It's not only that masturbation is having sex whith an imagined partner. What if real sex is only masturbation whith a real partner? That is to say, you think you're doing it with a real partner but you use the real partner as a masturbatory device, the real partner just gives you a minimum of material so you can act out your fantasies. In other words there are always at least three in sex, its never you and the partner, you must have a fantasy to sustain it. When the fantasy disintegrates, the partner gets disgusting. It's horror. In Shakespeare's "Hamlet" for example; in the middle of the play Hamlet looks at Ophelia and has this moment of 'Realitaetsverlust': What a disgusting person she is. Because precisely what gets lost is this phantasmatic support. I think a certain dimension of virtuality is co-substantial with the symbolic order or the order of language as such.
There is another point, which is maybe connected to the phenomenon of collective mind you evoked. I claim one should approach the dimension of being 'undead'. In this precise sense that undead doesn't simply mean 'alive', it means dead but nonetheless alive. Think about Stephen King, zombies and vampires. Here I connect cyberspace with what Lacan calls tissue of libido, 'lamella', a substance of life which cannot ever be destroyed. The problem here is no longer mortality but the opposite: It's this kind of horrible life form, like that of vampires, which you can never get rid of.
- Slavoj Žižek (1949-?)