Our World is What We Make It

By now you know me. I will study and think and ponder an issue until I can reach a place where I feel I understand it. I’ve been having great difficulty with people saying “SL is full of THESE people” or “SL is full of THOSE people” or “Everyone I meet in SL behaves SUCHandSUCH”. But I don’t SEE that. I”m not denying that THESE and THOSE and SUCHandSUCH exist. I’m saying that my world is NOT oriented that way. First I got annoyed – stop painting me with your brush. But then I wanted to understand WHY we are all so sure that our view of the world is correct. So I’ve been chatting and emailing with friends.

One view out a doorI’ve heard some very interesting takes on what kinds of people come to virtual worlds, what kind of people come to SL specifically. Almost all the conversations I’ve had contained at least one insight that helped me understand more clearly why I don’t recognize YOUR world. The following idea comes from a friend who declined to guest blog. She told me to take her email and present it. So that is what I am doing. *grin* I take no credit for these ideas, but I will say that they resonate with me, and perhaps I can finally let this topic rest.

What I would suggest is related back to Rheta Shan’s blog on why people come to SL–that they find something they need. And I would also suggest that the friends they make are related to what they need. So for example, one person finds other people who, like him, need a few hours/day to escape from some trauma or issue in their RL which is so overwhelming that it colors their entire real world. Of COURSE those people would be friends–who else would REALLY “understand” him, and thus “connect” with him long-term? He has undoubtedly met MANY people who do not fit his paradigm, but they aren’t his friends, they are just other people in the same room.

You, Ahuva, found a business environment which you saw as an opportunity to enrich your RL business environment the view out MY door(with which you have been bored and underutilized by for years). You connected with people who are creating the kinds of things YOU would like to create–not the concrete things, per se (i.e. a specific business product) but a “bigger picture”. So it’s no accident that the friends YOU made are very intelligent, high-achieving, creative people who are inventing new ways to interact in a business environment and expanding the opportunities for others to do the same. Those were the people YOU needed to have in your life, hence those are the people you found, and friended.

People find what they need. If they have been damaged and need friends who understand them, then they find other damaged people. If they need to be loved and appreciated and desired, they find a lover. (Obviously so many people need this, that is why the Internet is renowned for sex!) If they need a challenge, they find a challenge. The posts and comments say more about the people who write them than they say about SL.

I think that her words make sense to me. We find what we need. We may need more than one thing, so we will have many friends. But we fill our world with what we need. Our world is what we make it. We all have a different view out our front door.

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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!

12 thoughts on “Our World is What We Make It”

  1. Bravo, applause!!!! I couldn’t agree more. Well said Ahuva and friend! 🙂

    The second life community provides an opportunity for people to connect with others who are in the ‘same boat’ as them, to meet new and interesting people, to learn and grow. In lots of cases to even seek therapy or a support group. Those people (i said it – LOL) that are stuck at home, for whatever reason, have more of an opportunity and a desire if you will to seek out what second life has to offer.

    It stands out to me that some are forgetting, all of the avi’s in SL are real live humans in FL. They are not mutants or aliens… who ever is in SL is there in FL, you just may not see them or see them for who they really are. Is it because you are stuck at home too?

    Yes second life is different in many ways, and it is worth noting that a lot of people will venture out of their shell in second life (not a surprise there either), and try things they would not have the courage to try in first life. And why not I ask? It is a much safer environment to experiment in and gives a whole new meaning to safe sex.

    On a personal note: I care for two ederly people and I am on call alot, where I cannot venture far from the house. This provides a perfect environment for me to ‘ENJOY’ second life. The friendships, the classes and learning opportunities, the exploring other countries, the fashion, the music, the dancing, the silliness, the business aspect, the healing qualities, and the wonderful conversations with friends and strangers.

    There is so very much here to offer anyone – If ‘they’ are stuck and surrounded by what they consider ‘damaged’ people, then quite possibly it is by their own choice or design.

  2. I have another thought about finding the people we “need” in SL. People who have issues may also look, not just for people with similar issues who would understand them, but people who can help them. There are some people who come across as “fixers”, or set themselves up that way, who attract people who need “fixing”. I would not be surprised of some of the fixers are the ones who subsequently complain that everyone they meet is crazy!

  3. I agree with the thought that many people go online to fulfill needs.

    But I think there is also another class of people who might have a different (or additional) goal: using the online world to meet real people. Theoretically, if they find someone(s) that fulfills their search requirments, their online presence may subsequently diminish significantly.

    I’ve never been on SL, but I’ve been online for more than a decade. I’ve seen people that sort of “become” their screen names or avatars, and interact with others who are online that way; I’ve seen people who use their screen names or avatar for anonymity, but are really much more themselves in their interactions; I’ve seen people who do a bit of both.

    I wonder. When you interact with someone on SL, do you see yourself as Ahuvah for the duration of that interaction, or do you see yourself as the real person behind Ahuvah?

