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Real and virtual

Being and Appearing

Being and appearing correspond with reality and desire, what we are and what we would like to be and what we want others to think we are.

Almost everyone in their lives, has a mixture of being and appearing, everyone has their percentage and amount of each element. It is hard to go back once used to showing ourselves in the most opportune way according to necessity. We have stopped dedicating ourselves to the understanding of our own reality, that is, how we really are. Even less time, we spend on truly trying to improve ourselves, for we are all too busy improving that image we want to give of us.

Retrieving that habit of substance, finding the mental state which enables us to relate with reality and real people, and not with their image, is a long trip which can be tedious. Sometimes the commitment towards appearing is so great that we end up believing ourselves to be just like we would like to appear. Remaining victims of our mystification. At this point resuming contact with reality can be extremely painful.

Admitting that we are anything but what we desire to be can cost very much (in psychological terms), but it is an inevitable passage if you want to turn to the right way.

The reality we come in contact with every day in many cases is appearance, even in the most banal things. A cup of hot chocolate contains only a minimum quantity of cocoa, yet it is a drink which seems to be chocolate. It has the same color and a vague taste of chocolate, but its made with substitute ingerdients.

Fruit and vegetables are beautiful, but we buy them to eat them and not to look at them. Most of those pre-prepared dishes look like something which they are not, having only a vague trace (and dose) of those ingredients which should compose it.

The idea is to take the characterizing element and if one can not substitute it completely, then keep only a minimum quantity of it, so it will be accepted on the market and use substitute elements for the rest.

Unfortunately, many people have learned from these swindlers, so in front of the original product they do not recognize it and often do not appreciate it because "too strong".

In this case there are two elements to be considered, the first is economical. Producing things the way they should be costs too much (it would not give enough profit) both in terms of time and ingredients. The second is based on the conviction that most do not know quality and in any case are willing to renounce to it for convenience. At the base of all this is ignorance, the not knowing, which brings us to renounce to quality even if there is no need to.

Quality is important, more important than what we usually believe it to be, and only in some cases it is a luxury. In most cases itís available to all, itís a way of being and (broadly speaking) it does not cost more.

For example, to cook good spaghetti you need the same time and amount of work as to cook bad spaghetti. You just need to know how to do it. Of course, for those who find everything always too tiring and not working, the most important thing, all this is meaningless. If they do not want to get any benefit from it (its exhausting) we will not be the ones to force them. Their life will be the result of their way of being, of their own choices and of those choices that other people make which regard him.

In any case he will be the one who will end up paying for it.Quality is a way of living. I do not mean an obsessed attitude, which I think makes life less enjoyable. What I am talking about is that attitude which brings us to choose, when possible, the best quality instead of the worst one, leaving us the ability to use at best also what is shoddy. In order to choose you must know and recognize, this presupposes being curious. Curiosity and knowledge, to feel better.

Quality is indispensable, we can not do without it, so much that even if we deny its existence, one way or another, it comes back. It may be disguised, but even more pressing.

 Real and Virtual

"Líha ciapŗ la vaca per le bale," which means "he took the cow (yes, cow) by its testicles." (from an ancient manual of wisdom)On one side the wish to give as many people as possible the opportunity to use as many goods as possible. The consequence is having to give everyone something that merely recalls what was promised, while not being able to give the original (due to the cost) to all.

On the other hand the needs, which have not been satisfied by the substitutes (and at times may be dangerous) demand satisfaction obtaining only other substitutes. The result is the growing need to amplify, in any way and with any method, the disappointing result, and finally reach the long desired satisfaction.

In some way Aladdinís button turns up again. Here is a service, which at a more or less reasonable price, just by pressing a button (= paying), solves the problem in a second and without hard work.

The temptation is strong. Itís a shame that this rarely satisfies completely the initial need, even though it may seem it does. This is because normally missing quality leaves us unsatisfied, even if only unconsciously accumulates. Dissatisfaction over dissatisfaction, it creates a state of complete dissatisfaction and general frustration which adds, strengthens, and enlarges the conscious dissatisfaction.Another example of this attitude, which obtains similar results, is to rely on title, indexes, and summaries, continuously delaying that close examination which will probably never be done. Right, the newspaper titles become substitutes for the articles themselves. Moreover the television basically has always applied the same principle, without us even realizing.

This is the mechanism: there is no time thus we must be concise. We are targeted by all types of information, therefore we must choose by reading summaries, which only give us a part of the message. With time we become used to this and donít care to read more closely, itís such a pain! 

Everything remains superficial, giving us less, taking up little time and passing away faster, in order to let us immediately consume another one. We consume with a certain madness for the thing before gave us little, too little, leaving us dissatisfied.Here snaps the spring which brings us to the sensation, mood, capability and what have you "amplifiers," which are able to give satisfaction. Reality becomes a sort of "hit and run", but with the amplifier of the moment (stimulants, excitants, joints, and similar), and extreme sports, our emotions are increased.

I believe that it is better to learn to feel strong sensations and emotions, very strong, even extreme in a normal way, living them fully and not just skimming them.

The consciousness of what we live can give us absolutely extreme sensations. It all comes down to getting used to living in the present reality, learning, grasping, and enjoying all its positive aspects. Itís the attitude with which we face situations and give then edge.

There are those whom instinctively have this approach and others whom must learn it. This does not matter as long as all eventually do it. In everyday life simplification, the use of symbols which replaces the original, of the placebo which recalls the original, has become a rule so abused that we have lost confidence, knowledge, and capability of coping with the original. Coarse representations, and caricatures become substitutes of the original represented. Here too, many people have learned to recognize them as the only reality. Obviously, they are not enough, they do not appease, so it is necessary to use amplifiers again.

The same thing happens in the virtual world created by computers, which is becoming for a large number of people "a reality," but it is a partial and coarse representation. This is due to the limits of technology (hardware and software) and to the capability of representation, for who uses it all is passed off as a reality.

Mind you, virtual reality is reality, but of another kind, we can not confuse the representative with the represented. Instead, it is what really happens, with the consequence of creating great confusion in ideas, beliefs, communication, and comprehension amongst people.

This simplified experience creates a state of uneasiness, at the moment of impact with reality, so it becomes harder to understand, administer, and live.

Human beings and the reality that surrounds them are very complex, and the lack of familiarity with them created unease, indisposition, and further detachment from reality. This detachment becomes easily denied by saying that the real reality is the one known, the one learned, and not the one not known and not understood.

This substitution is not conscious, even if we all know that we all prefer to escape in video games, which are much nicer and we know better (less frightening), than reality. The unconscious substitution means that we truly believe that reality is the fake one, causing all its consequences. All this brings to the loss of capability of administering reality, which causes an increase in fear.

Marco Dal Negro