chapter  9
10 Pages

The future of the virtual

The virtual implies a willingness to believe in the reality of dreams, and marks the concern with history and the past as well as creative change. Dyens (2002: 33) agrees that the virtual is ‘a

perception that is alive’ which forces us to re-examine our ontological assumptions, ‘defined by a biological understanding of the world’ that only organic matter is alive or participates in social interactions (see also Chapter 2). It furthermore challenges our epistemological assumptions and ‘truth practices’ in which we tend to treat the concrete as the only and final site of ‘Truth’. In the case of digital virtuality, rather than being concerned about the immateriality of the virtual it is the exchange between organic matter and the virtual or cultural that is of paramount importance. Dyens holds out the possibility of conceiving of a ‘cultural animal’, a ‘non-organic being’ that fuses the concrete and virtual. Such a being might consist mostly of information – such as a virus (a parasitical sequence of DNA or RNA, which uses a host organism to reproduce and disseminate itself, which has until recently been treated as non-living but organic, informational but biological – in short virtual, (Dyens, 2002: 33ff.).