... Virtual Harbin is an expression of such technologically produced virtuality, emerging from symbolic processes in the form of digital technologies, as well as from actual Harbin's place and culture.
Virtual Harbin's unfolding 'realness,' and thus virtuality's realness, characterized ethnographically, vis-a-vis actual Harbin will emerge with study over time. In Plato's 'allegory of the cave,' an early, significant philosophical example of virtuality (see Hayles 1996b:34; Heim 1991:64, 1995:69; Hillis 1999:39; Ropolyi 2001:172; and Wark 2007, in Boellstorff 2008: 34), for example, the shadows of the puppets on the wall from the light of the fire, and from the cave opening, can be read as an allegory for the material world being a shadow of the realness of ideas or forms. [Plato cave quote: (& Lattimore?)]. In one reading of this, these dancing, shadow forms are more real than the enchained humans, who can only see in one direction, perceiving the reality of these moving forms. Similarly, idea of triangle (Boellstorff 2008: 34). The real, in the context of virtual worlds and this actual/virtual Harbin ethnography, often can refer, for example, to actual Harbin, to the Harbin valley as place, as well as to the Harbin waters, all subjectively characterized ethnographically, vis-a-vis the fabric of life, or culture, which has emerged at Harbin since the 1960s. In a Lacanian sense, the 'real' here, too, is distinct from the imaginary, the symbolic, as well as the digitally interactive. But Plato's allegory of the cave, an early, philosophical example of virtual worlds, inverts the significance of the 'real,' to lead to the presumption that the virtual, that is, the idea or the form here, subsequently informs the material (Boellstorff 2008:34). Virtual Harbin, as ethnographic field site (MacLeod 2009), and as it develops and grows, especially with new information technologies and innovative virtual world builders, will provide multiple opportunities to explore and engage related questions.
Philosophical dualism has a long history vis-a-vis materialism, and mind (C. McGinn, The Character of Mind 1982), including ideas, symbolizing and language, in the West. ...
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/08/milkweed-virtual-harbins-unfolding.html - August 13, 2010)