Quaintly wrote a post about her awakening from SL and, since we have always argued about the “reality” of SL, it got me started into a long comment (for example, that spending countless hours with your virtual wardrobe may look shallow, but in fact shows respect for your enviroment and people’s immersion… and, err, well, it is pretty fun), which ended with me “londoning” it.
The main point was my answer to this lines of hers: “What SL is, is an illusion. It seems real, but it isn’t. And before anyone tries to argue the point, of course the people in it, and the friendships we build, are real. Just as real as the friendships you have with the co-workers in your office. But when you switch jobs, move to a different company, how many of those friendships remain? Only a few. The same thing with SL”.
I simply can’t get it; if SL is less real because you can leave it, doesn’t make a job illusory too?
Aha! Got you with your own words! *grins at Quaintly*.
After all, if we check how we where before SL, and how we are now, and it has changed us, doesn’t make it real?
I’ve been changed by books and films, by wonderful, fictional stories that made me look at life in new, open ways, but that doesn’t make them real.
In fact, it would be a bit silly to argue about a film being or not being real and, in the same way, it is a bit silly to discuss if virtual worlds are real; they are and aren’t, in the same way other activities are and aren’t: entertainment, work, pornography or spiritual shelters.
I’m afraid that, deep inside, the problem is always the same: is the people behind the screen real? Can I accept a virtual personality as such, or do I need an RL link? Are we being deceived?
Yes, relations may be catastrophic when one end don’t meet the expectations… and yes, we can talk about ye olde trucker joke *rolls eyes*, but mainly about people who fakes care, compromise, disappearing in the shadows of anonymity when they get what they want; I think this is why many people thinks this place isn’t “real”.
But I disagree; yes, there is many many people around who aren’t what they seem, people whose shyness, physical traits or society enviroment didn’t let them be what they wanted, until they found this strange, virtual canvas; but that doesn’t mean they are fakers. And yes, I’ve met some bad apples in my SL years, and I’ve been deceived by them… but that also happens at RL: the only difference is, it is harder to spot them here.
Of course I’m partial, being one of those aumengtationists myself; London’s RL counterpart isn’t so pretty, flirty, daring, crazy and… well, it may come as a shock, but I don’t have kitten ears at RL *pouts*.
By staying away from SL we can free an incredible amount of time, discover little RL joys we had forgotten, and get rid of heartaches and emotional debris; thus, I fully understand when a friend decides it is time to leave, and I am glad if we keep contact through mail, even if it means sharing our (booooooring ;-) RL everyday.
But I stay at SL, maybe because, having committed virtual adultery, I can’t bring myself to port SL lovers into full disclosure RL friends, or maybe because I don’t want to lose that special, crazy piece of me, that only lives here.
I stay, and keep believing. Does that makes me a dreamer, and SL an illusion? Does it matter?
As Calderon de la Barca wrote:
What is this life? A frenzy, an illusion,
A shadow, a delirium, a fiction.
The greatest good’s but little, and this life
is but a dream, and dreams are only dreams.