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Is Second Life Just Turning Into a Lot of Backdrops?

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24 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

They are, but we've all been warned to beware the Siren's call, which draws you into Scylla's clutches.

It was Charybdis, I swear. She did it. I wasn't even home that day!

As I recall your lighthouse, it was more perilous inside than it was on the seas below.

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21 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I recently read an article about how pervasive photography isn't actually deteriorating people's engagement with the things they are photographing (a concern of mine). It seems that, rather than documenting our explorations for future reference, we're disseminating our images as... invitations to explore.

That's a hopeful sign. As I said, it would be wrong to imply that a digital view of the world is incompatible with an analog one.  Anyone who has dived into the fascinating world of mathematics or quantum mechanics can tell you that the universe itself behaves as both a statistically smooth continuum and a quantized one.  It's a limitation of our human minds that we find them difficult to grasp at the same time.  In my own twisted way of understanding Real Life, I recognize that "destination people" and "explorers" have a lot in common.  I'm encouraged by the thought that a comfortable number of people around me can resist the temptation to snap their attention from one shiny thing to another, and can wonder about what lies between them, and what comes next.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

That's a hopeful sign. As I said, it would be wrong to imply that a digital view of the world is incompatible with an analog one.  Anyone who has dived into the fascinating world of mathematics or quantum mechanics can tell you that the universe itself behaves as both a statistically smooth continuum and a quantized one.  It's a limitation of our human minds that we find them difficult to grasp at the same time.  In my own twisted way of understanding Real Life, I recognize that "destination people" and "explorers" have a lot in common.  I'm encouraged by the thought that a comfortable number of people around me can resist the temptation to snap their attention from one shiny thing to another, and can wonder about what lies between them, and what comes next.

There's something of an irony present in this discussion: the relationship between Second Life, understood as an interactive virtual world, and the pseudo-photographic reproductions of it -- "representations" -- is being characterized in almost exactly the same way that the relationship between the "real world" and "SL" is sometimes described. Even the references to young people taking videos of concerts they are attending reinforces the parallel.

And it's ironic, I need hardly say, because SL is itself a "representation," and really rather a slavish one, of the physical world. Interactive engagement with the environment in SL -- sitting in a chair, dancing, having sex using animation-loaded furniture -- these are all, obviously, reproductions and representations of things we do in RL. And the aim of those who make such animations, and other experiential, interactive elements, has always been to make them as "lifelike" and "realistic" as possible, language that itself emphasizes that they aren't "life" or "real" as conventionally understood.

I suppose we can make a Platonic judgement here on the value of copies of copies, with the physical world (which, of course, Plato also thought was a copy of the ideal) represented in the parallel, bizarrely, by Second Life.

But it feels like there is a kind of generational thing going on here, an idea that has also been evoked in this discussion. It does feel a little like the "old folks" muttering and shaking our heads over the young people doing exactly what we themselves did when we were younger!

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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4 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

There's something of an irony present in this discussion: the relationship between Second Life, understood as an interactive virtual world, and the pseudo-photographic reproductions of it -- "representations" -- is being characterized in almost exactly the same way that the relationship between the "real world" and "SL" is sometimes described.

Quite definitely.  It is a familiar discussion, circling back to many that we have had about immersion and whether SL is a "game".  As residents, we hold several overlapping perspectives about where we are and what it all means.  It only takes a trigger like "backdrops" to send us off on another philosophical conversation.  I hope I have managed to convey that I find the plurality of perspectives fascinating.  I only feel sad when I worry that not enough residents step back to imagine more than what's in front of them at this instant. This isn't a gallery with pretty pictures on the walls.  It's more like an arcade or a fun house, where we and the walls are always moving.  And there are some pretty pictures too.

12 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

But it feels like there is a kind of generational thing going on here, an idea that has also been evoked in this discussion. It does feel a little like watching the "old folks" muttering and shaking their heads over the young people doing exactly what they themselves did when they were younger!

Also very true.  I fall into that trap a lot.  I just hope that I am getting wise enough to recognize that it is a trap, and can wave my hands wildly enough to warn others.  Including all those young whippersnappers wandering around taking selfies and burying their noses in text messages. 😎

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Social medias tend to create this weird and perverse idea that it's more important to appear to have fun than "have fun". It's also getting harder to separate art from advertisement in this.

Betwee uuhh.

  • Are they having fun?
  • Are they pretending to have fun as an artistic expression?
  • Are they pretending to have fun in order to promote a business?
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3 hours ago, Rolig Loon said:

Today, we deal in snapshots and sound bites.  We expect to return from a vacation with several thousand photos on an iPhone. Instead of buying an album of music that has been arranged on CD to fill a theme, we plan on grabbing new tunes one at a time from the Internet to create our own patchwork quilt of music.  And then we rearrange the collection at will, moving each  piece of music as a separable chunk.  We even travel in digital ways, visiting the world by hopping from one airport destination to another rather than taking the slow route to see what's between them.

Nope, sorry, not we. I can't live that way and I don't. Can't afford any of that anyway.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Rolig Loon said:

Quite definitely.  It is a familiar discussion, circling back to many that we have had about immersion and whether SL is a "game".  As residents, we hold several overlapping perspectives about where we are and what it all means.  It only takes a trigger like "backdrops" to send us off on another philosophical conversation.  I hope I have managed to convey that I find the plurality of perspectives fascinating.  I only feel sad when I worry that not enough residents step back to imagine more than what's in front of them at this instant. This isn't a gallery with pretty pictures on the walls.  It's more like an arcade or a fun house, where we and the walls are always moving.  And there are some pretty pictures too.

I absolutely agree with you about plurality of perspective: it's how we truly come to know things. And understanding that there are diverse perspectives is a vital lesson in itself.

I've sometimes thought, though, that SL missed an incredibly opportunity to be even more like a funhouse than it is (or used to be: I think there's much less whimsy here than in the past). There's little actual reason why a virtual world needs to replicate our own. In digital space, we shouldn't need earth to stand on, or a distinction between up and down, sky and ground. SL could have really reimagined a new kind of space, and an entirely different way of relating to it, and each other, that doesn't mimic RL. I can even imagine a virtual space that is multi-dimensional, although that would, to some degree, need to be articulated in an abstract form. Maddy has a new avatar she's built: a sort of cascading ball of shiny particles: that's a funhouse!

In truth, of course, I'd be loath to part with my own pretty clothing and hair here. That kind of SL wouldn't have succeeded the way this one has: we appear to be able to imagine only so far, and no farther.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
Because loathe is not loath. Duh.
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14 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I absolutely agree with you about plurality of perspective: it's how we truly come to know things. And understanding that there are diverse perspectives is a vital lesson in itself.

I've sometimes thought, though, that SL missed an incredibly opportunity to be even more like a funhouse than it is (or used to be: I think there's much less whimsy here than in the past). There's little actual reason why a virtual world needs to replicate our own. In digital space, we shouldn't need earth to stand on, or a distinction between up and down, sky and ground. SL could have really reimagined a new kind of space, and an entirely different way of relating to it, and each other, that doesn't mimic RL. I can even imagine a virtual space that is multi-dimensional, although that would, to some degree, need to be articulated in an abstract form. Maddy has a new avatar she's built: a sort of cascading ball of shiny particles: that's a funhouse!

In truth, of course, I'd be loathe to part with my own pretty clothing and hair here. That kind of SL wouldn't not have succeeded the way this one has: we appear to be able to imagine only so far, and no farther.

It's true we don't "need" any of that stuff, but I can tell you that my first day working on Unity was... pretty daunting. Staring at that blank, void world, full of possibilities, but also providing me absolutely nothing to prop my work upon.

We take a lot of what SL provides for granted, the fact that we all come with a stock avatar, with reasonable controls, a ground, a sun/moon cycle, prims and a hearty default library ment that, at least in the early days, we wheren't just dropped into an oppressive void.

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6 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I absolutely agree with you about plurality of perspective: it's how we truly come to know things. And understanding that there are diverse perspectives is a vital lesson in itself.

I've sometimes thought, though, that SL missed an incredibly opportunity to be even more like a funhouse than it is (or used to be: I think there's much less whimsy here than in the past). There's little actual reason why a virtual world needs to replicate our own. In digital space, we shouldn't need earth to stand on, or a distinction between up and down, sky and ground. SL could have really reimagined a new kind of space, and an entirely different way of relating to it, and each other, that doesn't mimic RL. I can even imagine a virtual space that is multi-dimensional, although that would, to some degree, need to be articulated in an abstract form. Maddy has a new avatar she's built: a sort of cascading ball of shiny particles: that's a funhouse!

In truth, of course, I'd be loathe to part with my own pretty clothing and hair here. That kind of SL wouldn't have succeeded the way this one has: we appear to be able to imagine only so far, and no farther.

My avatar and clothing certainly don't represent my own "real" world - just saying...

:D

Emma :)

 

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9 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

we shouldn't need earth to stand on, or a distinction between up and down, sky and ground

If they had done this I would never have joined. Most humans are not capable of dealing with no up or down. Those that can, do so only after rigorous training for it and they are called astronauts.

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17 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

And it's ironic, I need hardly say, because SL is itself a "representation," and really rather a slavish one, of the physical world. Interactive engagement with the environment in SL -- sitting in a chair, dancing, having sex using animation-loaded furniture -- these are all, obviously, reproductions and representations of things we do in RL. And the aim of those who make such animations, and other experiential, interactive elements, has always been to make them as "lifelike" and "realistic" as possible, language that itself emphasizes that they aren't "life" or "real" as conventionally understood.

Speak for yourself quine. It was Maddy who got the fish drunk. Well, technically she supplied the intoxicant and I may have accidentally left it in a place where it could get into the fish's belly and wreak its havoc. It was an accident I swear.

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22 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

Speak for yourself quine. It was Maddy who got the fish drunk. Well, technically she supplied the intoxicant and I may have accidentally left it in a place where it could get into the fish's belly and wreak its havoc. It was an accident I swear.

Oh, agreed. The very presence of Maddy has a glitch effect that turns SL upside down.

I understand that FS is working on a fix, but the problem is proving intractable.

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12 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Oh, agreed. The very presence of Maddy has a glitch effect that turns SL upside down.

I understand that FS is working on a fix, but the problem is proving intractable.

... sets you on fire for Maddy

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3 hours ago, Emma Krokus said:

My avatar and clothing certainly don't represent my own "real" world - just saying...

 

This ^^

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17 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

And it's ironic, I need hardly say, because SL is itself a "representation," and really rather a slavish one, of the physical world. Interactive engagement with the environment in SL -- sitting in a chair, dancing, having sex using animation-loaded furniture -- these are all, obviously, reproductions and representations of things we do in RL. And the aim of those who make such animations, and other experiential, interactive elements, has always been to make them as "lifelike" and "realistic" as possible, language that itself emphasizes that they aren't "life" or "real" as conventionally understood.

 

I've always wondered why that is. Why, I actually do know: if our virtual world deviates too much from our real one, we'll start having problems immersing, and no longer believe what's presented to us. As agent Smith told Morpheus, in The Matrix

"Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world, where none suffered, where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster. No one would accept the program, entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world, but I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from."

Now SL isn't about suffering per se, but we nevertheless like it to be lifelike enough, and not too perfect. Like we can all fly, yet still have stairs in our homes. Our brains, for some reason, simply can't cope with 'too perfect.' Or too much deviation, rather. Agent Smith was quite right. :)

I always feel a little disappointed by this -- even though I perfectly understand why we're doing it. I often try and fight this impulse, and do feeble things to pretend I'm breaking free of this 'hold on reality' my mind is clinging to. Like I'll have a TV in my living room, that's just floating (telling myself we kinda licked gravity somehow). But I am just deluding myself, as I have those stairs nonetheless: without those, my 'primitive cerebrum' indeed keeps wanting to wake up from the fake reality. I can just cam to my upstairs bedroom, and tp2cam directly to. Yet I don't. It simply needs to be like real life, one way or the other. In this world, I'm a little prettier, a little younger, a little richer, a little more of all of the good stuff, but enhanced or no, still in this world (albeit virtualized).

"Free your mind!" is actually a lot harder to do than it sounds.

P.S. Thank you again, Scylla, for the thought-provoking spinnings of your mind. 💎

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

Speak for yourself quine. It was Maddy who got the fish drunk. Well, technically she supplied the intoxicant and I may have accidentally left it in a place where it could get into the fish's belly and wreak its havoc. It was an accident I swear.

I suppose I've revealed the extent of my self-centeredness by not considering the possibility that someone else would see one my Molotov Cocktails as a thing to drink.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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8 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Oh, agreed. The very presence of Maddy has a glitch effect that turns SL upside down.

