Is A Virtual World a Good Thing?

I’ve been wandering farther and farther afield, reading a variety of SL blogs. While I love looking at the pictures from SL, I find that the text that most interests me is when the author is contemplating the relationships between SL and RL. In my own head I have this Outer Limits/Star Trek/Matrix scenario where more and more of us live more and more in the virtual world, ultimately becoming nothing more than brains. Not a new theory, I know – I remember seeing brains glowing in cylinders on the original ST. What happens in between now and when we are all nothing but mental energy?

I found another blogger who has touched on this at least once, Ariane Barnes in her (I assume it is “her”) blog Virtual World Philosophy: Escape From Reality In that essay she talks about how the gas crisis and lack of fuel will “drive” more people into the virtual world. She has much less of a doomsday attitude than my science fiction approach.

But I found Virtual World Philosophy: The Uncanny Valley even more interesting. As I read the other blogs and hear about skins, parties, sailing, celebrity events, I wonder if I really have sufficient interest for this. Having to deal with skins is akin to fussing in RL about how I look, am I dressed properly for the event, blah blah blah. All that stuff that can be amusing if you have time, but so much of the time it is a colossal nuisance. Same with celebrity events. There is enough politic’ing in the office and even in other social organizations that I don’t want to have to negotiate all those fine lines for fun. I’m not the kind of person who plays Diplomacy.

Wikipedia’s definition of The uncanny valley:
“The uncanny valley is a hypothesis that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost, but not entirely, like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The “valley” in question is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reaction as a function of a robot’s lifelikeness. “

Something related may be happening to me. Not revulsion. But maybe disenchantment. The more I hear of how immersed some people are, the more I hear about fussing with personal appearance, the more I hear that we will all be living in a virtual world, the less appealing SL sounds. I want to be free and have fun. I don’t want to drag all the every-day minutiae into this fantasy. How REAL do I want my fantasy to be? It sounds like it will take me hours to master some of these skills. Will that turn what has been an escape into simply another “gotta get an A on this exam” event?

Or does the fault, dear reader, lie not in my stars, but in myself? 🙂 Maybe I simply need some chocolate. 🙂

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There's not much to say about me. I discovered SecondLife by accident, wandered in, and decided I wanted to stay. This blog was a chronicle of my adventures and misadventures in SL. It also includes stray thoughts that occur to me as a result of my time in SL. Both I and my avatar are female. We both love water and the beach and gardening and parties and hanging out with friends. Updating this after quite some time. I haven't appeared in SL in many many months (probably over a year by now) but SL has remained in my thoughts. I do miss my SL, but at least I still have contact with some of my friends from there. In the meantime.... this blog has evolved to be about my RL adventures. :) Nowhere near as risque as my SL but I do keep busy. I still like all the things listed above. I didn't have any cats in SL (only ducks and a panda) so my cats feel that they should play starring roles in my posts. :) I didn't do much eating IN SL although certainly food and drink accompanied me in RL while I roamed inworld. Cooking and baking have become more fun and interesting once I redid my kitchen. That renovation took longer and cost more than if I'd done it virtually, but I'm thrilled to have a tangible new kitchen! I hope you like food and drink as well! Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “Is A Virtual World a Good Thing?”

  1. I think this may be your own usual brand of “gotta get an A” surfacing in yet another venue. I went to The Tranquil Cafe last night for some live music. I’m still wearing jeans and a cute top (okay, it’s not my ORIGINAL jeans and cute top–but it’s the second set, and nothing special.) That’s what I wore to the Cafe. Someone else was a dragon, and someone else was dressed in some diaphanous white thing that made her look humanoid but not exactly human. ALL those AV “looks” were quite okay. In other words, IT DOESN”T MATTER! Just go and have fun with the novelty of it. There’s no right and wrong answer here… Maybe you can get an A… but even if you don’t, you won’t fail.

    Of course, I *do* still want some better hair!

  2. Yeah, is all about teh having fun. And if it turns out that eventually you *want* to have a different skin or hair, you will have gotten comfortable enough in the world while having fun that it’ll seem trivial (or even fun!). At least that’s how it worked for me. 🙂 The great thing about SL (well, a great thing) is that there’s no pressure at all; you do what you want!

    Well, as long as you’re nice. And I know you are. 😉

    On people who think about the SL-RL relationship, I heartily recommend Botgirl:

  3. Botgirl is FANTASTIC!!!! Thank you!!! And she is very right about her Four Questions – it CAN be done.

  4. Pingback: Steven

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