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Relationship Between Virtuality And Reality

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Relationship between Virtuality and Reality

Imagine when you go to a grocery store to buy toothpaste. Will you buy the brand which often shows up on TV commercials or the one that you have never heard of but with lower price? I assume that most people, including me, will buy the first kind of toothpaste. Is it really better than the second one? Not really. Economists probably might say that the first one is more expensive is not because it is actually better than the second one but is because it has TV commercial cost. Then why are people still buying the first brand? Is it the magic of advertisements? Sherry Turkles in her article "Virtuality and Its Discontents" , Virginia Colwell in her article “Mail-Order Brides: The Content of Internet Courtship” , and Charles Baxter in his article "Shame and Forgetting in The Information Age" all talked about how virtuality affects our lives. TV creates a virtual world where everything is perfect, and more importantly it is controlled. All the commercials are talking about the good aspects of a product but never the bad ones. People even name some products as the brand name, like Kleenex for tissues. People then use that virtuality when they go buy things at stores because they think the products will make the reality perfect like the virtual world, but they never do, since virtuality is created reality, and should not be confused with life. They can complement each other, but they are different in many ways.

At the beginning of her article, Turkles describes a scene of people having coffee in an internet cafÐ"©. Why do people prefer sitting in front of a computer "talking" to someone they have never met rather than going to a real cafÐ"©, sitting and talking with real friends? She later makes a valid point saying that women are actually building a world when they read novel, which suggests that a virtual world is helping people create a dream which can never or hardly come true in real life: "Romance reading becomes a form of resistance, a challenge to the stultifying categories of everyday life.”(56) Virtuality, as mentioned before, is a perfectly created reality and everything in the virtual world is imagined by people's will. In these circumstances, people prefer the virtual world rather than the real world where unexpected things always happen and rule people's actions.

From above, we can now understand why people regard virtuality as a way of escape from real life. As Turkles says in her article, "MUD friendships are more intense than real ones, and when things don't work out you can always leave."(57), but if they have a fight with others in a real cafÐ"©, they cannot leave the situation unsolved. This results in the consequence that more and more people are indulging in virtuality. When people come out of it, they can no longer get used to reality so that they prefer not coming out at all.

Though virtuality brings us relief and helps to release us from stressful work, it also makes our generation selfish and less concerned about others. The more time you spend in virtuality, the less time you share with friends and family since we only have 24 hours a day. Think about the virtuality-indulged kid in a family that always pretends to be deaf when parents tell him that dinner is ready. People don’t care about anything when they are in virtuality. Therefore, virtuality creates a lack of responsibility in our society.

In virtuality, everybody is just a created persona without human emotions. Consider online shooting game is an example. Teenagers, especially boys, love guns. As technology develops, they can easily play shooting games online with other people. People try their best to “kill” each other, which cannot cross over to real life. It is dangerous when they indulge in these games and mix the virtuality and reality up. One



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