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eyeye Afterthought

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

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4 hours ago, Prokofy Neva said:

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.

 

Thank you for taking the time to compose this very interesting post.  I am discovering more and more how real people are in every setting.  How to educate the ones who dismiss other people's ideas of what is real though. My reunion buddies see only black and white ... and porn! 

 

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6 hours ago, LexxiXhan said:

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.

I certainly glance at my watch a whole lot less when I am socialising with online friends than I hate to admit to while I was attending my recent reunion. Most of my buddies there were quite stereotypical male, into football (or I suspect pretending to be), and there were massive gaps in conversation while people struggled to find things in common.  I am not in a rush to attend another reunion.  

 

The internet, without a doubt, helps us to communicate more, and therefore we have to be real, behind our avatars, behind our keyboards. What you say about everything in your post is most helpful to me, and I hope more and more, via the internet, human beings as a race can learn and understand the diversity among us - everyone is unique, everyone has issues, everyone needs understanding, everyone matters, and everyone is real.  

 

 

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5 hours 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.  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. 

Some days in Real Life are certainly more surreal than those I have experienced in Second Life, but I've put my own perceptions down to what amount of sleep I've had, or how much booze I've drunk the night before. Your friend, the research psychologist, must always be thinking and thinking and thinking, and over-thinking can take us all down a rabbit hole. Like when you see a word written down too many times, it stops having any meaning and looks just plain weird. 

 

Interesting though is the concept of the universe not existing any more after he died - and maybe only one of us is actually real, existing inside a bright white box, being fed images and put through tests by a higher entity. 

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5 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

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!

 

It would certainly explain why RL friends believe the world revolves around only them and treat others with so little consideration. Only. I. Am. Real. 

 

Tin foil hat, I gotta get me one of those. 

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4 minutes ago, eyeye Afterthought said:

I certainly glance at my watch a whole lot less when I am socialising with online friends than I hate to admit to while I was attending my recent reunion. Most of my buddies there were quite stereotypical male, into football (or I suspect pretending to be), and there were massive gaps in conversation while people struggled to find things in common.  I am not in a rush to attend another reunion.  

The internet, without a doubt, helps us to communicate more, and therefore we have to be real, behind our avatars, behind our keyboards. What you say about everything in your post is most helpful to me, and I hope more and more, via the internet, human beings as a race can learn and understand the diversity among us - everyone is unique, everyone has issues, everyone needs understanding, everyone matters, and everyone is real.  

I wonder. Although the Internet enables communication across greater diversity, it also makes it easier to find others in any particular echo chamber. Are we losing the ability (skill, patience) to converse with those with whom we have nothing in common?

Does the Internet make it too easy to know nothing of such old, least-common-denominator topics as sportsball?

Are we in transition between concepts of "community" as geographic proximity becomes less crucial to identity?

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19 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.  

 

I am a highly advanced AI.

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Clearly my alts dont exist outside SL.

So how come I was with one in my dream last night? Spooky. In that dream she was my daughter. Even spookier. The first time she's crossed over.

But I'm real. The forum is just like any other forum. A kaleidoscope of life experience, opinions,  hopes and dreams.

In world is a bit different. Like calling in the local bar to see who's around. And then snatching time with friends and sometimes strangers. They all seem real to me. :)

 

Edited by BelindaN
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7 hours ago, Qie Niangao said:

I wonder. Although the Internet enables communication across greater diversity, it also makes it easier to find others in any particular echo chamber. Are we losing the ability (skill, patience) to converse with those with whom we have nothing in common?

Does the Internet make it too easy to know nothing of such old, least-common-denominator topics as sportsball?

Are we in transition between concepts of "community" as geographic proximity becomes less crucial to identity?

