Saturday, May 23, 2015

Do We Satisfy Our Needs in Second Life?

What a man can be, he must be.

Abraham Maslow


          Have you ever thought about what brings us into Second Life (SL)?

          I’ve blogged about a few different topics over the years, the social life, the sense of community, the sex, and, more recently, religion.  (Significant Other sighs and says only I could put together a list like this.)

          But, what really brings us inworld?

          Perhaps, what brings us into SL is a satisfaction of our needs.  (Significant Other can’t wait to hear this one I’m told.)

          I thought I’d use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to help me out here. 

          And, yes, I know there has been a ton of research and work done since Abraham Maslow first published his work to challenge if not outright debunk him.

          That’s alright.

          For an amateur sociologist such as myself (Significant Other cringes at that one.) it provides a handy schema to test my assertion that we all have needs which are satisfied inworld.

          My first assumption is that in SL, as in Real Life (RL), we have our needs satisfied.  Otherwise, why would we be there?

          Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs has five levels often represented as a pyramid.  (Did you know that he represented his work as a pyramid?  This was something that came later.  Who knew?)

          Maslow called the lower four needs, physiological, safety, love and belonging, and esteem, the “deficiency needs” which, if not met, would preclude the fifth level, self-actualization.

          (Please note that I’m not a psychologist or social worker by training.  I never even took Psych 101 at university.  So, don’t be too surprised if you disagree with me!)

          Let’s take a quick run through these levels.

          Our physiological needs are met by the SL environment at its most basic and free
level which gives us everything to exist and interact inworld. 

 As an alternative to RL, many SL residents let themselves go with fashion or building which they can’t do in RL.

          At the second level, safety, we determine who we interact with, where we do it, and how. 

We can be as safe as we want to be inworld.  Probably, more so than in RL.

Moving up to the third level, love and belonging, I believe we have the most crucial set of needs because many come inworld for the relationships and intimacy that doesn’t exist for them in RL for whatever reasons. 

At the fourth level, esteem, we find the second most important set of needs for SL residents. 

Here we are appreciated, valued, or respected by our community inworld. 

Again, this in unattainable for many in RL, SL gives us that chance in a virtual environment.

Finally, we arrive at the pinnacle, self-actualization, which I find that many pursue

Although, many others settle in and get comfortable on either love and belonging or esteem and stop right there.

While this analysis of mine is quick and dirty, based on anecdotal evidence as opposed to empirical, I believe that many of us are inworld to satisfy some if not all of these needs in an environment where, rightly or wrongly, we feel that we are in control. 

If we didn’t why would we be here?

What about you?

Does SL satisfy any of your needs? 

I’d love to hear from you!  (Significant Other is curious to know if others have similar flights of imagination.)

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

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.
          Open roads and kind fires!

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