Is our body truly the incarnation of our spirit? How can we express ourselves more in the metaverse than through fashion alone? Can the metaverse be a tool to learn about other cultures? Will we be able to use our avatars to form deeper connections in this shared virtual space?
What is an avatar and why do we need one?
At the online conference Beyond Games #2 (November 2021), Teddy Pahagbia (BLVCK PiXEL) talks about the origins of the word “avatar”. He touches upon the elements that make us human, as well as the importance of “am” or the “anima” in our life. While we know that an avatar is an incarnation of ourselves in the digital world, what makes it so fundamentally important?
Our first avatar is our physical body – the vessel for our soul. This body comes from the genes that we inherit, and we, therefore, don’t have the option to choose this vessel. Our physical body may not have anything to do with our mind and spirit. It may not be the perfect incarnation of our soul.
This is why a person in some cultures may be associated with a spirit animal – people may identify with different animal guides throughout their lifetime. Here, we begin to understand why some people cannot associate their physical bodies with their inner selves.
Self-expression in the metaverse
Now, what if we had an opportunity to design a body that truly represents our spirit? This is where the digital avatar comes in – it is the manifestation of our true essence into the metaverse. For instance, if you think about how to represent a prominent historical figure in the metaverse, you will have to go beyond the physical aspect of a person and delve deep into his or her impact on the environment and on humankind as a whole. Capturing their essence is more than the physical.
With that said, have we ever stopped to think about what would be the real us in the metaverse? This could be the reason why virtual items may have a higher price than physical fashion items and cosmetics. The physical self becomes the extension of the digital self instead of the other way around.
Are there deeper ways we can connect in the metaverse? Towards the end of this video session, Pahagbia answers a few hand-picked questions from the audience to cap off the talk. He further explains that because people can create their own worlds, you can then bring others into your world and let them experience what goes on in your mind. This is more than just communication through text or words. It goes beyond digital fashion. You can even have different avatars that represent different facets of your personality.
Watch this free half-hour session now. You’ll find it valuable if you are curious about the nature of self-expression and why avatars are the key to it. And it’s essential viewing if you’re curious about the future applications of avatars in the metaverse (hint: it relates to an interesting new version of court punishment).