Oneness Plus Two Equals Six: An Essay by Extropia DaSilva


In the essay ‘Virals And Definitives’, I explained that ‘some… see SL as most strongly linked with novels, theatres and movies… technologies that can organise patterns of information in such a way as to make you or I believe in the existence of somebody or something that does not necessarily exist in RL’. Just as every literary character owes its existence to an author, and every puppet requires a puppeteer, so behind a digital person we consider there to be someone out there somewhere in RL, typing away at a keyboard. Digi is no different. He knows there is a puppeteer working Tal, and Tal knows there is an author crafting Digi’s words and actions. Carrie Fisher once noted, ‘I am not famous; Princess Leia is’, drawing a line between her life and that of the iconic character she once performed. Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia are two different people. Something like this seperation exists between a digital person and its primary.

Two have become four, but we are still missing two other people.

But think about what has been happening in your mind as you read these words. You can hear a voice in your head. It is the voice of your inner self, the voice that subjectively expresses your thoughts. Only, the words you hear being spoken are not YOUR words. The thoughts those words convey are not YOUR thoughts. They are MY words expressing MY thoughts. I have used written language’s extraordinary capacity to trigger language circuits of the brain and in doing so I (in some sense) have become you, or, you have become me.

The same thing happens whenever Digi and Tal converse via text in SL. As Digi reads Tal’s words, language circuits in the primary’s brain are activated and, even if only partially, Digi is Tal (or Tal is Digi). Moreover, human brains are machines complex enough to have achieved stage 4 of Stephen M. Omohundro’s  5 stages of technology:

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