A wheelchair gives someone with limited mobility to walk, but otherwise functional in the real world, the ability to go out and do things and be a functional member of the community. Because of the nature of my disabilities, a wheelchair is insufficient. However, SL permits me to do things without leaving the protected environment of my home where I have an ergonomic setup that allows for my disabilities.
From my computer chair, I can teach, run a business, have an active social life, and be a functioning member of a community.
- Seshat Czeret, 18/09/2008
molti di noi, se non tutti sono stati schiaffeggiati o derisi hanno subito abusi fisicamente
many of us, if not all of us, have been slapped or abused physically, and several times
all of us have been verbally abused– a lot! which hurts by the way!!
we’ve had our money taken from us
perhaps the greatest pain when our dignity has been taken, stolen.
our humanity, feelings, kicked around and abused
control. people take control. they take control of our things, our decisions. they force their will and preferences upon us. no we cant buy that. no we cant eat that. no we have to watch this. no i dont have time now. no you cant go anywhere. no you will be unable to move for awhile
That's the money-quote from Seshat Czeret in Feldspar Epstein's piece on disability and accessibility at The Metaverse Journal this week. Really, those five words condense thousands of written words on the empowering properties of a collaborative virtual environment, and not just for the differently-abled, but for the regularly able as well.
It is interesting to note that those with physical limitations and disablements tend to view their own physical bodies as a physical, fleshy avatar far more frequently than those who have no such impairment. To the physically handicapped, the body may not function as it ought, but their minds and persons are as whole and complete as any. Many view their bodies as simply a malfunctioning vehicle, and their step into online avatars in a 3D environment is as slight a transition as getting into a car and driving.
To many such physically impaired users, the body is no more nor less a tool than an online avatar, and the latter (despite lag, occasional inventory loss, network problems and all the other hurly-burly of a virtual environment) is the more reliable, expressive and liberating, allowing more ability to contribute, work, play and socialize.
Why then, do the able-bodied among us tend to see so much more distinction between our bodies in the physical world and our digital representations? Is that distinction merely an artificial one, a handicap brought about by our able-bodied perspective?