My optimism over the future of the Human race took a serious nosedive today, when I’m made aware of a discussion amongs work colleauges, on the blurring of realities for another worker, who seems to think Second Life blurs the edges, into this first life. Said person is married and currently partnering a pregnancy term, in this virtual world. Assuming all information is at least in the ballpark of the original conversation, this person also proceeded to describe Second Life, as a place where you can do everything you can, in real life. Let me say that again: everything you can do in real life. Without shooting the obvious responses in covering the remaining senses, I’m dumbstruck as to why someone would want to replace this existence with a virtual one.
Having worked at Nintendo, been an avid gamer, a VR fan and being in ownership of an escapist mind, you’d think I could comprehend the reasoning behind such laudable conversation enders. I’ve had people tell me how they can relate WoW to real life, but never (until now) heard how someone can limit life to a digital medium, and consider it an adequate replacement (at least on a worrying level, of consideration).
I thought I could understand certain levels of it. I dislike dealing with people on a daily basis, because people can be arrogant, selfish, rude and unforgiving; why would I want to integrate myself with such negativity? For me, the point is that while I’m not a big fan of the Human race in general, I couldn’t excuse myself a life, that didn’t make full use of my evolutionary talents. I need to be engaged on multiple sensory levels, and not just sit staring, at a bunch of pixels that represent someone elses idea, of who they’d like to be.
With that last sentence I feel, lies a point of reference to the truth of the matter. The people who interact purely as their online personas and live life in that realm, are uncomfortable with themselves and how they are seen, in the real world. Socially unaware, or somewhat repressed, it’s easier to imagine which fantasy element you would most like to be; the part of your psyche, you’d most like to expunge. With such a character replacement, gone is the concern of embarrasment, awkward silences and social faux pas; you are your own little god.
Social platforms such as Twitter, are knitting reality elements back in to the fabric of virtual existence, and, can be quite beneficial at forcing people to be increasingly vocal, about who they are and not who they’d percieve themselves to be. Let’s just hope that more of these technologies emerge to reverse a virtual trend, and encourage us all, to keep engaged with life.