Way back when I first began in Second Life, I speculated on what I wanted to call “identity theory,” which had to do with how we identify ourselves in life and how being able to become an online avatar expanded how we identify ourselves. My budding thoughts on “online identity” were soon “thread-hijacked” by “identity theft” and the like BUT
I retained a hint of my idea through my subsequent speculation on “nom en ligne” (online-name). This was an allusion to pen-name, war-name, and art-name: words borrowed into the English language from the French and Japanese languages.
More recently when I began re-exploring Second Life, after hearing a rumor that it was “dead,” I re-engaged in what I still want to call “identity theory.” I feel that identity theory continues to apply very much to us in the real world, as a model for freedom, and that Second Life continues to help by offering insights as an illustrative model.
As human beings our identities are composite systems that have elements ranging from the tangible to the intangible. In particular these elements include physical, biological, psychological, sociological, theological, and spiritual. All these levels of existence are reflected in our composite identities.
As a working shorthand we will call these identity elements Body, Mind, Spirit. Body comprises physical and biological elements. Mind comprises psychological and sociological elements. Spirit comprises theological and spiritual elements. Body is clearly tangible, Spirit is clearly intangible, and Mind is clearly both.