Ecologies – Virtual Reality vs Reality

10 Mar

The word ‘ecology’ has been transformed into ‘ecologies’ in many cases, particularly when it comes to today’s networked society. The initial ‘ecology’ meaning living creatures within the ecosystem has been complicated by intertwining the livings with ‘artificial creatures’ (such as Internet and many other technologies) in various ecologies. In this blog, I am going to focus on media ecology and the three ecologies.

Media Ecology

With the advent of the technology ‘Internet’ in 1960s till its advanced application in a global scale, the relationships between human beings and machines are increasingly and dramatically changed throughout the history.  In the arena of media, the Internet affords virtual multi-platforms, known as online media, to facilitate immediate communication. The advancement of online media dramatically shapes individuals’ lives as mostly active online participants in the changing mechanism of media ecology. Meanwhile, the network tends to shift its virtual role into everyday real life. The boundary between virtual reality and reality is blurring. Here is an example of a marriage between a Japanese man in the real world and his virtual girlfriend Nene Anegasaki from a dating-simulation game called Love Plus. Enjoy the video and let’s think whether technological determinism is the main factor for this scenario?  Considering virtual marriage as a section of media ecology, will it facilitate or impede our chances of survival (Postman 1970)?



The Three Ecologies

Regarding the responses to questions raised above, Felix Guattari’s ( in Anon, 2008) in-depth elaboration and refinement of ‘Steps to An Ecology of Mind’ written by the influential theorist Gregory Bateson ( in Anon, 2008) might provide a more reasonable and well-rounded answer. The concept of the three ecologies exists at the scales of mind, society and the environment. Based on Guattari’s ( in Anon, 2008) reading, in the case of the Japanese man’s marriage with a virtual character, the leading cause of the marriage decision made by the Japanese man could be his epistemological system (knowledge and attitudes towards marriage) based on the understanding of the nonlinear system of online dating-simulation. Moreover, Japan, as a distinctive country, comprises certain cultural background and values leading to certain social change. The technologies afforded environment facilitate the circulation of media ecology, such as the gaming console and Internet in this case.

In a nutshell, individuals play as participants in personalized ways in the circulation of media ecology. Technological determinism is highly biased to understand human-technology relationship in various ecologies. The three ecologies provides a more well-rounded way in thinking ‘epistemological system based on an understanding of nonlinear systems’ ( in Anon, 2008) in terms of human-beings within various ecologies.


Anon. 2008, ‘The Three Ecologies – Felix Guattari’, Media Ecologies and Digital Activism: thoughts about change for a changing world, viewed 10 March 2012, <>.

Postman, N 1970, “The Reformed English Curriculum” in A.C. Eurich (ed.), High School 1980: The Shape of the Future in American Secondary Education.

ReutersVideo, Dec 17 2009, ‘Man marries video game character’, viewed 10 March 2012, <;.

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Posted by on March 10, 2012 in Arts3091


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