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Jessica Doyle, IDSVAFollow





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This dissertation examines philosophical modes of understanding subject formation within the realm of the virtual. I primarily base the evaluations within the concepts of misrecognition, alienation, and purposelessness found within the virtual world. I discuss the strength of the mirroring image while at play in the virtual game, which leads players to greater heights of understanding as to who they are and who they might become. Interactivity within the virtual, coupled with play and forms of meditative reflection, offer the player unique paths to finding freedom. Drawing primarily on the work of Jacques Lacan, G. W. F. Hegel, Martin Heidegger, and Friedrich Nietzsche, I demonstrate how creation within the virtual realm holds promise for an improved nature of becoming autonomous creators of one’s life content and surrounding communities. My analysis takes Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage by showing how the virtual uniquely provides choice beyond the self. Hegel’s concepts of self-consciousness, spirit, and mind are linked in the broader sense to the virtual space. Nietzsche’s views on self-creation and will to power are expounded upon within the ability to design one’s life. Heidegger’s views on technology and authenticity are considered in relation to the authentic inner self found when playing. I argue that the emerging genre of virtual play is not as much about a personal escape, but that of a spiritual journey. The power of becoming self-aware is understood in terms of its ability to enhance what one brings back to physical reality. The virtual experience does not deplete life’s tangibility. Rather, it has the ability to give one’s life new meaning, and imbue a stronger sense of self––a new impression of reality. It is my contention that virtual interactivity covertly activates the cognitive mode to return the player to a state of authenticity that was previously veiled.

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Art Practice | Game Design | Interactive Arts | Philosophy


Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts


Portland, Maine

Meditative Interactivity: The Power to Create the Self Through the Virtual



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