Conformity is NOT a Crime

I have a friendly acquaintance – a smart, talented, passionate woman. For the most part I respect her as I believe she tries to live a “good life”. What is a “good life” in my terms? One who tries to help and heal, not harm others. I don’t like her much, however. Her passion extends to her politics. And while we actually agree on many things, we don’t agree on all things. And despite her protestations of “people should be free”, no one should be persecuted, the victim of discrimination, this woman is incapable of living that way when it comes to politics. I am NEVER allowed the courtesy of polite acceptance of my differing views. No; she harangues, argues, contests, makes faces and exasperated noises should I not agree with her point of view. So that teaches me that I am only free to my view as long as it agrees with hers or as long as I do not voice mine. Which leads me to the discussions of virtual worlds and conformity…..

Conformity is NOT a crime. It’s not a sin. It’s not wrong. It’s not bad. Keep your dismay and your disillusionment off my appearance and behavior. You do NOT know me. Maybe for ME, doing in virtual worlds what YOU consider “conforming” is me rebelling from my regular persona. Maybe my body does not fit within normal physical measurements. Maybe my mental condition is such that acting “normal” in the virtual world would astound those who know me. Maybe I live my organic life in a fashion totally at odds with how I portray myself in avatar form. YOU DON’T KNOW. Even if you know my external trappings and behavior, you do NOT know what rages, swirls, flows, twists, soars, floats, plummets, dances within me. How DARE you presume that my avatar indicates a lack of creativity or individuality????? Who are you to judge MY choice of expression? As Jesus said: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone. Oh Scarecrow, scared of a little fire??? Too much religion there? How about the saying usual credited to Native Americans: Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their moccasins.

I’m not posting links. You know who you are. Look at your avatars. Are you a sphere? Are you amorphous flashing lights? A tornado? Is your avatar repellent by “normal” standards? Do you hangout with your friends or do you go every time to meet new and different people, different experiences? Do you have ‘your crowd’? How do you spend YOUR virtual time? Are you so different than I?

Virtual worlds do INDEED give us the ability to break free of our organic lives. And maybe for some of us, we take smaller steps than others might take. Maybe what we seek is the community of souls, the togetherness of being. Maybe by “conforming” in our looks, we can break past that particular obstacle and reach to the inner core of where we are truly ourselves. Maybe conformity actually frees us to be us.

I did it again – PWA (Posted while agitated). Maybe one of these days I will learn to rein in my inner-6 year old. Or maybe, just maybe, the blog convention has freed her.

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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!

8 thoughts on “Conformity is NOT a Crime”

  1. I’m gobsmacked! I applaud this post and I’m appalled that it was even necessary. *hugs*

  2. Um, yeah.

    I’m almost always human, and boringly, with the EXACT SAME AO I bought six years ago; darned near the same hair, and often the same clothing form week to week, depending on what’s in development.

    Does that make me uncreative? Yeah, probably in your blogger’s head. Or maybe it just makes me…busy.

    In six years, let me see: one patent pending; 2 collaborations with a Fortune Ten and a Fortune 100 company; 6 years of research data; umpteen highly publicized builds; 3 books; several papers; various and sundry major projects, and my next book 2/3 done. Yes. I’m busy. Busy but apparently, boring.

    I can live with that.

  3. Woo woo, you tell ’em!

    I actually have a shiny-sphere AV; made it myself. The one time I tried to wear it for a significant amount of time, I found it surprisingly depressing. Can’t really dance, can’t sit around talking to people; can only hover while bobbing rhythmically or hover spherically in the conversation circle.

    Like Honour, I’m appalled the issue even arose; someone criticized you for being too human-norm? Sheesh. Creativity is wonderful, but judging that someone else isn’t creative enough? Eww.

    (“Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their moccasins”: because then, when you do criticize them, you’re a mile away, AND you have their moccasins! hahaha!)

  4. My avatar looks like what I thought was cool when I was 16. So it’s more of a trip in time than in reality.
    I’m afraid, though, that I still have some knee-jerk prejudice towards people who do not customize their avatars at all. I don’t mean going full tilt with uber-hair and monkeys flying out their ears. But it’s really within anyone’s ability to change their shirt color, or hand size, or mix and match the default items. When they don’t it says to me “disposable avatar”. Which means they have no expectation of continuity of experience. Which means I can’t trust them to follow the social rules.
    Am I a bad person?

  5. Thank you all for your comments. I appreciate your thoughts and that you took the time to respond. Let me clarify – the comments were not directed at me specifically. I am reacting to both a recent writing and to the posts and comments I’ve heard over the years. This is, as you could probably tell, one of my “hot buttons”.

    @Carrie – *laughing* most people I know tell me to STOP frothing at the mouth and raving. now I can use your support to justify such behavior. tyvm *grin*

    @Shenlei – I definitely consider you among the most creative people I know. So yes, I’d consider you a wonderful case-in-point against human avatars indicating lack of ability/creativity/knowledge of other options.

    @Jaymin – *grin* Are you a bad person? pfffft. You know it’s not my place to judge. But I’ll try to answer the “Which means they have no expectation of continuity of experience. Which means I can’t trust them to follow the social rules.” I think that this is a case of you projecting your behavior onto the other people. If YOU didn’t customize your avatar at all, that is what YOU would mean. Try flipping this discussion about. What if for THOSE people, using the default avatar IS their way of differentiating themselves from everyone around them? Or, what if using the default av is their way of stripping out pretense and allows them to simply be their inner self, not the every-day trappings of the organic world? Or – and this happened to me just the other day – what if they simply didn’t rez properly in your viewer and you are not seeing the image they are trying to project? *grin* I don’t know and neither do you. You could very well be right – they don’t plan on hanging about. But that might not be the message that they are trying to send.

  6. conformity is a crime if it is forced upon people who do not fit whatever standards are to be conformed to

    so conforming is when one willing makes outward adjustments to fit in and wrong/criminal conformity is when those changes are demanded or imposed.

    BUT when the standards of whatever the conformity is are one’s normal and natural inclinations, then you aren’t conforming, you are being yourself – you are the standard to which others may or may not conform.

    whether that’s a corporate yuppie, or a self multiating Emo – if it’s honestly who you are and you aren’t changing yourself or being forces to, then you’re not conforming, you’re norming

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