Virtual Psychological Culture
(from: Information Technologies and Programming. Proceedings of 21-st International Conference. Plovdiv, 1996, pp.53-56)
The wide circulation of computers gives the basis for cyberfuturists to speak that there comes epoch of cyberculture. Using of computers, really, can become cyberculture, but absolutly not because of computers will become much. There are much, for example, telephone apparatus, but anybody does not speak about telephone culture. There problems is not in amount and breadth of application, but in whether cyberculture find that human need, which it will satisfy. And such need, in satisfaction of which, firstly, requires enough large part of mankind, and secondly, which cannot be satisfied by any other means also easily, as by computers. Otherwise the computer user technologies or will become destiny of a narrow circle of fans, or, even if will find wide application, they will not become a cultural phenomenon, remaining only by a convenient means of satisfaction of were available need, as, for example, the telephone in culture really has not changed anything, only having facilitated way of the communications - the communications on the phone itself hasn't become an end in itself with occurrence of the telephone. Cyberculture in its modern kind has the chance to repeat a history of photoculture. When the camera has become rather accessible, euphoria has occurred, that the photo will attach the broad masses of the population to art, as the creation of a photo requires of person the skills of composition, feeling of colour and so on. What's the result of this process? The industry stamps completely automated chambers, processes of display and printing of a photo are also completely automated. A person from the art point of view doesn't need any skills. And the art of a photo remaines privilege of narrow group of the professionals. But absolutly other history was at such innovations as printed machine tool or clock. Now everyone read and write, everyone live using clocks. Writing and the exact time has become the elements of mass culture, and the ability to read and to supervise internal time in terms of astronomic time (second, minute, hour and etc.) has become the "natural" mental abilities of the person. To become an element of mass culture, computers should make something similar. The main labels of modern cyberculture are cybersex, cyberart, cyberreality etc. This labels are primitive, based on advertising affectation of the population. Really, it is possible to make cybersex, but why for all? About small cultural potention of cyberculture speaks the fact, that the main emphasis in advertising campaign for the benefit of cyberculture is done on opportunity of satisfaction of the not best human instincts: sex, violence etc. All this speaks that cyberculture has not yet found own psychological contents. But there is the opportunity of occurrence of a new cultural phenomenon, which would be possible to name "cyberculture", and is exacter "virtual psychological culture". This opportunity can be realized, if there will be the synthesis two while independent spheres of culture: virtual psychology and virtual computer technology. The modern culture has now entered next coil of increased interest to extraordinary phenomena of human mentality. This interest finds expression in most different forms: from study and practice of various esoteric systems up to enthusiasm traspersonal psychology, mysticism, astrology etc. down to is wide the uses narcotics. The presence of this interest is display of certain need. If this need will not find enough simple and cheap means satisfaction, it, as it was always in history, will go on loss, displaying self only in narrow circle so requiring in its satisfaction, that they are ready to spend huge efforts for this purpose. The virtual computer technology could quite become those means, but this purpose necessary needs such psychological model (theory), which would allow to operate that mental reality, in which occur extraordinary mental events. There are all basis to name this reality as a virtual reality. Psychology of virtual realities should for this purpose be developed: virtual psychology. But cyberculture on the basis of virtual psychology has become a phenomenon of culture, development and the distribution special, virtual, way of understanding of the world is necessary yet. That virtual paradigm has become standard, there are all basis: firstly, in various branches of a science and practice (from physics of elementary particles up to computer technologies and humanitarian sciences) the idea of virtuality becomes more and more recognized, and secondly, there is the social need for new ways of understanding of the world. Saying the word "virtual reality", we should explain, what we call by this word. The virtual reality, irrespective of which it is - physical, psychological or computer - is characterized by the following properties: designed, actuality, interactivity (Nosov, 1994). Designed. A virtual reality is product of the activity of any other reality, external in relation to it. In this sense it names "artificial", "created" etc. Psychological virtual reality is the product of mentality of the person. Actuality. The virtual reality is exist urgent, only "here and now". Virtual reality has own space, time and laws of existence. For person, were in a virtual reality, is not present externl space and time. Interactivity. The virtual reality can cooperate with all other realities, including with inducing, as independent. The properties psychological virtual reality are easily illustrated on such phenomenon, as a dream. You always see a dream by youself only with your own point of view, and just you experience all events occurring in a dream. You can not look the dream of other person. In dream you are always present, even if see self dead. You can not disappear, to die, to stop existence. And the dream exists only while you sleep. The virtual psychology has an opportunity to rationalize and to enter into mass culture elements many of mystical practicies. Thus, virtual psychological culture has a chance to arise as a phenomenon of culture on connection of virtual psychology and virtual computer technology.