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Thursday, August 26, 2010

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Hitomi Tiponi

A really moving post. So many of us get caught up in our being in Second Life where life thrills, excites and gives us possibilities we cannot attain in real life. Hitomi Tiponi has grown into a friend who is more than an avatar, and you know the odd thing - even if I left Second Life I would always imagine her living on, maybe that is what our fantasies and ideas do. I hope your life in both worlds continues to enrich yourself and those you care for.

Nexii Malthus

So awesome.

I shall bring up a quote of myself;

This is why we live Second Life,
This is, why we 'get it'
not as a replacement,
nor an escape,
But an extension of us.

You can make the most detailed car in 3dsmax,
Most brilliant pictures in photoshop,

But, what is it, if it can't be shared?

Marianne McCann

What a post!

Suella Ember

Great read!

People mock the 'bored housewife' aspect of SL (I've even mocked it too occasionally) but this is a lovely summary of how SL needn't always be a wrecker of marriages.

Sure, it still takes courage from someone to recognise when to step away from SL as Nightflower did, but SL also *gave* her that courage!

This quote sums it up for me:

"Second Life didn't throw my world into turmoil. My life was a mess long before I typed "Night" in the name selection box and clicked CREATE AVATAR. But I now realize that it is the strength I found in her, as her, that allowed me to find and claim myself in the real world."

I have a feeling it may apply to a lot of us. It certainly applied to me to some extent. I joined SL to escape health problems in RL, but SL ultimately played a part in making me actually fight to get better treatment in RL.

I truly hope you are now able to enjoy SL as part of a suitable balance with your RL Nightflower. :-)

Alicia Chenaux

<3 I've missed you.

Chestnut Rau

Night! I missed you too.

I am thrilled to see you here just as I was thrilled to see you in world the other day. It is your turn to make *me* cry this time.

I look forward to future posts. <3 Ches

Skylar Smythe

A great post.

I agree completely having gone through the exact same circumstances. Skylar has empowered me to be more confident and strong in my RL dealings.

She is not an entity onto herself. She is the "me" that needed to be granted permission to bloom to her full potential.

One life. One person. Enriched by virtual worlds.

I wish you all the best. Feel free to say hi in world... I'd love to sit and have a conversation with you.

xoxox
Skylar Smythe

Adric Antfarm

It worries me that some people see Second Life as something it's not.

There are so many options in your community that are fair superior to self diagnosis and following your own plan of treatment.

Depression is real and treatable. Not virtual and fixed on line. I hope this is happiness is not short lived.

Kimberly Rufer-Bach

A beautiful post. Thank you for saying it so well, Night. /hug

Carrie Lexington

wow! that was a pleasure to read. thank you so much for sharing.

Ahuva Heliosense

Night -
Welcome back!! Your blog was very important to me.

Ahuva has also changed her rl avatar. There is no question that being Ahuva strengthened and bettered me. You are always welcome to use my blog (tiny as it is) whenever you wish to post. I will be happy and honored to share that site with you.

Renmiri

SL ultimately played a part in making me actually fight to get better treatment in RL
This.

In a virtual world you feel less afraid to explore and you might end up finding yourself there

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Lovely to read. I'm glad Night's creator found the balance she needed in RL.

It's made a bunch of us reflect on our avatars here, too. Not a bad thing.

Except for the Dreads and non-gray beard, Iggy's pretty much me (to the point of double-takes by RL friends who see the avatar). For the first time however, reading this and the comments, I realize that my decision to buy a cooler car in part came from Iggy's road-trips in his Dominus Shadow. It just never really "clicked" before.

Stroker Serpentine

Enlightening post. All to familiar to many of us. I view SL as an extension of my RL. Not a replacement. I cannot say honestly that I have always held that perspective. Welcome back Night =D

Evora Laurent

I was very moved by your post; thank you for sharing such a personal story. We are all in SL for a reason, and I think it is truly wonderful when we can recognize and bring to fullness the better parts of ourselves through this experience. That you had the courage to make it "RL" is inspiring. I grant that not everyone can do this, however it provides a wonderful reminder for me to reexamine my avatar and find ways to bring that perhaps less-expressed part of myself into RL, just as I have into SL.

