It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.
Recently, I’ve been running around a lot in Real Life (RL).
Nothing out of the ordinary, the usual stuff that we all have to deal with in one form or another. Relationships, family, career, health, and all the hum drum things that comprise the human experience. (Sounds awfully boring when I say it that way doesn’t it?)
Don’t get me wrong. There are many things going on in my life that make me feel great every day. Significant Other, friends, having a job in this crazy economy that we live in.
In the midst of all this running around, I somehow manage a few moments to stop and think about my other life, the one that I have in Second Life (SL). (Significant Other pats me on the head, smiles indulgently, says “Whatever!” and exits the room.) I ask myself (Don’t worry, I may talk to myself but I never argue with myself.) how do our real lives differ from our second lives inworld or do they even differ? (Notice how I subtly switched from the singular to the plural and included all of you in my cerebral meanderings?)
Are our lives really that different inworld from whom those we lead out here in reality? (Now, you know why Significant Other left the room.)
What are our real lives about after all? How do they affect our second lives? If they even do.
I believe that are three aspects to our lives, the social, educational, and economic.
Social involves the interaction of the individual with the community including the immediate family and extended social groups (real as well as virtual). Sexual relations would also be lumped in here as well.
Educational involves how an individual learns to exist in the world around him or her and to survive once they leave their families. This includes both formal and informal education. Common sense and what Americans like to call “street smarts” would be here as well.
Economic is how an individual supports himself or herself from either a subsistence level or all the way up to the level of the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”.
We do all of these in RL. For those of us who are in SL, we do many of them as well.How many interact with others inworld either at parties, dancing, or other group functions? How many have found either friends or partners in SL? Some have gone so far as to transfer their relationships from virtual to real and have married in RL and now have children. I think I’ve blogged enough about sex in SL that I can safely say it’s there and thriving.
Educational pursuits are followed inworld as well. At the most basic level, residents learn the scripting language that creates all the objects and prims that comprise SL. There are literary forums in sims like Book Island and 1920’s Berlin. The latter also is an educational forum about the RL historical period of the city of Berlin. Recently, I’ve met residents who have told me how they have used SL to learn English as a second language and they are fluent in their interactions with me.
As for the economic, earning a living is not really necessary inworld. Most folks when they need money in SL simply buy more Lindens with RL money. I’ve met a small number of people inworld who claim to earn a living there, usually just covering their costs, but many others simply go through the motions. More often than not, they’re mimicking RL.
Now, there are some things where SL and RL don’t really equate. I haven’t met too many people who sleep inworld. (We won’t talk about residents who have fallen asleep in RL while listening to one of my SL monologues.)
Despite some very impressive displays of food and drink inworld, we don’t eat. At least not for sustenance. (An interesting idea if there is ever a next generation of SL.)
Or, how about this one, travel. While planes, trains, ships, cars, and virtually every other form of transportation known to man in RL exists inworld, most simply teleport to get around.
So, to bring some order and a conclusion to these meanderings of mine, while our real and virtual lives overlap in SL, many seem to be extending their real lives inworld. Of course, many are also trying things out that they can’t in RL for one reason or another. (BDSM comes to mind.)
My question is are we simply avatars existing in a virtual world or are we extensions of our RL selves into a virtual world?
I’m still puzzling this one. What do you think?
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.