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eyeye Afterthought

It's not real. Are you real? Is it real? Are you for real?

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8 minutes ago, eyeye Afterthought said:

I found myself so disappointed that my real life good friend was so close minded really. To have my own personal "waste of time" (my interest, hobby, whatever Second Life is to all of us as individuals) dismissed by a real life friend, who I have never criticised or condemned for doing anything that could be considered a waste of time to other people. 

This same person used to chide me for my time spent in SL as I wasn't socializing with "real people" and she thought it was unhealthy. I never once pointed out to her that the same time I spent in SL was time that she spent sitting in front of the television, and that at least I actually was interacting with real people and not television characters. 

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1 hour ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

It's not uncommon for people, in RL, to ask me...

"Are you for real"?

Have you found the answer yet? ;)

Serious sicentists are taking the question seriously enough they are doing serious research to find the pixels of the "Real World". Or maybe they just got bored with all that simple stuff about branes and strings, who knows.

Here's one of the original Lindens' view on it (and yes, his name really is Avi - that might explain a lot):

 

 

Edited by ChinRey
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Just now, Beth Macbain said:

This same person used to chide me for my time spent in SL as I wasn't socializing with "real people" and she thought it was unhealthy. I never once pointed out to her that the same time I spent in SL was time that she spent sitting in front of the television, and that at least I actually was interacting with real people and not television characters. 

I just had this conversation with the personal trainer "health mentor" I *had* through the mental health clinic I use. Said trainer makes house calls, so when he arrived I had been in SL and also had the Forum open, and the Forum notices were pinging on my computer. Not too surprisingly, he asked what was going on. I explained SL, etc. He had never heard of SL. (This is an important point.) He was curious and so I explained. I explained the social aspect of it. Now... since the RL social "aspect" is a RL issue and discussed at the clinic with therapists, this was notable. Trainer, who didn't know the SL he was talking about, began to go into how I could spend my time better, how it was kind of a wasted thing to do, what about RL, etc. I was not amused.

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24 minutes ago, eyeye Afterthought said:

Oh my. Well, one of my reunion buddies has a thing for Marvel superheroes and has been known to wear certain head to toe superhero outfits when expecting visitors (and probably when not expecting visitors). First time I saw him as Spiderman, I admit I found that freakish, mainly because I didn't know Spiderman smoked.  A man in a skin tight suit of any kind, over 50, well some things unfortunately cannot be unseen. 

I kind of see SL, in many respects (it is never the same thing all the time for all people), as similar. I don't believe that you "really are" being the superhero if you don the costume and act in a Marvel sim, any more than I am "really being" Wonder Woman when I wear my RL fancy dress costume (which I do when I can, with the wig. There are pics. Yes I know she's DC.). In that sense, as with the super manly sex god warrior who sweats pure testosterone and all the others, I don't believe you "really are" that person in any plane. You just have a powerful, immersive vessel for the fantasy. I think the RL costume is closer to "really being" the person, actually.

Relationships (platonic and sexual) are a bit less clear cut. Some people, of course, are just full on fantasists. Some are as close to their real selves as it's possible to be in SL. In many cases (most?), I think people are acting out a true side to themselves, but it may be exaggerated (especially in sexual fantasy) and it won't be tempered or balanced as much by all the other facets of their personality as it would be in RL. In such cases, I wouldn't say it "isn't real", but depending on the situation, I might say it's not the full truth and may be misleading as well as intoxicating. That may not matter if you really do never intend to take it out of SL, but my experience is that almost everyone takes it out of SL one way or another (surely the only way not to is to not actually care a jot about the other person, in which case, is it a relationship?).

For lots of people, that works. It's all they require to fulfil their needs, it has no negative impact in RL and it's what they both desire. That's grand. There are definitely those, though, for whom it affects and spoils RL relationships, so one does need to be careful. And I say that as someone who did successfully make the transition. I swear I loved him more when it moved fully offline but yes, it was different. 

 

 

Edited by Amina Sopwith
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People don't need to be face to face to be "real".

Rather late in his life, the great Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, began a correspondence with a fan of his work, Miss Joy Chant.  Over time this relationship grew and deepened.  Although they did not meet for quite a long time, they eventually did meet, and married.

You don't need the internet for examples of long distance relationships.

