Simulation in Cyberspace and Touch of the Flesh: Kissing, the Blush, the Hickey and the Caress


Several critical and constructive purposes fill this article. The broad overarching aim, vital for a balanced understanding of the relationship between cyberspace and embodiment, is to challenge what most shackles human-social research, viz., philosophical rational-dualism and scientific positivism. Secondly, it specifically spurns the alleged war between desire and technology as an abstract polarization and ideological artefact. Within the everyday lifeworld, contrariwise, flesh and metal coil together comfortably around postmodern love.
Beyond sheer criticism, the article presents sketches of commonplace fleshy phenomena which go missing because of mainstream social science’s narrow, prejudicial positivism. Females and  males, as part of the politics of everyday romance and Eros, blush in each other’s presence, kiss one another, trade hickeys and caress. Vivid narratives, generated by existential, phenomenological, and hermeneutic methods, portray those sensual-sexual experiences, depict the dynamic power of cyberspace, and sketch a vignette of bionic embodiment.
This article, to clarify cogently what authorizes its divergent standpoint on embodiment, also expresses its underlying deconstructive nerves: the trenchantly nuanced analyses of Nietzsche on nihilism, and Heidegger’s views on death and the essence of technology. It also articulates its constructive concepts, , i.e., Merleau-Ponty’s “lived body” and Levinas’ “carnal intersubjectivity.”

Simulation in cyberspace and touch of the flesh; Kissing; the blush; the hickey and the caress
Author biography

Richard Alapack

Richard J. AlapackRichard Alapack, Ph. D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Power fades; money vanishes; fame is fi ckle; ambition is foolish; only love endures. Most importantly, therefore, Richard is father to three splendid children, Nicole, Richard and Orion, and the grandfather of two bright and beautiful girls, Sophie and Olivia.

His principal disciplinary areas are love and death approached from existential, phenomenological, hermeneutic and psychoanalytic points of view. His original research includes such topics as first love, first kiss, the outlaw relationship, and flirting in cyberspace. A stint as clinical-community director of the Seward Life Action Council in Seward, Alaska, expanded love matters to included death-themes; and a concurrent visiting lectureship at the University of Pretoria - when Apartheid ended in South Africa - triggered ongoing teaching and research both on natural and manmade disasters and on global political themes. Currently, he also researching the phenomena that cluster around peace: humiliation, violence, revenge and their cures: forgiveness, compassion, mercy.


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