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Inner multiplicity: virtual communities to experience different selves | Non tutto ma di tutto

Inner multiplicity: virtual communities to experience different selves

Was more or less 10 years ago when I heard for the first time the theory of the multiple personalities of the individual, not consiered as a pathology but as a natural state of our soul, foundamental engine for our personal growth and evolution. This was part of a complex theory of the human soul and cosmogeny, and coud be easy to get rid of these concept as a “new age” credence…. but it sounds familiar and convincing. In these years I experimented several times, on me and on the others, how this theroy can explain a lot of the apparent inconsistencies of people’s behaviour.

So, I was particularly intrigued when I read “First Person Plural” by Paul Bloom

An evolving approach to the science of pleasure suggests that each of us contains multiple selves—all with different desires, and all fighting for control. If this is right, the pursuit of happiness becomes even trickier. Can one self bind” another self if the two want different things? Are you always better off when a Good Self wins? And should outsiders, such as employers and policy makers, get into the fray?

There are several concept in this articles that are interesting, offering many cues that can be useful for a team leader, a martketing responsible or simply a person that want to imprve the relation with himself and the others.

1) What we remember and what we experience can be different. Our working time can be less stressful than a sunday spent thinking about monday morning, and reaseraches evidences that people asked to randomly record their activity and mood each time they hear a beep were on average “happier” in working time than in vacation. Paul Bloom gives more evidence of this inconguence of memories.

Personally I believe that too ofter the working envioronment doesn’t allow to express all the different personalities of us as human being, and this is a huge loss of potential both for the indivual than for the organization.

Self and others acceptance, the incentive to express completely going sometimes outside the borders is a practice that should be encouraged especially a team level.

2) Absoulte coherence is not necessary a value.

The idea is that instead, within each brain, different selves are continually popping in and out of existence. They have different desires, and they fight for control—bargaining with, deceiving, and plotting against one another.

” Walt Whitman gave us a pithier version: “I am large, I contain multitudes.”

Our different personalities may have different point of views, that can be experienced and understood  while these personalities are expressing themselves. Communication between our different selves, and the persistence of the stimulus in different occasion of our life make this internal dialogue easier allowing to express our inner wealth. On the other hand, a censure on opinion change can create barriers between our different point of views.

3) We can experience outside “real life”

After all, the most common leisure activity is not sex, eating, drinking, drug use, socializing, sports, or being with the ones we love. It is, by a long shot, participating in experiences we know are not real—reading novels, watching movies and TV, daydreaming, and so forth. Enjoying fiction requires a shift in selfhood. You give up your own identity and try on the identities of other people, adopting their perspectives so as to share their experiences. This allows us to enjoy fictional events that would shock and sadden us in real life.

There is a great opportunity offered by Internet and especially by the virtual immersive environment as Second Life, Play Station Home and the constantly increasing virtual worlds: being an active player in a fiction environment.

The sociologist Sherry Turkle has found that people commonly create avatars so as to explore their options in a relatively safe environment.

By this perspective, the ideal virtual worlds is the one that allows to express inner-self potential and experiment situation that can be useful in day-by-day life.

virtualworlds-radar-v6Some interesting evidence can come from trends in virtual worlds creations. A useful map by KZero shows how VW for adults are mirror worlds and  the ones focused on socializing and content creation.

There is a debate on the effect of virtual worlds on behaviour and personality development. In a safe environment people can adopt unusual behaviours, personalities and way of interacting in a quasi-real, where experimenting different selves

The process of self-binding happens when one self can predict that it will later be dominated by another self, and it can act to block the crossing—an act that Thomas Schelling and the philosopher Jon Elster have explored in detail.  This is, for example, one of the process that can be overcomed in a virtual environment with (almost) no immediate consequence for real life.

Can it be a good opportunity? That depends by the virtual social environment: on how violence or abuse are judged and on the value schema that is created to drive participantrs to self-improvement. I have experienced by myself how healty relations created in virtual environment cah be traslated into real life. Balancing the 2 aspect is of course foundamental, but there are many evidence that Virtual worlds can enhance and increase our potential as individual and teams.

4) Self-binding can be a good strategy or a risk

Blooms goes deeper in the analysis of the long-term and short term self and in the implications of self-binding, increasingly used by the goverment to regulate peoples behaviour. While this latter is actually worring, self-binding can be a useful strategy when we want to overcome critical aspect of one of the our-selves.

Thinking yourself as a community of peers can help self-improvement, self-consciousness and relation with others, and in this meaning might be more useful to “convince” your different selves instead of binding…

In these sense, Bloom’s closing is a good hint:

The community of selves shouldn’t be a democracy, but it shouldn’t be a dictatorship, either.

Max Ramaciotti

Digital Transformation Manager and Business developer mixing service design, management and marketing skills to create value for major brands in fashion, luxury and retail. I have managed technology-innovative initiatives in the fields of Marketing&Communication, eCommerce and Customer Interaction Management with an "omnichannel approach" since the first entrepreneurial initiatives in the '90.
 Now Head of Digital in Sopra Steria, operating in the fields of omnichannel commerce and digital transformation for the major international brands in luxury and retail industry.
 My passion for sharing is also expressed in teaching courses on Digital Media Marketing, Customer Interaction Management, eCommerce and Digital Retail.

 Specialties: Innovation and Business Development, Marketing, Project and team management, eCommerce, Customer Interaction Management, Communication. Other oddity: Acting in a non professional group since '88, love to experiment and discover on different topics, especially related to self-improvement and awareness.

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