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3 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

I kind of see SL, in many respects (it is never the same thing all the time for all people), as similar. I don't believe that you "really are" being the superhero if you don the costume and act in a Marvel sim, any more than I am "really being" Wonder Woman when I wear my RL fancy dress costume (which I do when I can, with the wig. There are pics. Yes I know she's DC.). In that sense, as with the super manly sex god warrior who sweats pure testosterone and all the others, I don't believe you "really are" that person in any plane. You just have a powerful, immersive vessel for the fantasy. I think the RL costume is closer to "really being" the person, actually.

Relationships (platonic and sexual) are a bit less clear cut. Some people, of course, are just full on fantasists. Some are as close to their real selves as it's possible to be in SL. In many cases (most?), I think people are acting out a true side to themselves, but it may be exaggerated (especially in sexual fantasy) and it won't be tempered or balanced as much by all the other facets of their personality as it would be in RL. In such cases, I wouldn't say it "isn't real", but depending on the situation, I might say it's not the full truth and may be misleading as well as intoxicating. That may not matter if you really do never intend to take it out of SL, but my experience is that almost everyone takes it out of SL one way or another (surely the only way not to is to not actually care a jot about the other person, in which case, is it a relationship?).

For lots of people, that works. It's all they require to fulfil their needs, it has no negative impact in RL and it's what they both desire. That's grand. There are definitely those, though, for whom it affects and spoils RL relationships, so one does need to be careful. And I say that as someone who did successfully make the transition. I swear I loved him more when it moved fully offline but yes, it was different. 

 

 

Intoxicating - what a lovely word. Yes, I have certainly felt intoxicated in the presence of some people I have met in Second Life - and in  real life. They have such a presence to have this power. Maybe I am just extra emotional, especially for a man, maybe that is my downfall sometimes. I certainly felt very annoyed emotionally when it was suggested to me, and argued with me, that friends and acquaintance - all people really - in a virtual reality environment are less real than the people in the bar room were that evening. And where are they right now?  Do they not exist just because I am not sharing the same space as them?  Certainly, you lovely folk who have given such diverse and insightful replies to my wondering post of this morning, feel very very real to me. I thank you all for your contributions to this thread. 

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Of course, there are also plenty of cases of people whose entire relationships were conducted in RL, and yet at some point down the line - days, years, decades - discovered that their partners were in fact completely different people to what they had thought. People are messy and complex and so are relationships. 

I do think the medium affects perception, communication and response. Not saying there are any hard and fast rules on how, but they do affect things. I think most of us would agree that interacting in the forums probably gives a different outcome to the pub, and that text is different to speech. Not inherently better or worse, but different.

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36 minutes ago, Seicher Rae said:

I just had this conversation with the personal trainer "health mentor" I *had* through the mental health clinic I use. Said trainer makes house calls, so when he arrived I had been in SL and also had the Forum open, and the Forum notices were pinging on my computer. Not too surprisingly, he asked what was going on. I explained SL, etc. He had never heard of SL. (This is an important point.) He was curious and so I explained. I explained the social aspect of it. Now... since the RL social "aspect" is a RL issue and discussed at the clinic with therapists, this was notable. Trainer, who didn't know the SL he was talking about, began to go into how I could spend my time better, how it was kind of a wasted thing to do, what about RL, etc. I was not amused.

No, I wouldn't have been amused either. I think there could be a whole lot of mental health counsellors trained in how Second Life affects different people, whether it enhances the brain, or disturbs it.  I can feel a dopamine rush when I go some places in world, and feel like screaming in others, just like in real life. There is nothing unreal about this really.  Another aspect of Second Life that enlightened my reunion chums was when I said that some people actually were able to make money by selling things, and defintely when I mentioned sex beds, they started to look interested. Found their level, obviously :/ 

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On 12/14/2019 at 2:51 PM, Lindal Kidd said:

People don't need to be face to face to be "real".

Rather late in his life, the great Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, began a correspondence with a fan of his work, Miss Joy Chant.  Over time this relationship grew and deepened.  Although they did not meet for quite a long time, they eventually did meet, and married.

You don't need the internet for examples of long distance relationships.

He wrote one of my favourite books about her called the Problem of Pain.

He married her knowing that she was dying of cancer. He decided that the short time they had together was still worth more then the pain he was feeling after her loss. An usual thesis and look at pain and time. 

(Sorry for the detour, now back to our thread) 

 

Edited by Marut72
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12 minutes ago, Amina Sopwith said:

Of course, there are also plenty of cases of people whose entire relationships were conducted in RL, and yet at some point down the line - days, years, decades - discovered that their partners were in fact completely different people to what they had thought. People are messy and complex and so are relationships. 

