I gave a talk about Metaphors of Presence at the Sandbox Immersive Festival in Qingdao, China where I talked about how Chinese Philosophy insights about the balance between Yang and Yin could help describe the fundamental tensions in immersive and interactive storytelling. I told the audience that the West really understands the Yang Archetypal Journey through Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and I proposed that Eastern Cultures and China would likely have a lot of insight as to what the corresponding Yin Archetypal Journey might look like.
In response to my invitation for cross-cultural dialogue, Cosmos Deng came up to me afterwards to share his insights into how Taoist and Buddhist describe an path of ego disillusionment, some corresponding contemplative practices, and how the myths of the Eastern cultures can be seen as tragic. If the exalted individuation of heroic ego is the goal, then a king feeding himself to a tiger can certainly be read as tragic. But Deng says that it’s more about revealing the illusions of self, the interconnection and interdependence of all beings, and a much more passive and receptive sense of embodied presence and being. He shares a lot of deep insights into presence, consciousness, the nature of reality, how he sees that some of these Taoist & Buddhist ethics have been already showing up in Western entertainment through The Matrix and the reboot of Westworld, and why VR as a medium is perfectly well-suited to explore some of these contemplative practices and principles.
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