I think we might be losing some abilities to converse in RL , if we only we spend the majority of our time text typing as our main form of communication.  Sometimes it seems a whole lot easier to talk to strangers out in RL, you know, those non-stressful conversations you get while in a queue. This morning I was walking through my local park to pick up newspapers, and because the sun is shining, all the dog walkers are extra friendly, lot of families about, met up with a couple of acquaintances who I just got to know through walking this route regularly, talk today was of Thursday's election. I never knew my towns people be so confused, been one of the most interesting General Elections ever maybe, the Labour majority had dropped a lot, Boris J always a controversial topic, bringing forth unusual contradictory opinions from these people all made for interesting chat this morning.  

 

The younger generation (I am in 50s) seem to do everything on line first, and rarely do I know what to say to young people anyway. The way they communicate certainly indicates transition between concepts of community as georgraphic proximity ... as you suggest, Qie. 

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On 12/14/2019 at 2:56 AM, 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.  

 

Personally, I find people are more "real" (as in genuine to their true selves) online than in RL.  People tend to drop their polite masks in the anonymous online world, and show their true colors, which are generally unpleasant.

I'm thinking, at my 35th reunion, walking in with my wife on one arm and well-paid highly attractive escort on the other, and say, "hello everyone!  This is my wife, and this is our girlfriend.  I win!"  I hate reunions - a bunch of people whose lives peaked in high school standing around lying about how awesome they are doing, and all the a**hats who were jerks back then suddenly pretending to be nice people.

/me is feeling extra misanthropic this morning.

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8 minutes ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

I hate reunions - a bunch of people whose lives peaked in high school standing around lying about how awesome they are doing, and all the a**hats who were jerks back then suddenly pretending to be nice people.

You actually go to yours? I'd rather have an ice pick lobotomy without anesthesia. 

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5 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

You actually go to yours? I'd rather have an ice pick lobotomy without anesthesia. 

I went to the 10 and 15.  When I got the gist of what they were all about, I lost interest and haven't been back since.  I didn't like most of the people I went to school with, and most of those I liked were a year ahead of me, so why would I want to go see these people years later?

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26 minutes ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

Personally, I find people are more "real" (as in genuine to their true selves) online than in RL.  People tend to drop their polite masks in the anonymous online world, and show their true colors, which are generally unpleasant.

I'm thinking, at my 35th reunion, walking in with my wife on one arm and well-paid highly attractive escort on the other, and say, "hello everyone!  This is my wife, and this is our girlfriend.  I win!"  I hate reunions - a bunch of people whose lives peaked in high school standing around lying about how awesome they are doing, and all the a**hats who were jerks back then suddenly pretending to be nice people.

/me is feeling extra misanthropic this morning.

My inner voice warned me not to go to the reunion, but one of the guys was someone I had been in touch with on and off since we left school. There was one person I would consider to be a wildcard there, we all expected him to end up in prison, he was always in trouble at school for such stupid things, but he made good, kind of, got married to a girl who seemed to settle him down. She was there at the reunion too, and he seemed so mellow, works out on oil rigs off Scotland of all places. Wifey can't go with him there, obviously, but they've settled up in Scotland, and lifestyle seems to suit them both.

 

Generally though, they were a bunch of a**hats, trying to big themselves up, and that just felt so tedious. It was this discussiont hough about real/unreal in virtual world/online that really poked my noggin.  I should have done what you did, but with an escort on either arm, one dressed as a furry just to have extra impact. 

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16 minutes ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

I went to the 10 and 15.  When I got the gist of what they were all about, I lost interest and haven't been back since.  I didn't like most of the people I went to school with, and most of those I liked were a year ahead of me, so why would I want to go see these people years later?

I shan't be going to any more. The more I go over the reunion I attended, the more frustrated I feel.  I never even liked school parties.  

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6 minutes ago, Orwar said:

giphy.gif

Haha, perhaps I should have gone to the reunion wearing a pinochio teeshirt - or certainly some of the others who went should have! Bigger fantasists some of them were for sure.  

