Discussions of the Internet and it’s numerous “cousins” haft to use language naming the group or set of “somethings.” Obviously, that language–those names–must be somehow conjoined to the word “cyber.” Here are some widely used locutions: “cyberworld,” “cyber-world,” “cyberspace,” “cyber-space,” “cyber-reality,” “virtual-[all the preceding],” and more.
Many are nervous, frustrated, irritated, upset, etc., by the fact that these new semantic constructions are MISLEADING, par excellance. And rightly so. Of course, history changes language. “The phrase “fuck you” has a whole new–and now widely used–meaning. The new active verb “to text” is grating to the ear; the noun “mouse” is an odd addition, but what the hell.
The nouns “cyber-something]” is a wholly different matter. They are terms with a kind of revolutionary (implied) meaning which–get this–dangerously transforms most acceptable metaphysical, ontological theories of (or overall views of) the real world, of everything that exists.
Calling something a “cyberworld” or “cyber-world” implies that there are two separate worlds. Any conception of any world involves the world consisting of some sort of something, whether it is a physical object, ideas in the mind of the Creator, ideas in the mind of each person, and so forth. In every case, they are part of the same world. There is no physically respectable view in which there are two separate worlds. There is no such thing even possible as a “real world” and a “virtual world,” both of which exist. The whole idea of a “virtual world” suggests that such a world does not really exist but almost does.
Even if the mind and the body, something about which there has been a philosophical controversy for well more than 2500 years, are separate and “made out of distinct substances,” one material and the other not, they are not part of the same world. It is not the case that one exists, and does not but comes close.
Even those who believe in God or gods and make Him/Her/or/It the creator(s) of the universe are still part of the same world. Neither of them is somehow “virtual reality.” This is a phrase for psychologists trying to deal with an atheist or agnostic possessed by a huge but befuddled imagination. Not even those who believe in flying dragons–or, better yet–splendid and glorious angels, believe that they are not part of this world if they exist.
Every term that is a name of an existing something, virtually on its face, that which is named is part of this world, if it exists. If mathematical concepts and/or equations exist independent of minds, they are part of this world–the one and only existing world.
There is no reality opposed to a cyber world. Yet the opposite is exactly what the phrases being discussed suggest. The opposition suggests that there is real opposition between something which is real and something that is unreal. There is no something that is not real. Even if the mind and the body are not, as it were, made of the same stuff–thus there is the “Mind-Body Problem”–they still inhabit the same world. The idea that there exists something that is not real also warps the imagination; it stands in the way of grasping true reality–as if anything else could possibly exist, and it retards (and will retard) intellectual progress in the heads of both young and old.
The iniquitous phraseology, will–alas–lead to a whole new system of words. Here are some examples: “cyberworldology,” “cyberworldification,” cyberworldmystification.” Phrasings somewhat like this are not problematic; consider “cyber bullying”; however, most of them contain no suggestion of a separate reality. That would pop into implied virtual being if the phrase was “cyberworld bullying.” Rest assured! Such bullying is fully and not just virtually real. Now consider a genuinely puzzling case. Is there such a thing as cyber-world bullshit? What would this be? Virtually existing manure from a type of cow? Of course, “cyber-shit” is a good usage; all that says is that there is metaphorical shit to be found “on” the Internet. The idea of cyber mysticism seems to work as well, although there cannot be such a thing as mystical knowledge of the cyber world, since the latter does not exist, even if the former does.
Alas, many will continue to use the phrases; I certainly will, even though it causes the very oddest of dreams. Most of the true, unbelieving, anti-cyber-world advocates continue this dangerous course because no one can come up with an alternative usage–a usage that would actually work.
Maybe we all are simply stuck. There is a problem with that reality. It is a misrepresentation to have an insurance policy named “Cyberworld Insurance.” But since there is no such thing as a cyberworld, is not the name of the policy suggesting that there is such a thing, and isn’t that a misrepresentation?
Originally posted on 09/17/2013 @ 9:58 pm