I do think the medium affects perception, communication and response. Not saying there are any hard and fast rules on how, but they do affect things. I think most of us would agree that interacting in the forums probably gives a different outcome to the pub, and that text is different to speech. Not inherently better or worse, but different.

Interesting.....  

 

We all grow as human beings, to an extent are moulded by our environment and altered perhaps by the relationships we have, and I apply that to both real life encounters and Second Life too.  Maybe in Second Life things move at a faster pace, and yes it can sometimes be easier to misunderstand a person who is texting rather than being able to watch facial expressions and hand gestures when someone is speaking.

 

Still believing we are all very real, not just 2D cartoons on a screen.  Still believe that when Simon in our group has more than two pints of beer his volume control seemed to go directly up from 4 to 11 ! Simon is a fan of that old movie, Hot Tub Time Machine, didn't know it had a Second Life bit right at the beginning.  Again, showing a person behind the actual computer, controlling an avatar in a virtual reality world. Seems like an easy enough concept to get. We are all really real. 

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My online relationships (not just SL) have been very real and important to me for a few years now, due to a 'rl' relationship in which I was isolated from friends, family and former colleagues, with a partner who was emotionally unavailable while I was going through difficult times that neither of us had anticipated. I'm now out of that relationship, thankfully, and more able to appreciate the other big reason online connections have been so important to me:

Being trans, the disconnect between who I am and how people percieve me face-to-face has made it almost impossible to express myself socially with the kind of freedom that I might enjoy if I'd been born cisgender. Online, I've been able to form lasting friendships with people over a period of time without having to worry about my appearance or presentation being oppressive or limiting, or warping the way people read me: some of these friends have since merged with my 'rl' circles but, because they've been able to get to know me as person without that visual disconnect beforehand, their acceptance of who I am has remained unflinchingly constant while people who have only ever known me in meatspace (I hate that term: anyone know a better one, that doesn't imply that physical space is 'more real'?) often struggle to reconcile my personality with who they want me to be. These days, I'm 'out of the closet' with carefully selected people in physical space (ok, that's a better term already!), including a very supportive and accepting local lgbt+ community, and presenting more and more as my true self in my daily and work lives, but it's still a constant uphill struggle navigating other peoples' preference for me to be someone they can get their head around (especially people who've never had to question or challenge their own identities because they fit so naturally into societal norms), the narrow and misleading representations of trans people they've received from external media (we're all unique individuals, so unless you get to know us at an individual level then no, you don't get to know who we are), and the exhausting process of having to 'come out'* and re-explain myself over and over again at the same time as keeping up with my own fluidity and personal evolution.

So, in many ways, my online relationships can be more real than some physical space ones, and I'm most often drawn to online friends who reflect that realness whether it's for similar reasons or just who they are.

*anyone with a non-visible identity such as gender variance, sexuality, neurodivergence, mental health marginalisation, invisible illnesses, and so on, may be familar with the experience that 'coming out' is never a one-off event, but something you go through over and over again to satisfy the judgement of people who never have to do it even once.

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During one of those long. boring drives across the Midwest many years ago, a friend of mine -- a research psychologist -- confided to me that he believed that "reality" was all a figment of his imagination.  His area of specialization was perception, specifically the ways in which the human brain interprets sensory input and reconciles it with what it understands to be the real world. He had spent years studying everything from snow blindness to earworms, trying to figure out how the human mind generates information when it senses a logical gap in input.  As a scientist, he had gradually concluded that everything his brain was telling him about the world was a fiction -- that when he died, the entire universe would cease to exist.

I have heard other versions of this theory -- often from people wearing tinfoil hats -- but never from anyone with such a firm faith in his own empirical research.  It was a little spooky, to say the least, although it did make our road trip less boring. Every once in a while, I find myself thinking back on that conversation, especially when I have felt more than normally immersed in SL.  It is easy for me to blur the line between what I experience in world and the fact that I am sitting in a chair and watching virtual reality on a monitor.  I cannot go so far as to stumble down the rabbit hole and believe myself to be "in" SL,  but there are brief moments when my friend's words dash across my mind and I wonder where reality is. 

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12 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

he had gradually concluded that everything his brain was telling him about the world was a fiction

The world is what we imagine it to be, so imagine a good one   :)

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My first fortnight in SL affected my brain quite strangely.  I could not be sure which was reality, although I knew the difference.  It wasn't scary; it was a bit like the times I woke up from anaesthesia not even knowing who I was, and I just calmly let everything fall into place.  So if SL turns out to be the reality I'm sure it will all make sense eventually.

