... There's a continuity of hippies living at Harbin since at least the 1960s.
To complement Boellstorff's argument for Techne (from the ancient Greek for 'technology' and 'technique'), as craft or art, brought from the actual world into virtual worlds, I develop here an argument for 'communication' – which is more of an argument for information, language and communication – the information aspect of 'information technology' - than for crafting or making things as what is significant about virtual worlds such as Second Life (per Boellstorff), – where information gives form to the 'virtual' via multimedia. Vis-a-vis an ethnography of actual and virtual Harbin, the history of virtual Harbin, this occurs both in terms of the symbolic richness of actual Harbin especially with respect to hippy, New Age thinking and articulations, as well in the way computer languages and codes gives form to virtual Harbin, and here the Making an Ethnographic Field Site vis-a-vis virtual Harbin (MacLeod 2009 – url), for the emergence of new countercultural and linguistic forms and processes. Furthermore, I'd like to argue that more fundamental than 'Techne' being brought in from the actual to virtual worlds (Boellstorff 2008:54), is the extension of communication and symbolizing processes due to multimedia narratives in virtual worlds. As a consequence, I'd like to offer a cursory history of communication vis-a-vis emergent multimedia virtual worlds here, beginning with Terrence Deacon's “The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of the Brain and Language” (1997), proceeding through the ancient Greek world and the beginnings of Western knowledge production, via Gutenberg and the printing press, Marshall McLuhan, the academic discipline of linguistics, then Manuel Castells' “The Internet Galaxy,” (2001) and then to colorful and multiple Hindu expressions of divinity, New Age explorations of the divine at Harbin (Heart Consciousness Church), for example, and to the Harbin waters themselves. While theoretical, such an historical examination highlights the significance of symbolic communication vis-a-vis underlying cultural logics of language vis-a-vis virtual Harbin. The significance of such history will highlight, I hope, what's mind-expanding about Harbin in a variety of ways, and complement Boellstorff's emphasis on Techne in understanding virtual worlds.
Symbolization and language use both give form to kinds of virtuality, as well as are a shared process among human primates, in particular.
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/10/goat-rocks-basin-communication.html - October 5, 2010)