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A World Or A Game?

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Randall Ahren wrote:

The second of the four noble truths taught by Buddha is that it is our attachments that cause suffering.  

Only if those attachments are ridiculously large :) And some people actually like that kind of suffering. (Sorry for deliberately misreading good ol'Buddha, but mentioning attachments in an SL forum is bound to cause some misunderstandings). 

 


The salient truth of life is death. The universal wish is for immortality, which we cannot have.   

I'm not entirely convinced that humans will not one day be immortal. If jellyfish can do it, we might be able to figure out a way too. 

Who knows, perhaps human minds will be immortalized as disembodied digital consciousnesses in future virtual worlds that really deserve this label? Of course this would basically be a form of mind cloning and not an actual mind transfer. But it's still a better deal than procreation, which only preserves 50% of a person's DNA and zero consciousness or memories. And the next generation of digital posthuman minds that are "born" (read: programmed) in virtual realities would be truly immortal, assuming that the hardware which they run on can be continuously maintained until the inevitable end of the universe. (Greg Egan's novel "Diaspora" is a great fictional take on this subject).

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I'd say that SL is different things to different people.  To some it's a game, while to some it is an alternate reality where they spend part of their life. 

If, as Ishtara Rothschild mentioned, iwe eventually develop a way to be immortalized as disembodied digital consciousnesses and live in virtual worlds, I think SL will have had it's influence on that.  Or it may actually be a place near the beginning of that.  I wouldn't say it actually is the beginning to that, since there were the MUD/MUCK/MUSH/etc projects before it (and other things comparatively more primitive that came before those).  I spent some time in years gone by in such games/worlds, sometimes playing and sometimes building/making.  I find SL very similar, and different mostly in the degree to which media can be applied to the experience.        

All that being said, I think that whether it's a game or a world depnds on you and what you do with it.  As such the answer would be subjective.  I personally view it as more of a world or environment.  Your mileage may vary.

 

(Added on the edit)  So far as the idea that immortality would depend on hardware that could run continuously until the universe ends, so long as there was storage, the hardaware wouldn't necessarily need to run continuously or even be the same hardware as one originally started with.  To paraphrase Lovecraft, "That is not dead which can eternal lie... And with strange aeons, even death may need to reboot sometimes." 

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What needs to happen is for the residents to rise up & wrest our world from the grips of a for-profit corporation, and run SL as a Socialist Utopia. WE need to control the switch, not a bunch of greedy capitalists. No hierarchy, no rich & poor, no class structure. We, ourselves, need to be in charge of everything from the power plant to the server farms to the software to the information distribution grid that allows SL to exist. Why not? We have nothing to loose but our chains.

Jeanne

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

Why not?

Jeanne

Because... We have met the enemy and he is us?

Even if this has been the overall lesson of history so far, it's a pessimistic outlook. Why not "We have met the Friend and She is US" instead? If it's ever going to get better it has to start somewhere. Why not with us, here? Why can't SL be a Socialist Utopia run by its members rather than by Fascist Corporatists? Why does it have to have $L? Why does there have to be property ownership? Why do newbies have to be forced into prostitution or slavery? Why can't we have a Revolution, take back OUR world, and run it as a place of egalitarianism & equality? The vision of some for SL is the vision John Lennon spells out in "Imagine." I think it's an idea that ought to be given serious consideration, anyhow...

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Jack Kerouac thought that perhaps life was just a wink of the eye and winking stars. He saw his life as a vast glowing empty page with which he could do anything he wanted. That is how I see SL, as a vast glowing empty space with which almost anything can be done, limited only by your imagination. I think Jack would have liked Philip Rosedale:

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:


Randall Ahren wrote:

The second of the four noble truths taught by Buddha is that it is our attachments that cause suffering.  

Only if those attachments are ridiculously large
:)
And some people actually like that kind of suffering. (Sorry for deliberately misreading good ol'Buddha, but mentioning attachments in an SL forum is bound to cause some misunderstandings). 

 

The salient truth of life is death. The universal wish is for immortality, which we cannot have.   

I'm not entirely convinced that humans will not one day be immortal. If
, we might be able to figure out a way too. 

Who knows, perhaps human minds will be immortalized as disembodied digital consciousnesses in future virtual worlds that really deserve this label? Of course this would basically be a form of mind cloning and not an actual mind transfer. But it's still a better deal than procreation, which only preserves 50% of a person's DNA and zero consciousness or memories. And the next generation of digital posthuman minds that are "born" (read: programmed) in virtual realities would be truly immortal, assuming that the hardware which they run on can be continuously maintained until the inevitable end of the universe. (Greg Egan's novel "Diaspora" is a great fictional take on this subject).

I wonder about the utility of immortality. Steve Jobs thinks death is the greatest invention of life. It's life's change agent. Meanwhile, the old saw that scientists do their best work in their 20s has, I think, been disproven. Lots to ponder here.

As for attachments, the deliberate misreading of things is a favorite pastime of mine. It's my hope that by doing it well and often, when it happens accidentally I'll get credit for wit I don't actually possess.

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JeanneAnne wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

Why not?

Jeanne

Because... We have met the enemy and he is us?

Even if this has been the overall lesson of history so far, it's a pessimistic outlook.

JeanneAnne, if Pogo's revelation is the lesson of history so far, we've certainly ignored it. We still seem quite happy to think the enemy is them. Realizing we can get in our own way seems a step in the right direction, doesn't it?

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

Why not?

Jeanne

Because... We have met the enemy and he is us?

Even if this has been the overall lesson of history so far, it's a pessimistic outlook.