Sinnyo

Night's story is similar to my own in some respects. Two avatars - one of a second life and another of my idealised first - have been logged out indefinitely in order for my life to take a better shape. My experiences through them showed me many of life's wonders and helped me gain focus.. but they are me, and despite my insistence that they were not at the time, anything to the contrary feels like an affront to the person I have become. Nothing scares me more than the thought I might distance all this progress again, wrapping whole chunks of myself up inside a separate body and not being allowed to enjoy them as a whole self. It is for that reason I have not managed to engage with Second Life since.

I realise that these journeys and experiences which form such vital parts of our selves are all quite different, and so I hope you won't think me too general in saying this: I dearly hope that no-one keeps such a separate avatar for the wrong reasons. Second lives are a powerful tool, but they form a bridge which is hard to cross. There came a time in my own 'lives' that I realised huge wrongs in my life, and I had to close this divide in order to move on. To separate them again would be unthinkable, and my avatars are a shell without those parts of me instilled within them. For that reason, they rest, because they were never the whole me either.

Paul

A very moving post that proves that it isn't sl OR rl, but sl AND rl.

Rodion Resistance

Wow. Years ago, as a wide-eyed newbie, I was in SL mostly for the fun and thrill of it. In recent years, having "evolved" considerably inworld, I use SL mainly as my primary means of living. If I believe am now more "practical" or "utilitarian" in my use of SL, then how come I was moved to near-tears when reading this post? Something definitely got jerked inside. Bravo.

Fogwoman Gray

Wonderful, brave post! Fair winds in your journey of exploration :)

Dylan Rickenbacker

What a read, Night! And very similar to my own experience. You've summed up exactly how SL can either make us or break us, and sometimes a bit of both. SL can bring hidden things inside us out into the light, but that won't be any use to us if we don't tackle the task of bringing these things back into our real life, which is no small feat. Congratulations!

Josue Habana

This is a really moving post.

Congratulations on achieving the RL happiness you went out and fought for and for coming back here to share!

GoSpeed Racer

Night, welcome back. I've missed you. There hasn't been a week where I haven't given you a thought. I hope to meet you in world someday soon.

Go

Briony

This story is very moving but unfortunately for some real life children not what normally happens…for years I have heard mothers in second life on voice shouting at their real life small kids because they interrupt their second life.Some forgetting to pick them up at school, feed them junk, even swearing at them or barely getting out of the house to parks and activities because it interrupts moms second life time…if this goes on for say two years and even if after that you go and do the right thing and leave second life,…you can never get those two years back of neglect and damage you have caused to what should be most important to you. Second life in general is not all too healthy physically or mentally at least for the average person who is there to fill a“void” only imho

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Spent the afternoon getting a "second season" plot ready for fall gardening. Seeds go into the soil tomorrow for lettuce and collards.

Also explored a half-overgrown road, gated and abandoned a decade back, on my mountain bike. It was a gentle post-apoc landscape: butterflies and dragonflies skittered in front of me in the twilight as I pedaled home. The sky was full of cloud castles.

Then I shook up this martini drier than a shirt with extra starch, fresh from the dry cleaners.

There's something to this First Life thing, ya'll.

Extropia DaSilva

It is not 'flesh and blood' that makes a person real, but the fidelity of the mental pattern you carry around in your mind.

From this perspective, a fictional character (Bart Simpson, say) whose history, personality, social networks, etc etc you know well is more 'real' than all the people you pass by in the street, but you cannot recall anything at all about them.

I believe there is a co-evolutionary process between Stories and being animals that live in highly-complex social groups. Cultures use stories to convey important information about how society and interpersonal relationships function. We incorporate aspects of real life into our stories in order to connect more deeply with them.