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22 minutes ago, Garnet Psaltery said:

My first fortnight in SL affected my brain quite strangely.  I could not be sure which was reality, although I knew the difference.  It wasn't scary; it was a bit like the times I woke up from anaesthesia not even knowing who I was, and I just calmly let everything fall into place.  So if SL turns out to be the reality I'm sure it will all make sense eventually.

That's very interesting. It took me quite some time to become immersed; I had a powerful draw from the beginning and it kept me coming back despite a few false starts, but it was very clearly distinct from RL for me for quite a while.

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8 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

During one of those long. boring drives across the Midwest many years ago, a friend of mine -- a research psychologist -- confided to me that he believed that "reality" was all a figment of his imagination.

Through some weird mixup in schedules during the earliest days of my career, I found myself driving one of the founders of the field of biomedical engineering to the airport. During the drive and pre-flight dinner, he explained a new theory of his, that all of us are actually perturbations in the "impedance of universe". The deeper he got, the more lost I became, and the more he began to sound to me like Alfred Lawson, minus the "zig-zag-and-swirl". I don't think I've ever felt any dumber than during that three hour drive and dinner.

It's been nearly three decades since that conversation and I'm finally feeling smart enough to think he was either teasing me or off his rocker. Each of us has a tin-foil hat somewhere in our closets. I don't actually find your friend's theory odd at all, if you confine it to his perspective. His universe, as his brain presented it to him, would cease the moment he died. That's a popular concept. If you extend his idea to your perspective, then it's actually your idea. And the moment you accept that, I'll start wondering if you're teasing me or off your rocker. And the moment I accept your idea, it becomes my idea and someone's gotta start wondering about me.

It's turtles, all the way down!

 

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48 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

During one of those long. boring drives across the Midwest many years ago, a friend of mine -- a research psychologist -- confided to me that he believed that "reality" was all a figment of his imagination. 

The technical term for this non-philosophy is "solipsism".  It's an interesting conceit, but it's self-defeating.  If all of reality, including your friend's test subjects and/or patients, are all in his own head, then what would be the use of going to all that trouble to become a psychologist in the first place?

...happily goes on counting turtles.

Edited by Lindal Kidd
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   Maybe reality is a shared, consensual reality, influenced, shaped and molded by our own collective consciousness. That could explain its imperfection. But... maybe I'm just off my rocker.

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13 hours ago, eyeye Afterthought said:

I believe you are all real. I don't know any of you very well, but it is very apparent there are many different personalities populating these forums.  

But a friend I met recently at a school reunion said that people he meets online are not real, and I found myself arguing with him.  There were about 14 of us altogether at this reunion. Everyone did not all talk at once, they broke away into smaller groups, pretty much as they did when they were in school.  When the friend said online people are not real, the entire group had quite the discussion.  Computers were not the norm when I was at school. Only about half of the reunion people used a computer for work or at home, but they all had smart phones and all were on FB, which is how we all came together.  Shocking to me was only two people actually considered online friends to be real.  

Are you real? 

I am real.  

 

Of course I'm real, and so is everybody else. The virtual can profoundly affect the real in good and bad ways. I think this is better understood now that we have people who meet in SL and actually marry in RL and stay married, on the positive side, and horrors like 8-channers chatting on the Internet and applauding as one of their  number actually goes out and bombs a mosque or church and murders numerous people. Terror and crime offline often begins online. There is nothing magical about the Internet realm and its great propensity for crime and mayhem stems from the pioneers' wish to bypass organic law established by centuries. 

We didn't have the Internet when I was a teenager and in college (well, we did, but I used to have to get up at five in the morning and haul it from buckets from a spring 20 miles away).

I remember one funny instance where a long-time friend from college kept trying to persuade me to join Facebook, which I wasn't interested in. Finally I joined it and I didn't care for it much. I told him about SL. He was an artist and photographer in RL so I gave him a store to put out his photos and art works. They didn't sell, because in fact I think there's a bigger market for SL photos, not RL photos, and it takes awhile to network and get established.

It's odd, but he seemed "more real" to me on Facebook than he did in SL -- which he didn't like, for lots of reasons, mainly because it's so hard to work. I think it just has to do with the medium of expression. But all in all, he was "most real," i.e. like himself as I remember him when I knew him in person in RL, on his blog, where he published his poetry. It's funny how it works that way.

People who pretend they've compartmentalized a virtual life from their real life without any consequences are in profound self-delusion.

