Monday, July 31, 2017

makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yea...

...I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph, so mama don't take my Kodachrome away...

How does such a lighthearted classic pop song and an up-the-butt bikini bottom shot wind up segueing into a long-winded tangential commentary on Second Life such as the one below? Here's how.

It started out with a quick blurb about the differences between what my avatar wears in Second Life and what I wear in the real world. Looking for a title, "...greens of summer " seemed as good as any Paul Simon lyrics. I googled the song to see if it had a deeper meaning and found a Facebook post from 2012 which read:

The song “Kodachrome”, according to Paul Simon, is about the distortion of reality.

...and this came out.

I can't think of a better way to describe the internet. It's no secret it brings out the true nature of people by providing them a safe place to anonymously express elements of their personalities they might not express in the physical world. Sometimes the anonymity compounds all the nastiest bits, turning them into trolls on message boards. In virtual worlds however, there's the added piece of lifelike avatar representations. Then you have Second Life where experiences are only limited by one's imagination and there's no clear objective or road map, not to mention the time and effort it takes to learn how to maneuver. I think it's that investment of time and effort which could be the reason many people start to move past the desire to be keyboard warriors and pseudo intellectuals. We're more interested in playing out our real life fantasies on the screen. Well, most of us any way.

For better or worse, the majority of us are our true selves in Second Life when it comes to how we show up emotionally and mentally. That's reality. But we exist in our fantasy bodies, living in our fantasy houses. We dance our asses off for hours and don't sweat. We command entire mountains to rise up and move to our will. We fly, teleport, change our race, gender, and species with a few clicks. It's a heightened sense of reality, but a reality nonetheless thanks to the lifelike detail of the bodies, the landscape and the environment as a whole. Because we're only experiencing Second Life on a screen however, there's no confusion about the fact that we don't actually look like Barbie dolls and movie stars. Knowing that, our real world physical and material qualities aren't typically factored in to what people think of us. That levels the playing field considerably. 

Some choose to sink deep into the fantasy, attempting to use it to drown out the pains of their reality, but many choose to use it as an extension of their creative selves. Third party viewers provide tools which enable us to become photographers and landscape architects. We design and create goods, build businesses and generate virtual revenue. Some even get married and have babies. 

Real world limitations be damned.

In many ways, the loss of our physical selves and all the complications which come with them seems to be the catalyst for courage to put ourselves out there in ways we might not otherwise. Rejection is so much easier when you don't have to struggle to hide unconscious body language which betrays your disappointment. While that may seem like a minor thing, I'm convinced it's a big part of our subconscious aversion toward taking risks when it comes to expressing our creativity. I for one spent many years taking pictures and writing stories, making every excuse imaginable to not share with anyone but my closest friends when the real reason was my fear of rejection.

I've only been in Second Life for about a year. Since the bulk of it has been spent socializing, exploring, dancing, shopping and taking pictures, I can't speak for the so-called 'dark sexual underbelly' I read so much about on the rest of the internet in my first few weeks. I also know people have experienced profound betrayals, epic drama and that old familiar descent into keyboard warrior status. I know it's all there, it's just not my experience. If that were the case, I wouldn't have made it past the first month. To me, Second Life is many things but above all it's a most excellent creative outlet and I can't help but wonder what sort of real world effect it will one day have on my ability to put myself out there.

Oh right, and the picture...

[hair] Truth - Kasimire
[bikini] Rebel Hope - Brinkly
[tat] Carol G - Perfect Harmony
[body] Maitreya
[Skin] Essences - Lilo (July Powder pack)
[pose] addme no. 89-4

What Next - Sunflowers Bicycle Decor (July 21 FLF)
Pilot - Poolside - Flip Flops
Dust Bunny - My Summer Retreat - Shade Umbrella
Dust Bunny - My Summer Retreat - Beach Bag (cream)
Tartessos Arts - Holidays Beach Decor
Lisp - Bobble deck Chair (July 21 FLF)