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Born from today's evolutionary psychology and its studies of developing human behavior and emotions is the radical new concept from psychotherapist Jeri Fink that virtual reality has been with us since humans first walked the earth and has only been heightened by today's technology. Psychologically, humans are "wired" to crave experiences beyond our daily existence. From the cave dweller's fireside stories of slaying massive beasts and the Elizabethan experience of Shakespeare's tragedies to today's blockbuster disaster movies and, most importantly, interactive computer communication, we have always lived in a "virtual" culture.
The brilliant visionary founder of "psychotechnology," an inquiry into the merging of psychology and technology, Dr. Fink is a leading mental health expert in the use of virtual applications in clinical practice. Cyberseduction: Reality in the Age of Psychotechnology places the ideas of cyberspace and virtual reality into the historical context of human perception and experience across the ages.
From a biological perspective, Dr. Fink explains how and why people are seduced by many virtual realities, both simple and complex, and compares our respective experiences of reality and virtuality, showing how humanity has adapted and evolved. As humanity seeks to further meld itself with machines, the line between illusion and reality is increasingly blurred.
Dr. Fink discusses her groundbreaking theory of manufactured reality by using specific types of virtualities: religion, sex, the media, and other aspects of daily living. She also considers the effects of new computer software and the internet, where anonymous individuals can become and experience almost anything they choose.
Cyberseduction is a fascinating exploration of the psychology of digital culture.
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Jeri Fink, D.S.W., a practicing psychotherapist, has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsday, and Redbook, and is the author of five books.From Booklist:
How new is "virtual reality?" How much should we fear it? Psychotherapist Fink draws on a range of disciplines, from philosophy and anthropology to evolutionary psychology and media studies, to answer those questions. Fink uses the term "manufactured reality" to describe the ways human beings have escaped from their physical bodies (and the inevitable death of those bodies). Virtual realities range from cave dwellers' fireside stories and the noble aspirations of religion to Greek and Elizabethan drama to modern technologies, including telephones, televisions, computers, and the Internet. But the latest technologies immerse us in particularly convincing alternative "places"; "the most ominous threat to humankind," Fink argues, "lies in the gap between our technology and our philosophy." We need, she suggests, to adapt to and control this new technology: "Use your consciousness to take the next step in evolution, ahead of the designers who are thinking about programs, not ethics; code, not behavior; profit, not social improvement." An often fascinating study of an important subject. Mary Carroll
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