The Pleasure principle revisited in virtual reality.

The Web Society and AACE-WebNet 1997.

Maturity calls for the surrrender of the pleasure principle in favor of the reality principle. When reality is virtual or ambiguous, whither the principle of reality? This paper re-examines the principled notions of pleasure and reality in light of creative behavior found in the use of Smileys and ASCII character drawings which abound in on-line communication. Data is drawn from a five year ethnographic study of ListServer communication where an international community of academic scholars were subscribers. Traditional interpretations of such data are detailed and an alternative interpretation is constructed in a Saussurian framework. This interpretation points to a principled notion of creativity that invokes sheer pleasure and archaic modes discovery.

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