Context: What to wear in the Metaverse?
Why should we even need bodies? The momentum (and compulsion) towards abstraction is and has always been towards the progressive refinement and umbilical detachment of a fully virtualised bundle-of-experiences as self.
In as much as this self is still grounded in material information processes and thermodynamic-as-energy costs, what is it that finds us so deeply and narcissistically enamoured of an avatar, a utopian paragon twin of control and (its) corollary knowledge?
Are we merely shifting all our culturally and peer-group acquired insecurities of self-identity into the Metaverse where they much less resemble any kind of freedom, much more embody an amplification of pre-existing neuroses?
Jacques Lacan identified a “Mirror Stage” in child psychological development. Between the ages of 18 months and 2 years, an infant passes through a phase transition in which that messy, wobbly and poorly-controlled “felt” or lived self is recognised and identified in a mirror image (or the reflection of language and culture) as an Object, an individuated, known and complete, idealised abstraction.
This process invokes a life-long disconnect between the aspiration towards the perfection and wholeness an idealised abstraction of self promises (but never quite manages to deliver) and the lived, less-than-whole and forever dissipating material fact a person feels.
We only need virtual bodies to paradoxically anchor ourselves even more concretely in the physical discontinuity that virtual selves seek to help us escape.