Cheryll's Writing Journal

Musings, rants and ravings, plus gems of insight nobody wants to hear now that I've finally got them. Also neat stuff I found on the 'Net when I should have been updating this blog....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Second Thoughts on Second Life (followed by thirds & more, no doubt)

Well, I have now had some time to familiarize myself with the medium, the machinery and the process of developing a new 'sense of self' -- which means learning to fit into a self image that cannot be the same as what I see in the mirror each morning. No small task, at my age! (But I do love the hair!! And the swirling dresses...)

Because, it seems to me, having struggled to feel even slightly comfortable moving arms and legs that are not attached to me in real life, that really, whether the body is in Second Life or first life, it is just another avatar.

And as far as our brains can see and figure it out, life is ALL Second Life. We are who we think we are, and whether we act in the real world or a simulation, the brain/mind thinks it is the same.

Case in point: dancing. I do not know how to tango, and have never had the chance to learn in real life. It may even be impossible for me physically to do so at this late a date.

But I regularly go dancing in Second Life with my husband, in lovely dresses, great hair, and with a skill and grace not matched in the real world.

When we finish, as far as I can tell, my brain (and my heart) thinks we really went dancing! True, I'm not as tired, and my feet don't hurt as much as they surely would, if I had been wearing such silly high heels, but I feel wonderful!

And we are not limited to going to a dance hall or party. We can go some place lovely and private -- and not practical for dancing in real life -- such as the beach at midnight....

This phenomenon makes me wonder how many other activities and learning could transfer in the same fashion. (Considering the popular notion that the 'game' is supported largely by cybersex, one could worry some!)

It can be particularly valuable, I think, for shy people to practice social skills. How about a place to try out public speaking, hone our political/sales pitches, try out a new fashion statement? Living out one's fantasy life is surely the most popular activity in Second Life, and not everyone has always wanted to be a madam and run a brothel, LOL.

And, of course, it is immensely popular with folks who are physically, socially or emotionally limited in real life. Hey, you can walk, run, dance, hold leadership positions in a group or business, and even fly in Second Life! You can be six feet tall and a hunk -- or a windup doll, troll, elf, fairy, knight, dragon, robot -- or even a piece of furniture!

You can fly a plane, sail a boat, drive a train, lead a dance group, open up your own coffee shop, even make a nice income in real life designing and selling clothing or furniture used in Second Life.

The most exciting aspect for me at the moment (apart from playing dress up in lovely clothes and hair, of course) is the shear variety of humanity available for interaction. At any one time, there are upwards of 50,000 people on line in Second Life. These people speak lots of languages, are different ages and backgrounds and nationalities, but they gather in interest groups, some of which overlap with mine.

Dancing, chatting, making music, taking in a concert, listening to a speaker, exploring a new park, building a house, (going shopping!), giving a poetry reading...the activities are endless (and not all about sex). Lawyers and psychiatrists have office hours. Self help groups convene. Yoga, Tai chi and other religious and meditative activities are available, often in special gardens or buildings designed for them. All of this 24 hours a day (barring computer and internet glitches, of course).

So, if you are fan of New Orleans jazz, for instance, you can get together at a jam in the French Quarter, without having to travel or pay much attention to time of day. You can talk to a Dane, a South African, a street musician from NOLA, and you have expanded your horizons tremendously.

That is just SO cool!

Granted, I do not hang out or visit most of what's happening in Second Life. I am not interested in everything that goes on. But then, I'm not interested in most of what many people do in Real Life, either. Hey, I don't even watch TV -- let alone race cars, write new computer code and scripts, go hunting, run for congress, go to bars or rock concerts, run a bar or organize rock concerts, climb mountains, jump out of planes, or engage in sex with strangers!

But I do love to go dancing with my honey out on Cape Cod SL....



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