Virtual communities, relationships and being somewhere different

Self Control

First a bit about self-control which is not related to the rest of the post but I saw this and feel the need to…

So, according to an article in THE

“Tough situations in which students have to exert self-control, such as making a difficult decision or biting one’s tongue in an argument with a partner, can reduce their ability to learn effectively, a conference has heard. Research carried out at Ashridge Business School found that “ego depletion” – in which the brain is drained of the power to exert self-control – could affect mental performance, including in the academic domain.”

Ah, bless their hearts ! Does it hurt? Those poor little bright young things of the future !

Well it depends how much effort you use – self control is not a resource in itself.

Sure if I go into a shop and see chocolate – if I then run out of the shop waving my hands and shrieking MUST RESSSSSIIIIISSSTTT, I’m certainly going to use up a lot of energy. (note to self, wonder if its worth doing just to see how many calories I use up in the process). Equally biting tongue, resisting a sneeze, or the urge to laugh at a totally inappropriate moment in a work-related conversation, I can’t be the only person who has had to do this – it really doesn’t have to be a big deal. I don’t feel that depleted ! Surely resistance produces equally positive reactions in other parts of the brain, its not like we use our whole brain to exercise self control, its not just thinking either, any movements we use in our self-control too, as per muscle memory from yesterday’s post.

Right, onto Communities

A beautiful post from Dragoncave about Communities of Elsewhere, including the internet where space is collapsed, virtual relationships develop but can be both simple and complex. I recently saw Jack Dee mention on tv that

“the only thing you ever really know about a person you meet online, is that they can type” (1)

Not that it stops us exploring and communicating online with others. We all have different paths to travel the great unknown and even though we can access more pointers, it doesn’t seem like we ever know more personally?

“If the Internet is not a huge Elsewhere Community, it is at least a collection of many Elsewheres. Some merge and overlap, many do not. But discovering which is which is another kind of learning journey, another kind of roadtrip for the mind to discover and gain knowledge from. And be changed by, even as the land and what we build upon it change, albeit at different rates.”

Our alternative realities and identities are tumbling over each other all the time and it looks like in increasing intensity. We continually change our ideas as we move into new phases, especially when we move away from the comfortable and familiar but how wonderful it is to find something that you do not understand at all, what an incredible place to start again and a different direction to take, with a totally different atmosphere, different sounds, sights, opinions.

1. Jack Dee, Live at the Apollo Series, available at: