The Tabula Rasa of MMORPG & Plane Crashes

Definitions of Tabula Rasa on the Web (via Google):

Erased tablet (Latin).

(Latin). A clean slate; a blank or erased tablet.

Latin for “blank tablet”; also, John Locke’s metaphor for the condition of the mind prior to the imprint of sensory experience.

a young mind not yet affected by experience (according to John Locke)

fresh start: an opportunity to start over without prejudice

LOST - ABC TV Media Photo Recent events have been leading us to the idea of tabula rasa. Not too long ago, we’ve best seen this in the movie Matrix, where Neo was a low-life common man in reality, but became “The One” in the Matrix. IFTF’s Future Now blogged a piece about the worldwide blockbuster sales of online games such as HALO 2 and World of Warcraft which renders the virtual world mainstream, thus forcing many people to re-evaluate themselves, their identity. Even Prime Time television series such as LOST (absolutely thrilling x-files-like story on survivors from a plane crash) repeatedly remind you that in order to survive, you had to drop/forget whatever you’ve had in your “previous life”. Indeed, for I am trying to explain the phenomenon of how finally the creative people will thrive, for whatever the course this life had planned for you, perhaps you might have done better or worse in another!

But what does all this mean to me? Who cares? Why care?
Perhaps in the near future, the virtual world would be closer to reality than it is today, one where being in the virtual could sustain the real. Right now reality is fueling the virtual, supporting the very hardware and software that drives that space. With the cost of such support falling, perhaps the economics of the virtual could later be a “return of investment” to support the physical person who thrives in the virtual domain. The recent decision of Jason Kottke to end his professional career as a popular web designer marked his transition to be supported by the virtual in order to pursue his love for blogging (also see “$2.50 for your thoughts” by Red Herring and “Quit Your Job to Blog, Blog, Blog” by Wired News). Virtual characters and property have been sold for real-world currency, creating the first virtual to reality exchange currency (See “Open Gaming Market, “Virtual cash exchange goes live” by BBC news, and “Internet Currencies for Virtual Communities” by Bernard Lietaer). If Alvin Toffler was indeed right about us being in the Third Wave (Information Age), then perhaps this is finally bring us in full circle… that information is indeed change which incites change and like everything else, forms a simple but potent means for economic power.

BTW: I just discovered that producers of LOST named the strange hunter survivor in the show after the guy who defined Tabula Rasa (See above), i.e. Locke! How sneaky of them! Makes sense since Locke is the only survivor who seems to have a natural affinity to the mysterious island.