If you know yourself, then who is your avatar?

I've been reading a lot over the last few years about the way people identify themselves.  The ways we define ouselves don't seem comfortably fixed the way one might prefer.  Study after study shows identity to be a fluid experieence that can morph to fill a role.

For example, from physorg, Although often seen as an inconsequential feature of digital technologies, one's self-representation, or avatar, in a virtual environment can affect the user's thoughts, according to research by a University of Texas at Austin communication professor.

In this study, preselected traits in a subjects avatar influenced their thoughts and behaviors.  They fell in line with the role they were inhabiting as the avatar.  Things as simple as wearing a dark cloak made them more antisocial.  This has already been demonstrated in normal reality studies.  Now the fluid identity can flow to the virtual.

If an avatar wasn't enough for you, what about a new physical body?  www.neurosciencenews.com/cogntive-neuroscientists-body-swapping.htm, Cognitive neuroscientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet (KI) have succeeded in making subjects perceive the bodies of mannequins and other people as their own. 

What does this say about who you think you are?  Are we something fixed?  Or are we an energy that shifts and flows about, filling the roles available like water fills a gully?  What is identity?  If it is something fluid, can it be examined as a fluid, or as some kind of flowing energy transfer?

The air force was able to reproduce out of body experiences in pilots at Luke AFB under high g-forces.   Their identities separated from their bodies and observed from elsewhere.

Unsettling or freeing depending on which side of your identity you occupy today! 


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