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Why so many dark, foreboding, negative avatars?

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posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 12:55 PM

Originally posted by DaleGribble
reply to post by BO XIAN

i read an article some where about how looking at an online avatar for just 90 seconds would change the way your brain works and the way you think.

Wonderful post. Thanks tons.

Actually, research indicates that what we speak/think about extensively, emotionally, intensely changes EVEN OUR DNA.

I liked the following paragraph from your excellent article you linked above:

In one experiment, published in Human Communication Research last year, researchers assessed how an avatar's attractiveness affected human behavior, both online and off. Thirty-two volunteers were randomly assigned an attractive or unattractive avatar (attractiveness was rated by undergrads in a survey beforehand) and instructed to look at them in a virtual mirror for 90 seconds. Then they were asked to interact with other avatars, controlled by the experimenters, in a classroom-like setting.
Overall, subjects using good-looking avatars tended to display more confidence, friendliness and extroversion, just as in the real world: they approached avatar strangers within three feet, and in conversations tended to disclose more personal details. Ugly-duckling avatars, meanwhile, stayed five and a half feet away from strangers and were more tight-lipped.

My rather strong bias well supported by research, common sense and personal experience is--that we all make choices for a variety of reasons. Choices don't arise out of some chaotic popcorn popper in our brains.

And, I'm fascinated by the factors contributing to such choices . . . the early childhood experiences; ATTACHMENT DISORDER STUFF; values; emotions; context; peer pressures etc.

BTW, I tried to comment before I left for the morning but the system was still buggy. I'll try and respond in as timely a fashion as I can manage and I greatly appreciate ALL contributions to this topic. It REALLY IS a very interesting field, to me. And, at 61, I'm not the young adult I once was, though I still tend to construe myself much as I did in my undergrad program in 1965-69. LOL. So, a lot of this is quite different for me to wrap my understanding around even though I haven't lived in a cave the last 40 years.

I'm not really that avatar and virtual reality savy though I've had a computer or terminal in my home since 1976. Not many 61 year olds I know of can say that, honestly.

Thanks much for your kind post.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 12:57 PM
Dark? Foreboding? OK, I didn't put any tongues in it, so that's a point for me...

I chose this avatar because from the back, it resembles me IRL. I know, I know, it's actually Eastwood, and I don't look like him, but in a dim light, from the back, there does seem to be a resemblance. Maybe it's the hat? (I wear a black Stetson.)

Also, I have found through life that there are times where violence is the only reason that can be counted on. A sad fact, but true nonetheless. I have also learned that the threat of violence is a more effective deterrent than violence itself. So, I tend to stay to the shadows, as darkness tends to create an aura of fear among the silly creatures that share this planet with me, and therefore they leave me be more readily.

I'm really not an evil person (unless you count that one time I.... J/K
), but I am one who will fight to the bitter end for a cause worth fighting for. I am also one who will help a stranger in distress at any given opportunity. That's what my avatar says to me, perhaps it says something different to others.

I am thinking about making a RL pic of myself (no tongues, I promise.
) into an avatar, just haven't gotten around to it. No promises that it won't be worse than this one though...


posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 12:58 PM
Mine isn't negative!!

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 01:00 PM
Most of you might remember I had picture of my dog - he is black w some white- hope it didn't scare anyone. With help of AshleyD I chose another and most of fantasy art out there did seem to be dark.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 01:03 PM
ascetically, images look better in darker shades, the lower the ambient light level the better and more defined the parts of the image appear. also, highlights can draw the eye to particular message conveying elements. for instance you will notice how eyes and lips tend to be rendered in brighter tones. also it blends well with the dark ATS background.

on a more psychological note, mainstream culture at the moment is pretty light and plastic fantastic, generally speaking. it's all celebrity air brushed money chasing image based consumerism, the counter culture, which is ats' natural demographic, is naturally going to tend towards darker stuff to identify themselves as seperate from it. soon enough the main stream will swing towards the dark stuff, (at the moment it's being used commercially, so it won't be long) and the counter culture will go neon. give it six months and ats will look tie dyed. it's just a normal, reactionary, pop culture cycle.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 01:07 PM
reply to post by Givenmay


Do you have any personal insights or guesstimates about where the dark interest, focus, factor(s) come from?

I think your current avatar is not per se overwhelmingly dark. I also would not say it has 0.000% dark elements to it.

One of my almost lifelong things is to take pics of folks I can see the eyes clearly in and make some guesses about their personalities etc. It's not a 100% accurate thing by any means but most folks claim I'm 80% or more accurate and many claim even more than 95% accurate about them. Anyway--let me try with your avatar, FWIW . . .