If you give a suitably complex social species new tools for communication, that species will have an innate drive to use such technology to tell stories in new ways. Give that species new 'storytelling' technologies and it will use it as a means of developing social networks, and communicating information in new ways. Online worlds are a prime example of this co-evolution of storytelling-roleplay-interpersonal relationship exploration-social networking-storytelling.

Thus, SL IS an extension of RL because in both worlds we have environments in which fact and fantasy, the fictional and the 'real' are mashed-up, and where the question of what is 'real' and what is 'fiction' is harder to answer than you might suppose.

Hamlet Au

"It is not 'flesh and blood' that makes a person real, but the fidelity of the mental pattern you carry around in your mind. From this perspective, a fictional character (Bart Simpson, say) whose history, personality, social networks, etc etc you know well is more 'real' than all the people you pass by in the street"

This is an interesting thought experiment, Extropia, but I'm not sure if it actually makes sense. On the street when you see an old lady you don't know having trouble getting on the train, do you stop to help her? Or a crying kid wandering around by himself, do you ask him if he's lost and try to find his guardians? By your logic, it seems like we shouldn't, but I sure hope you help the unknown lady and the kid. When Bart Simpson seems to be in trouble, I don't worry anywhere near as much, I just wonder how Matt Groenig and his writers are gonna get him out of it.

Extropia DaSilva

But in your examples, Hamlet, you stop to interact with the old lady and the crying kid, and their plight probably had you empathising. But there are thousands of people you pass by without really noticing.

There is an experiment that shows how we can sometimes fail to see the *person* (as opposed to a generic human being) when occupied with other concerns. The volunteer approaches a person behind a counter, and while they fill in a questionaire the person disappears behind the counter (presumably to get something) and then somebody else pops up in his place.

Amazingly, nine times out of ten, the person preocupied with the questionnaire completely fails to register that the person is not the same person it was just a moment ago!

And that is how it is most of the time with people who come quickly in and out of our lives. Yes, of course you smile and say 'you too!' when the assistant says 'have a nice day!' but after a few moments you have forgotten all about him (apart from vague recollections along the lines of 'some guy in a blue jumper with a name tag attached to it') and he has probably forgotten all about you (well, maybe not YOU being a famous author and all but generally speaking...)

As for Bart, personally he seems more like a real person to me than Matt Groenig does. 'Matt Groenig' to me is just a name stamped on all Simpson's merchandise. I do not even know what he looks like (I do know what Nancy Cartwright who does the voice of Bart looks like). But I know a great deal about Bart, his personality, his likes and dislikes...

But, well, maybe I am unique when it comes to identifying with fictional characters like this. But then, since psychologists have a name for it (narrative transport, in case you are wondering), I guess there must be others:)

Hamlet Au

But Extropia, what do *you* do when you notice someone on the street who needs help? Do you take more action than you would if it was a fictional person in trouble?

Also, I think Bart Simpson is not a helpful example in this case, because he's one of the most well-known characters in pop culture. However, there are thousands and thousands of fictional characters we're exposed to constantly who have no meaningful impact on us. Are the people I pass on the street more real to me than, say, the extra in the red shirt without a speaking part on the first season of "Lost"? Absolutely.

Extropia DaSilva

But Bart's popularity is precisely why he *is* a good example. It is not my belief that all fictional characters seem more real than every one of the folk we pass by each day. It is indeed possible to think of examples where it is the fictional character who leaves a sparse mental model and the RL stranger who leaves a somewhat more lasting impression. So what? I do not see how that debunks the notion that if you develop a highly rich and detailed mental model of someone, that makes them more subjectively real than the mental model of someone that is so minimal you hardly remember meeting them, regardless of which person is flesh and blood and which was not.

