AKMA has started a Digital Bodies conversation that follows on David Weinberger's thoughts about how we perceive our online presense. Namely, David is concerned that we are going all Matrix with our willingness to consider our online personnae (bodies) the same as our real world bodies. Specifically, David responds:
But...I continue to worry about what lesson we learn from the fact that these immaterial relationships are so real, so valuable. Many other lessons of the Web bring us back from our alienated real-world beliefs. This particular one seems to me to reinforce our real-world alienation from our bodies. "See, we can have perfectly good friendships without bodies ever being there," we learn from the Web.
Please forgive my non-philosophers approach, but I don't quite get why this is so worrying. My relationships are different things from my body. I develop realtionships, both in person and online. These relationships are what is special about what has developed, not the fact of how they developed. Without my body, there isn't a me with which to have relationships.
This is where some of the problem comes in, I think: The online relationships are perceived to be somehow disembodied. But isn't that the point? It doesn't really matter what or where my body is, the relationship still feels the same. The relationship doesn't happen to my body (well...) it happens to me. I feel the same way about the family, whether I see them or not.
The dangling part of this train is still the option for someone to say that they don't need a body to have these relationships. That their mind could be downloaded into a computer - or field of hops - and continue holding these relationships.