 

I want to thank everyone on this thread for what has been quite wonderful counselling to me. I really was bent out of shape, offended even, by feeling belittled by what used to be my peer group, and I never bowed to peer pressure when I was a juvenile, and cannot understand why I let them get to me so much.  

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6 minutes ago, eyeye Afterthought said:

I want to thank everyone on this thread for what has been quite wonderful counselling to me. I really was bent out of shape, offended even, by feeling belittled by what used to be my peer group, and I never bowed to peer pressure when I was a juvenile, and cannot understand why I let them get to me so much.  

It's been a pleasure.

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My family moved to another state within weeks after I graduated from high school, and then I went off to college that fall. It was about as sharp a break from the past as you can imagine, so I quickly lost touch with all but a couple of people I had known back then. When my 25th reunion came around, curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to go. It was dreadfully disappointing. Among the balding, overweight people there were a couple who had become published authors and one who was a columnist for a newspaper somewhere in the southwest. One had spent 15 years in prison for tax fraud and was looking more clean-scrubbed and polyester than I remembered. The class clown was selling Ginzo Knives or some such product on late-night TV. Several of the guys had gone off to Viet Nam and a few had not come back. Among the others who were not there that evening was one of the guys from my senior chemistry class who had started a promising career in medicine but died of cancer in his early 40s.  

I spent part of that evening trying to avoid one smarmy-looking guy who claimed to have known me back then but whom I had no memory of at all. Other than that, my evening was spent, drink in hand, sharing half-forgotten stories of our senior class play and totally-forgotten anecdotes about what someone did in the gym locker room.  I left early and came away feeling that I was one of the few who had somehow escaped from the rabbit hole.  I'm sure they have had other reunions since, but I have long since fallen off their mailing list -- having moved several times over the years -- so there's no way for them to track me down now.  I feel rather good about that.

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30 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

My family moved to another state within weeks after I graduated from high school, and then I went off to college that fall. It was about as sharp a break from the past as you can imagine, so I quickly lost touch with all but a couple of people I had known back then. When my 25th reunion came around, curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to go. It was dreadfully disappointing. Among the balding, overweight people there were a couple who had become published authors and one who was a columnist for a newspaper somewhere in the southwest. One had spent 15 years in prison for tax fraud and was looking more clean-scrubbed and polyester than I remembered. The class clown was selling Ginzo Knives or some such product on late-night TV. Several of the guys had gone off to Viet Nam and a few had not come back. Among the others who were not there that evening was one of the guys from my senior chemistry class who had started a promising career in medicine but died of cancer in his early 40s.  

I spent part of that evening trying to avoid one smarmy-looking guy who claimed to have known me back then but whom I had no memory of at all. Other than that, my evening was spent, drink in hand, sharing half-forgotten stories of our senior class play and totally-forgotten anecdotes about what someone did in the gym locker room.  I left early and came away feeling that I was one of the few who had somehow escaped from the rabbit hole.  I'm sure they have had other reunions since, but I have long since fallen off their mailing list -- having moved several times over the years -- so there's no way for them to track me down now.  I feel rather good about that.

Wow. 

 

"Rabbit hole".  Yeah. That is definitely how I am feeling right now, like I escaped from the rabbit hole.  It really did knock me for six seeing these people again.  

 

Our Vietnam, which was nothing like it, obviously, was the Falklands conflict of the 1980s. None of my old school friends fought in that one, as far as I know.  One of my class mates died of some kind of kidney problems, and another died of cancer, and that made me sad to learn, as you must have been to learn about yours who had a promising career in medicine; it seems extra ironic with his chosen career path, and a darn massive shame.  

 

What fasincated me the most about the group who came together for the reunion was that at least half of them had remained living within only a couple of hundred yards away from our old school, some had only moved one town away, but yet they had still not kept in touch.  They all looked and seemed so old to me, and yet there was an element of let's see who can drink the most. Some things never change ! 

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If you meet someone in person, then they move away and you spend the next 20 years only talking on the phone and by email, are they still real?

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