There is one reason why Bart is not a good example. I might be able to identify with him, and incorporate aspects of his personality into my own repertoire, but there is no realtime two-way interaction between us. I cannot take action to help Bart. That is why online worlds are the next level in narrative: The storyarc is emergent, arising from the actions and interactions of avatars that are (to varying degrees) a blend of the real and the imaginary.

Extropia DaSilva

A further reason why Bart is perhaps not the best example of how the boundaries between reality and fantasy are not necessarily clearly defined, lies in the fact we all know he is entirely fictional.

But consider a list of names like Robin Hood, King Arthur, Jesus Christ, Tateru Nino, Father Christmas, Mary Anne Evans and George Elliot. If you were to ask many people of all ages 'which of these is/was an actual person, and to what extent is their lifestory historical fact', I suspect you would get a wide range of opinions. This just goes to show that we do not all agree on where the boundaries between real life and fantasy should be drawn, that perhaps we should not imagine a solid line dividing fact and 'Real Life' over here from fiction and 'virtual life' over there but rather fluid, ever-shifting boundaries defined by personal beliefs?

Delinda Dyrssen

Wonderful post..I have to say Secondlife is really helping me with my RL shyness.. (for some reason I am not shy at all in SL)

For a while there I was using SL to escape (and sometimes I still do but in a constructive manner) Now I have found a balance.. and RL and SL is good.

Arcadia Codesmith

My RL partner loves easily and often within SL. This is a core aspect of who she is.

I can't change her. I have the choice to accept her, or walk away. But that's really no choice at all; our souls are entwined in a way that's impossible to describe, and I love her more each day than the day before.

It was easy to fall in love with her. The hard lesson has been to trust her -- to know that no matter where she roams or what she does, she will always come back to me.

It is not yet a lesson fully learned. I still struggle with jealousy and lonliness. But I won't wallow in that pit. I own my feelings. They do not own me.

I wish Night and her family nothing but the best in finding and holding on to their own balance.

Beanine Q.

After all the pain and grief SL has caused in your first life, why on earth would you come back here? Don't fool yourself, SL is a drug and that "I can handle it." or "One beer isn't going to kill me." mentality will end you up right back where you were before. If you are smart you will leave SL and not look back. @Briony - I knew someone like that in SL and she has now quit..or at least on that avatar. Want to know why? Her husband used what she was doing in SL and her neglect of the children because she was so wrapped up in the game and on-line affairs to gain custody of the children in a divorce. Be careful people, don't think your SL activities can't come back to bite you.

Earth Primbee

Thanks for giving a voice to a truth undeniable in many lives. Bravo.

Renmiri

I once read one f this "SL is destroying marriages" articles and in there a very enlightened wife said this about her SL philandering husband:
Well of course it bothers me that he spends so much time in there, and with other women. But I'm not heartless. He has been bed bound for over a year now with his illness and I can see how he thrives on this new world where he can walk and look young again. He has had so much pain and limitation since he got sick.. How can I take away the little piece of sunshine he found in a very bleak year for both of us ?

The woman didn't divorce her husband, even after finding out he had a wife/ partner in game.

I don't know if I would have been as tolerant as her but I do know how much it feels good finding a place where I can move, fly and walk around as a thin gorgeous tattooed red haired gal. Even if it's just prims, it feels exhilarating and it is very special. I don't think I want to block my romantic partner from that experience, and for sure would hate having it done to me!

Serndipity Seraph

What a beautiful story and what fabulous writing. You have quite a gift and give very generously of yourself.

You touch on something very important. Virtual worlds are among other things a place to start over or a place to build and explore a self or aspects of self that have proven illusive iRL. It took me a while to notice that there was no reason to run the same old patterns as iRL in SL. Much more freedom without so much inertia and lock in is available. This can be incredibly liberating and gives room to find ourselves or better aspects of ourselves. Not a replacement but an enrichment and increase of aliveness. Then one day you notice that you are no longer just a singleton In only one world. The primary iRL not only creates and animates the avatar, the avatar [re]creates and animates the primary.

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