Second Life, a ‘place’ to change your mind in many ways and many times. Those of us who like exploring virtual worlds do so for many different reasons. Clearly some people allow themselves to be swept into the alternative reality afforded by the immersive experience, they might describe themselves as ‘living Second Life’. Meanwhile, others are drawn by the shifts in perception that a virtual world can generate. This line of thinking might be drawn on a continuum from the feeling aspect of experience to the thinking aspect. We virtual world travelers could all potentially position ourselves somewhere on this continuum. I would also factor into our elected position an elasticity; that is, we could each draw a bubble around ourselves that shows the degree that we move up and down our own selected reaches of the feeling/thinking virtual experience.
Some people happily spend their time in-world as their avatar projection of themselves interacting with other avatar projections. They all become players within their projected play, calibrating their virtual relationships according to their agreed upon version of shared virtual reality. I would put these people and their avatars at the feeling end of the continuum. At the same time I would say they have powerful anchors that orient them to their location in a greater picture of space and time. That is, travelers in virtual worlds know they are sitting at home watching their computer screen where they are also answering the phone, planning meals and reminding themselves to unload the washing machine.
Many people simply accept this is how they are within the virtual world as they access it from the physical world, they don’t ask deep philosophical questions they just ‘do it!’ Others find themselves having a different type of experience while hovering more towards the thinking end of the continuum. We self conscious ‘thinkers’ wander the virtual world, play with our avatars and interact with others in the 3D space but we constantly try to align everything so that it makes some kind of sense. We find that the hook that brings us back again and again is a question, actually it is more like a string of questions. Second Life is more of an experiment for those of us hooked on trying to figure out the virtual world experience. I would say it is a ‘Glass Bead Game’ for us, a virtual place where we can explore both ourselves and our understanding of reality. By that, I don’t mean virtual reality versus physical reality (virtual world v the so-called real world) I mean reality itself.
Inspire Space Park, Shinda. Second Life: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Shinda/73/197/1560/