Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Multiple personalities are a good thing.

Following on from my previous post about the dangers of MUVE induced multiple personality disorder, this article in this week’s New Scientist magazine, has put my mind at rest. It seems that ‘normal’ dissociation is actually a good thing. The more multiple you are, the less likely you are to suffer from stress related conditions. This is particularly reassuring for me to hear, as I juggle several, quite distinct, versions of my self as a way of coping with modern life. One of my friends calls me Ian Two-lives, as I spend half my week in Leeds as Tutor Ian, and the other half in Filey as Family Ian. But two is not enough. I also have Cubist, who himself is divided into 3 distinct personalities. There is Cubist Tools Developer, who is currently working on new version of his markerboard, there is Cubist Artist, famous for his ‘holograms’ and then there is Tutor Cubist, who blogs here.
One of my personalities is experiencing some stress at the moment due to externally imposed changes, and I have become aware that I am consciously choosing to be one of the other characters that has no interest in these changes. This does indeed reduce my overall stress levels, and keeps me motivated and optimistic. Anne Peachy’s talk at this morning’s Massive Multi Learner conference covered how Second Life had helped some of the Schome kids to deal with the stress of bullying by allowing them to assume an alternative persona.
With regard to the ethics of role play and character creation, the evidence would suggest that it is unethical to deprive our students of the chance to create a hyper-self.

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