree (vs. the rhizome), stratification (vs. destratification), the striated space (vs. the smooth space), the territorialized (vs. the deterritorialized). I use the term in the paper to invoke this concept of theirs, in order to suggest that any form of thinking differently eventually settles in and becomes the norm. It’s a common enough, almost cliched conclusion to reach, but it was interesting to have it happen on one of the only occasions that I consciously went into SL with the intention to perform an act of electrate reasoning. Out of the experience emerged the kind of allegory (down to the woman who accompanied me, called “Nar Duell,” which sounds suspiciously like “Ne’er Do Well,” like a character one would encounter in a bona fide allegory straight out of the Middle Ages) one might expect to see more of in the emerging age of electracy.

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