I am continuing to play with prims! I decided that if I am stepping away from being ‘realistic’ then I can play with whatever catches my imagination. I just need to be able to identify what I want to make and know its purpose. In this case, I am making another meeting place for students to chat together (almost a ‘classroom’ but less formal). I want to create a space that ‘feels’ like a place where people can meet to share conversations. In Second Life we conjure up illusions, and if it’s a good illusion, we actually end up sharing it with each other. We interact with objects in Second Life but we are also interacting with each others imagination.
I keep trying to identify where else we share imagination in this way? Certainly in books we enter the author’s imagination. Here in the virtual world we enter the imagination of many others, and we can be there simultaneously (or visit days and weeks later). In the case of Second Life elves, and IBM staff, it is possible to have 200 avatars sharing the same ‘imaginative’ moment simultaneously. This is done by using the connected corners of 4 separate sims to form a giant virtual elven circle or conference center. (Imagine shuffling the sim corners when no one is looking so that elves and IBMs are all mixed together at the next meeting!)
An English friend in Second Life once described the experience of going to see her team (Manchester United) playing at home. Everyone in the stands experienced the same intense emotions simultaneously, the highs and lows. The sheer excitement of watching their team playing was amplified by the thousands of fans gathered together. There is no way Second Life touches on that degree of shared emotion, but I am thinking about Second Life as a shared imaginative experience, not a shared emotional experience. (There are people in Second Life who also achieve shared emotional experiences but this blog does not venture into those zones of SL, sorry!)
Now I am wondering who the virtual world appeals to the most, are there particular personality types more drawn to sharing the experience of virtual reality than others? Are we simply ‘fans’ of virtual reality? Or does virtual reality appeal to particular types of people?
If we apply Howard Gardner’s theories of Multiple Intelligences to Second life then it might be fair to say it appeals most to individuals strong in Visual-Spatial intelligence? But then, I can see Interpersonal Intelligence at work with the social web aspects of Second Life, drawing the extroverts into perpetual local chats and IMs where they can talk the hind leg off a virtual donkey. Ah, but perhaps those are the Verbo-Linguistic folks typing away like crazy, or chatting with their little green ‘voice’ lights pulsing above their heads ? The Logical-Mathematical intelligences must be the programmers and scripters (and precision builders) laying down the digital weft and weave of Second Life, establishing the world for avatars to immerse themselves within. I won’t leave out the introspective, slightly introverted individuals, who tend to turn into Second Life bloggers (rumored to number around 2,000 or more). Many bloggers are applying Intrapersonal Intelligence and some even transcend this to reveal moments of Existential Intelligence! This list of intelligences goes on, but I will stop here guessing that Second Life attracts the least number of folks with strong Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence as they will lack the patience to sit still long enough to allow the virtual world to rez. (Ah, but then could they be hanging out in the zones not covered by this blog by any chance?)
Well, after that meander around Gardner’s theory I return to my new interest in building. I love to photograph the light on water in the first world and this fascination is drawing me to play with water textures in the virtual world. In first life that would mean water fountains, and ice sculptures, in Second Life it means I can build sparkling water caves at sunset!
Take the Multiple Intelligence Test and see (or confirm) your own areas of strongest ‘intelligence’. This is a theory that educators have found useful but it is a theory only! Don’t take it too seriously! It’s just another way of looking at yourself, a bit like astrology! That makes me a visual-spatial fire sign with intrapersonal water rising!