I understand that FS is working on a fix, but the problem is proving intractable.

So that explains what happened to the houseboat 🙃

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3 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

So that explains what happened to the houseboat 🙃

...senses potential discontent with "what happened to the houseboat" and prepares another Molotov Cocktail.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Kyrah Abattoir said:

It's true we don't "need" any of that stuff, but I can tell you that my first day working on Unity was... pretty daunting. Staring at that blank, void world, full of possibilities, but also providing me absolutely nothing to prop my work upon.

We take a lot of what SL provides for granted, the fact that we all come with a stock avatar, with reasonable controls, a ground, a sun/moon cycle, prims and a hearty default library ment that, at least in the early days, we wheren't just dropped into an oppressive void.

This is the biggest challenge for SL.  This world appeals to people who not only have imagination but are also comfortable with a certain amount of ambiguity.  SL attracts people who like to fiddle and make their own way.  When someone who is used to MMORGs with static landscapes comes here, their first reaction is of disorientation -- being overwhelmed by too many options.  To truly enjoy SL, you have to be at least a little comfortable with uncertainty.  

Having said that, there's such a thing as too much uncertainty.  We at least need ground under our feet and the horizon to look at.  Most of us need more than that, reminders of RL, to feel comfortable.  I think that's one reason that Sansar has less appeal than SL.  Its slate is too empty for most people.

Edited by Rolig Loon
typos. as always.
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Just now, Madelaine McMasters said:

...senses potential discontent with "what happened to the houseboat" and prepares another Molotov Cocktail.

only in that i have to give up the houseboat in 8 days (won a month in a raffle and it's almost over) and i haven't yet succeeded in getting that je ne sais 👀 in a house house yet.

i'm supposed to go inworld to flood the back room though and hopefully that will restore my sense of order. actually, i'm supposed to be working on a hunt prize....

but fire away :D

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13 minutes ago, kiramanell said:

"Free your mind!" is actually a lot harder to do than it sounds.

I was going to say "maybe not", but I can't be sure. I've always had an active imagination, a strong oppositional streak, and a significant ability to keep myself amused. Nevertheless, as Rolig observes, I do need some minimal recognizable framework on which to build. That said, though SL certainly allows me to "do" things I can only imagine in RL, it's nowhere near covering the ground my imagination plows every day. It's a tautology, but I can't imagine a world that could contain my imagination.

I'm currently having a good time "realizing" myself as the roiling, boiling, spontaneously decaying fuzzball of moral ambiguity, but it's not a look that will last. It's not a relatable presentation. It doesn't give people enough to judge, and that's what we're wired to do in encounters.

While my flights of fancy may go a li'l farther than some of you, I do eventually come home.

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3 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

While my flights of fancy may go a li'l farther than some of you, I do eventually come home.

.... and set fire to it.  A mind is a terrible thing.

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

the problem is proving intractable.

Problem?

Proving? Not proved?

A woman's work is never done.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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13 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:
17 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

While my flights of fancy may go a li'l farther than some of you, I do eventually come home.

.... and set fire to it.  A mind is a terrible thing.

The closest I've come to burning the place down is when you visited..
.270035933_WelcomeRolig.thumb.jpg.02781650fc2ad06fffa43448a5633ea6.jpg

Yet the house still stands...
358386502_DevilatHome.thumb.jpg.69948a449eda180e4662d9fc87dcb242.jpg

 

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18 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I was going to say "maybe not", but I can't be sure. I've always had an active imagination, a strong oppositional streak, and a significant ability to keep myself amused. Nevertheless, as Rolig observes, I do need some minimal recognizable framework on which to build. That said, though SL certainly allows me to "do" things I can only imagine in RL, it's nowhere near covering the ground my imagination plows every day. It's a tautology, but I can't imagine a world that could contain my imagination.

I'm currently having a good time "realizing" myself as the roiling, boiling, spontaneously decaying fuzzball of moral ambiguity, but it's not a look that will last. It's not a relatable presentation. It doesn't give people enough to judge, and that's what we're wired to do in encounters.

While my flights of fancy may go a li'l farther than some of you, I do eventually come home.

Maybe I should have explained my "it's full of stars" comment last night. You have seen 2001: A Space Odyssey haven't you? 

Not everyone has a home to go home to... so you've got the advantage there. 

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