And understand, it's about an AVATAR--any accurate inferences regarding you as a person would have to be confirmed or denied by you. How could I know!

I'd guess that gal (can't precisely tell whether it's a drawing or pic) would typically experience a significant amount of emotional isolation.

I'd guess that she'd be used to her beauty but kind of . . . what . . . indifferent to it yet plays with it . . . uses it somehow.

I'd guess that she was above average at seeing through others' smoke screens and dances.

I could imagine her being as gentle and tender-hearted as a butterfly's kiss and as . . . fiercely . . . uhhhhh . . . slicing--probably with words--as almost anyone.

I'd guess that she has a fiercely independent streak that overrides a lot of other aspects of her personality and priorities.

There's a feeling of bleakness, somehow.

Part of me feels like trying to hug her pain away and part of me feels like insuring that she doesn't slice me in a tender place. I think the feeling of trying to hug the pain away is much stronger.

I could imagine her being an incredibly bossy warrior, manager, leader.

I think of her as very bright--piercingly bright--mercilessly bright in some situations. Yet . . . while proud of her brightness . . . discounting it a lot for some reason.

Guess I'm about dry on this pic.


Thanks much for your kind post.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 01:20 PM

Originally posted by Alxandro
Probably due to the fact that many here just plain don't believe in God.
Kinda sad in a way.

Thanks for your post.

Interesting point.

That's certainly logical, to me.

Jean Paul Satre insisted that

for the finite to have meaning, it had to have an authentic connection to the Infinite.

Sad he never found it.

Does the absence of God = Darkness, Violence, utter bleakness, utter emptyness, utter isolation, utter pain?

Is that hell?

Hell's a tricky concept . . . An All loving God protects His perfect Creation by isolating rebellion etc. in an encapsulated something or other? Sounds like hell.

I don't have any answers regarding the conundrum of an All Loving God forever encapsulating any of His created organisms--even the rebellious ones--in hell suffering forever. I don't understand that.

For some reason, however, my reading of His Word is that He expects us to believe that's the reality. And He cannot lie. So I don't understand.

Is this visit there

accurate? What a horror!

Will time as we know it be wrapped up and thrown in the trash along with this time's "FOREVER AND EVER?" Interesting question.

In terms of the darkness etc. vis a vis the avatars . . . certainly the ultimate darkness, evil constructs in virtually any religion, culture is labeled some variation of hell.

Are dark avatars championing evil? I hope not.

Perhaps some are. What percentage? Interesting question.

All I know is . . . I want to avoid darkness, evil 100%. This life has enough of it. I want the first elevator !!!UP!!! to avoid any more of it.

I appreciate the contrast function dark has served as an educational prop, however.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 01:34 PM
Why dark?

Well because:

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 01:44 PM

And even after all my logic and my theory I add a muthafu**ka so you ignint niggas hear me.

Lauryn Hill

For more info... click the link in my signature: ...but Sri, why the evil avatar?

-Sri Oracle

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 01:45 PM
Fear & Loathing!!! Hunter S. Thompson lives on!!

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 02:00 PM

In a Victorian mansion on the outskirts of Gloomsville lives Ruby Gloom. Some kids might be afraid of the dark, the eccentric neighbours and the unknown things that dwell in the closet, but Ruby is different - she befriends these strange and sometimes scary creatures. In fact, Ruby finds them all delightful. She pays no attention to their unusual appearances, perceptive only to their hearts and souls. As Ruby likes to point out "Always look on the bright side - unless of course the dark side is your bright side and that's okay too!"

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 02:39 PM
Dark and forboding! Really? A baddie Immortal from the film 300, with a metal mask...... oh dear...... I see your point.

It is in fact something of a contradiction for me to have this as my avatar, considering the fact that I am utterly obsessed with ancient Persian (and by extension all the various Iranian tribes') history. Whilst I loathed the film 300 (the depiction of the Immortals being one of many reasons) I feel that this is how we are being led to percieve the Persians. And also, if taken as a piece of character design and divorced from historical accuracy, it's a pretty entertaining design.

If anyone is vaguely interested in seeing what the Immortals may actually have appeared here's a link:

Persian Infantry
The one in the middle at the front is an Immortal in campaign dress, I think the artist might've had a little trouble with his hat though!

When I get round to drawing an avatar I'll change it...... perhaps a robot.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 02:43 PM
There is a lot of dark, depressed and isolated people on here. Can't blame them for trying to make their avatars and such match their natural surroundings.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 02:52 PM
Conditioned by Horror-Movies we are led to believe that spiritual-phenomena mostly involves the big dark scares. Conditioned by Science-Fiction movies we are led to believe that aliens are mostly bloodthirsty, dumb or ugly monsters.

