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Alien Anthropology

Metaverse Mortgages: The Absurdity of (Virtual) Value

Oh yes, mortgages are now a thing in the Metaverse.

There is something really interesting here, from a speculative philosophical and psychotherapeutic perspective. Some people are quite willing and enthusiastic to jump on the bandwagon of perceived or projected value in and as virtual artefacts, entities and systems. This is plausibly because at a reflexive level of cognitive processing and symbolically-mediated (generally – linguistic) experience, all value is already abstract and brains engage reinforcement loops and reward cycles regardless of the degree of abstraction.

Brains do not differentiate at a base level between the contexts, they only recognise the instances and symbolic artefacts. Rational interdiction is a higher function that takes effort (i.e. information processing), energy and time.

It is particularly interesting, not because it indicates a class of innate and/or culturally entrained psychological biases and orientations towards reinforcement learning and value, but because it inversely indicates the extent to which value is always and already a symbolic abstraction. Similarly, 17th Century Dutch “Tulip Mania” was from one view completely absurd but from another view inadvertently reveals the unacknowledged absurdity of all systems of symbolic, abstract value.

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