  4. @Luke – Hi! Welcome to my world! *grin* I think you have hit another true insight about why people come inworld. Certainly I have good friends who met significant others inworld, and then their online presence was considerably lessened. They were looking for a relationship, and were able to move it to RL, and that ended their “search”.

    I have been thinking on your last question for some hours. I think the truth is that I AM Ahuva, Ahuva is me. I do not act differently here nor do I think of us as separate. Perhaps that is because I came inworld not expecting to pretend or be anyone other than my RL self. Perhaps it is because I do carry out RL business here as Ahuva. But whereas I don’t know WHY, all I can say is that there really is nothing of Ahuva that is not the essential “me”. In RL, I often smile, imagining myself wearing Ahuva’s AO, or wishing I could reach into her closet for something to wear. I think that Ahuva and I express much the same life philosophy.

    Oh – wait – I forgot the disclaimer for this blog – Ahuva is a fictional character. She is simply digital data, and any resemblance to any RL characters or situations is simply an amazing coincidence and has no true bearing or relationship to the atomic world. So there is no Ahuva, there is no rl character behind her. Okay, I think that covers things, no? *grin*

  5. Do you think it’s that common for people to be that much the same inworld and in RL? I would think that if it’s common for people to go inworld to avoid dealing with something in their RL’s, they might also behave quite differently inworld. (A simple example might be someone shy in RL behaving in an outgoing way inworld.)

    I had a friend who adopted the screen name Carolyn in a text world I used to frequent. She was on a self-described journey of self-exploration and learned a lot about herself online. And do you know what she eventually did? She legally adopted “Carolyn” as her RL middle name! Talk about blending online and RL!

  6. @Luke – Well YAY for Carolyn!!! THAT is a great anecdote. I don’t know if I am typical or atypical in that I am who I am whether I am in RL or SL. My best guess is that very few of us are that different in SL. We may choose to emphasize different aspects of our personalities. But I don’t think most people come up with a fundamentally different persona completely. After you journey through SL, you may choose to alter what attributes you emphasize in RL.

    I think that many people do come into SL and have a very different social experience here than they do in RL. But I think that is due to not having our physical bodies here with us. If you stutter, if you are hard of hearing, if you have some physical attribute that people notice FIRST and FOREMOST about you in RL – then I think that you have the opportunity here to experience what appears to be a totally different you. You have a different social network interaction. People here do not know your RL “identifying data” – job, gender, family life, race, etc. But I think that you have the same fundamental values, beliefs, fears, hopes, dreams, theology, etc. that you have in your physical existence. I believe that it is those things that shape how you interact with others. And how you interact with others is who you are. Unless you begin to CHANGE your inner core here – because you are freed from whatever constraints may be imposed by the atomic world – you are not a different person.

    *grin* I am a great believer in behavior modification.

  7. Luke one study of how people use/interact with their avatars in SecondLife found that when they manipulated their av’s they weren’t thinking “I’ll move him (or her) over there”. Instead they (we) are thinking “I will go over there”. In other words the avatar is an extension of real life – even if they behave in ways a person would not allow themselves in real life.

    If I can find the study I’ll post a link. 🙂

  8. Ahuva & Honour… both of you seem to have generally said that you think that online personas are usually an extension of RL personalities. I’ll buy that, but with some modification for what I suspect might be a fairly common (as an example) shy-in-RL-person being more the life-of-the-party-online-person.

    I wonder, though, how universally successful something like that might be in transitioning back to RL. I can see a person perhaps breaking through their RL shyness after being successful in not being shy online. But what about someone not that adept at it, who tries it in RL, and it falls flat, and who ends up even more shy than they were before, and feels that the online world is “better” than RL? That sounds vaguely pathological, doesn’t it?

    Hmmmmmmmmm… I guess it’s no different from having a transforming type of RL experience… some people would handle that better than others. And I guess it’s nice for the online worlds to be able to offer at least some people a new start, without all the baggage of their RL.

    Honour, I think you touched on something interesting when you said “even if they behave in ways a person would not allow themselves in real life”. I think we commonly see this in terms of sexuality, where people can use online worlds to explore safely, in ways that they would not easily consider doing in RL.

    I guess that online basically affords people the ability to do an interactive meta-roleplay in a somewhat serious underlying way… altering elements of their personality or habits, and seeing how it works out… and then, as you said, Ahuva, perhaps integrating some of that into their RL.

    Do you think that one day, behavioral therapists may prescribe “three weeks of online life” the way that physical therapy is now prescribed ?

  9. @Luke – aw, gee. only 3 weeks???? NOT enough!!! *grin* so when are YOU going to come inworld????? (LOL – be sure to sign up using me as a reference so I get a bonus – I spend a LOT of Lindens. 🙂 boots, hair, more boots…. )

  10. @Ahuva… gonna make me an offer I can’t refuse ?

    I wish I had the time to explore SL. One of these days, I guess…

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