Especially young minds seem to equate darkness with adventure, excitement, heroism, while the light and beautiful is easily associated with boredom and meekness.

The stuff your eyes see does have a correlation to your psycho-physical state though.

In the end I probably wouldnt differentiate between positive and negative avatars but quality/classy and tasteless/low-quality avatars. Some dark avatars are beautiful afterall.

But all avatars are like humans: Unique and valid in their own right.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 03:23 PM

Originally posted by semperfortis

When one discusses such subjects as the Chupacabra, Marauding Aliens and Government cover-ups, one may expect to encounter the "darker" side of our perceived persona's...


I think that's an excellent point.

I don't know what percentage of the variance it would account for.

I don't think 100%, by far. What would you guess? 85% 75% 50% 25% 15% 5%???

What would others guess?


Now with a word from "on other hand . . ."

and different fingers . . .

i think some of us who have studied the conspiracy stuff since say 1965 . . .

We may SEE darkness under every politician's barking rear orifice . . . ditto for multi-national corporate oligarchy traitors . . . media traitors . . . etc.

However, that does NOT mean that we see ourselves as darkness incorporated, incarnated or incapacitated by darkness.

Some of us still have the capacity to see that there are

others out there

and me in here.

And to know that the two are quite, QUITE different.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 03:28 PM
reply to post by Being_From_Earth

I'm not the best one to ask. I know there's a how-to page with all kinds of helpful how-to's on it.

I know it has to be small enough pixel wise to fit the parameters of ATS.

That may be 150 pixels wide or some such. I don't recall how high. I suspect the great folks hereon will speak up before too long, if they haven't already.

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 03:32 PM

Originally posted by CallMeMaury

Read into it what you will. I wonder what Freud would say about the guy who designed it.

Hmmmmmm . . . I wonder what he/she was like to live with. LOL.

It's at least a double message, imho.

On the other hand . . . some folks live in sequestered enough circles, they don't even know about such things.

Doesn't look like it was designed by an Amish archetect, however.

Probably Freud would say he needed analysis . . . 3 X/week $250/hour or more for 10-15 years.

Yet, Freud was a dirty old man, too.

He might have said "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 03:34 PM

Originally posted by CallMeMaury

Oooops. Don't want to miss a chance of helping you reflect . . . Duty is duty! LOL.

What were YOU thinking when you chose it?

And about whom?

To what hoped for end?

How much of it was sheer humor and sport?

And how much of it was a serious jab at ???? cloaked in humor?

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 03:39 PM
reply to post by BO XIAN

Well my avatar is very boring i'm afraid. I saw the image in a book my grandfather gave me about egypt when i was about 5 and it sort of stuck with me. As for the darkness of my avatar, well i'm really bad at graphic design, this is the best i could do lol.

Oh well told you it was boring

posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 04:01 PM

Originally posted by MemoryShock

Originally posted by AshleyD
There's always the Rainbow unicorn with your name on it.

You mean this one...

Well, this thread did inspire me to change my avatar as well. Don't get me wrong - I have nothing wrong with dark imagery. After seeing the unicorn, I thought of doing something ironic and over-the-top happy. I couldn't think of anything so I abandoned that idea, but the image of a smiley face popped into my head and inspired a more "serious" yet light-hearted and uplifting idea. So, there is it.

For the kiddies and the 'squares' who don't know the reference
the S.M.I.L.E. acronym was coined by Dr. Timothy Leary, PhD, who regardless of MK-Ultra and conspiracy claims (which I am not qualified to judge,) wrote some very inspirational and brilliant books.

As to the topic at hand, I think it can be empowering and liberating to explore a dark aesthetic. One can be spreading light and love and peace without wearing brightly colored clothes and flowers in their hair. It's like saying someone who wears black and listens to heavy metal and even enjoys "Satanic" imagery is somehow advancing the NWO agenda. I don't buy that BS. The real enemies wear suits and ties and hide behind bleached white smiles. I've met more metalheads, goths and punks who are doing more to spread peace and freedom than those who "hide in the light," including some of the "white light" New Age types (although I agree with much of their ideas, it can too easily become a dogma like any other.)

On another note, creative expression (avatars included) is often a reflection of the world around us as well as the world inside of us. So it is natural that many would create images that reflect the darkness of our current society as well as the inner turmoil that it creates in those who strive towards more positive ideals.

[edit on 12-7-2008 by shipovfools]

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