Second Life and the Marxist theory of alienation (Dave’s Part)

Religion,’ Marx wrote, ‘is indeed the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself or has already lost himself again … It is the fantastic realisation of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality.

‘The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.”

The parallels with Second Life are plentiful. Sure, at one level, this virtual reality world is harmless fun, no different in principle from any other form of the escapism in which all of us sometimes indulge.

Unlike religion, Second Life isn’t even accompanied a more or less intellectually rigorous belief system with the ability to inspire both the better and the baser human instincts. These days, it looks like even alienation has to be dumbed down for mass consumption. [link]

Rory Cellan-Jones on not being fooled by ‘surveys’

Rory rightly dismisses a press release that uses an ‘survey’ and twists the results so as to appear newsworthy. “So, while I’ll admit that I’ve occasionally fallen for this kind of stunt in the past, I’m going to resist it this time. But don’t be surprised if you pick up a paper this week and read “Secrets of the Granny Gamers.”” [link]

Mark Steel – Video Lectures Online

Free downloads of some of Mark’s TV lecture series. The man may only really do one joke (“see this thing of historical or political importance, it’s a bit like when you lose your shoes isn’t it?”), but he does it with panache and is possibly the only person who I find myself never disagreeing with. Apart from cricket, he likes cricket. [link]