I will say this about SL. In RL, I seldom think about SL as I go through my day. I almost never dream about it, even though I'll dream of flying in *real* life. It does feel like a separate realm. Still, it is definitely connected. I don't think about Bayonne, New Jersey all the time, either, yet it is there and my son lives there and I visit him. But since he tends to call me on the phone or message me on Facebook, he is "more real" there in that particular manifestation that in the imagination of Bayonne that I might conjure, not that there's an awful lot to imagine about Bayonne, although it's more interesting and even pretty than you might imagine if you read about it.

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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11 minutes ago, Lindal Kidd said:

The technical term for this non-philosophy is "solipsism".  It's an interesting conceit, but it's self-defeating.  If all of reality, including your friend's test subjects and/or patients, are all in his own head, then what would be the use of going to all that trouble to become a psychologist in the first place?

That's an interesting question, but it's wagging the wrong end of the dog. My friend would say -- and probably did say -- that he didn't become a psychologist in order to investigate that theory.  He was studying perception and came to the scientific conclusion that perception is reality.  The only universe that he could be sure was real was the one in his own mind.

As Maddy says, from there it's turtles all the way down.  He perceives me as a fictitious person perceiving my own universe, just as you and I can read a short story and suspend our disbelief that its characters are imaginary. Reductio ad absurdem or solipsism, it all makes an internally consistent story.

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Ah yes...but did you point out that YOU were the one who's at the center of the universe, and HE was the figment you'd made up?

"...Ninety thirteen, forty-zotz, six...Hold still, you armored amphibians!"

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3 minutes ago, Lindal Kidd said:

Ah yes...but did you point out that YOU were the one who's at the center of the universe, and HE was the figment you'd made up?

I'm sure I must have.  It's the obvious thing to say.  And MY universe is more real than yours.  We are each living in our own soap bubble world, probably in the imagination of some great cosmic turtle.

Curiously, there's a parallel to some of the theories that cosmologists and particle physicists propound in order to explain apparent gaps or singularities in the behavior of the universe -- extra physical dimensions, alternate universes, and all that.  Clearly, there are a few things we do not understand about what's going on around us ... or in us.

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BTW re: the social worker or family member who says SL is a waste of time while they sit for hours in front of the TV.

I have not had a television for more than 25 years. This is why I can't pass this cultural test as I don't recognize most of the people and issues on it. The same with my children, who grew up without a TV for their formative years. I only got like a 3 out of 34. Imagine, all I really recall from the last decade is that girl singing the song about "Friday" and bouncing up and down in the back seat of the car. That's about how much the culture was worth to me. I didn't follow it, didn't miss it, and I don't think it matters.  I didn't recognize almost any of those others mentioned. I didn't know there was a controversial Pepsi ad where an actress gave a Pepsi to a policeman during a "Black Like Me" demonstration. I can't say I really missed any of these cultural phenomena at all. I feel I had a rich and cultured 10 years doing all sorts of things, going to foreign countries, visiting museums and art shows in the US, reading books, etc. I made all kinds of room in my mind by not watching TV, and by being creative in SL and doing RL things instead.

This was not some zealous program combined with organic cereal and Montessori schools or anything of the sort. It's just that once there was Second Life, I was completely uninterested in TV. Why would I sit on the couch and watch an episode of Roseanne when it was so predictable and jumped the shark when she won the lottery? Why watch ER, especially after Dr. Green died? (See, that was the last time I watched TV). If I really need to watch the "Fugitive" again, I can go to archive.org and watch it for free. And I found my children, in their younger years, once they were off "Barney" (which they never liked) and "Sesame Street" (which we all loathed) and "Arthur" (which we liked" and what they called "Cartoons At Work" (Cartoon Network), they went on to Zelda and Animal Crossing. Those games were much more fun than any cartoon.

The news is available on news companies' web sites or YouTubes and plenty of it. Who needs to watch another fire in New Jersey? Every one of the important hearings on the Ukraine scandal are all on web sites reached via Twitter. A TV is not needed.

But more than all that, the reason why entertainment on TV just left me cold is that you can't change the environment. Once you have the power to move the chairs around and change your costumes and such, why would you sit passively to watch somebody else's directing? You have your own movie. If I have to sit and watch something like "Silicon Valley", it's usually only because I'm stuck home with a tooth extraction or the flu, and even then, I want to reach in and change things. 

There was also the practical issue of how they converted TVs to some sort of other system where you had to add a thing, and I never bought that thing and did it, I forget what it's called. 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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