JeanneAnne, if Pogo's revelation is the lesson of history so far, we've certainly ignored it. We still seem quite happy to think the enemy is them. Realizing we can get in our own way seems a step in the right direction, doesn't it?

Yes, certainly. Let's acknowledge that we as a species and as individuals have often been our own worst enemies, learn from our mistakes, internalize those lessons... and move beyond them. Let's become our own best friends, instead. I don't think this can happen under a greed-based, Capitalist economy, virtual or rl. Capitalism is inherently sociopathic and corporations exist solely for the purpose of generating profit for shareholders, in utter disregard for any other considerations. Second Life is obscenely Capitalistic, on every level, and is failing, along with the rl economy. Communist China now owns the Capitalist West.

In order to save our world, there needs to be a Revolution. Power needs to be taken from those whose only consideration is profit, and invested in people who love others as they love themselves. Listen to Lennon's "Imagine," and then ask yourself why SL can't be as he describes, instead of being a sordid world where prostitution is effectively forced on newbies by $$$ grubbing Capitalist sociopaths both inworld & out.

Jeanne

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Yes, but hasn't capitalism done more to advance the quality of life for people than any other alternative system? Socialism doesn't work very well. The profit motive is necessary to bring out the best in people, If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.

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SL is opt-in, as are a great many other entertainment venues. There are no barriers to exit from any venue and all require a means to participate (computer and internet access) that can easily exceed the cost of actual participation. Given that and the fact that nobody actually lives here, I don't see how socialism is possible, even as a pretense.

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I would have to agree that I don't know as socialism or any existing political or economic system can really be used as a model in SL.  I'm not an economist, but I think that usually countries have resources by producing things from their resources that have value outside the country as well as inside.  So far as I have seen, SL puts out little if anything and the economy seems to be based almost entirely on what is put into it.  Unlike the "real world" where people and countries have resources that can be developed and exploited to generate the basis for an economy.

Also, in SL, there are few if any things that are needs on a par with food, shelter and etc.  People in SL do not die if they don't eat pixel food, nor do they freeze to death.  As such, it is possible to survive and function in SL with little or no lindens, unlike the "real world" where one has actual physical needs.

So I can't say that I see where newbies are "forced" into things like prostitution and etc.  It does seem to be encouraged sometimes, since the sex industry is often mentioned if someone asks for a way to make money inwrold and doesn't mention any marketable skills.. But that puts it more on a par with "flipping burgers" than something that is being forced on new people. 

Sure, if they want a house or most items, they'll have to either put in at least a little real world cash or find some way of earning a bit.  But one doesn't need a house to survive in SL, and so things like that are more "wants" that one may decide are worth paying for or working to get.  That isn't anyone being forced, and there really aren't any resources that something like a socialist system would be needed to share out among citizens.  Personally, I don';t think that what I've seen in SL can actually be called "capitalism" either.  The base of a capatialist system is need driven, since the people in it need at least basic necessities of life.  SL economy is more based on what we'd normally call luxuries, if one actually thinks about it.

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Randall Ahren wrote:

Yes, but hasn't capitalism done more to advance the quality of life for people than any other alternative system? Socialism doesn't work very well. The profit motive is necessary to bring out the best in people, If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.

No, Capitalism has recklessly destroyed ecosystems, squandered resources, fostered wars and economically oppressed millions for the profit of the few. Growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell. Socialism does indeed work well, as the example of all the northern European Socialist Democracies attest. It is only Capitalist propaganda that Socialism "doesn't work well." Corporations own the so-called "news" media in the west, and use it exclusively as a propaganda outlet for promoting their own profit interests. Repeat incessantly the mantra that Socialism "doesn't work well" and eventually even well-meaning people will bleat the tune. The profit motive brings out the greedy worst in people, not the best. This is as much true in SL as it is in RL.

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Yes Ganelon, everything in SL is consensual, and one doesn't actually "need" $L to participate in SL, so long as one is content to wear freebie stuff & be homeless. Human nature being what it is, tho, people want nice things and the means by which to obtain them. The newbie who doesn't know how to build or script or DJ... etc., ... isn't exactly forced to prostitute herself but that is what often ends up happening. SL is structured around the profit motive, around a class structure of haves and have-not, and ends up being intrinsically exploitative of newbies and others lacking the means to obtain $L for purchasing the things they want inworld. To my mind, pointing out that everything in SL is consensual, while true, exhibits a "blame the victim" attitude. I'm not surprised that ppl will defend the status quo, tho. Standing up in defense of an oppressor is called the "Stockholm Syndrome," and is a pretty common reaction.

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JeanneAnne wrote:

Yes Ganelon, everything in SL is consensual, and one doesn't actually "need" $L to participate in SL, so long as one is content to wear freebie stuff & be homeless. 

Isn't what people want in SL more than anything else, slex? The whole point of spending L$ to get nice skin and clothes is so that you will appear more desirable so that you will have a wider choice of slexual partners. The other thing L$ are good for is buying some private space so that you have a place to rezz the adult furniture and a place to conduct the slex in a more intimate setting.

If one did not want slex, then one would be more likely content to wear freebie stuff & be homeless. No?

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JeanneAnne wrote:

Yes Ganelon, everything in SL is consensual, and one doesn't actually "need" $L to participate in SL, so long as one is content to wear freebie stuff & be homeless. Human nature being what it is, tho, people want nice things and the means by which to obtain them. The newbie who doesn't know how to build or script or DJ... etc., ... isn't exactly forced to prostitute herself but that is what often ends up happening. SL is structured around the profit motive, around a class structure of haves and have-not, and ends up being intrinsically exploitative of newbies and others lacking the means to obtain $L for purchasing the things they want inworld. To my mind, pointing out that everything in SL is consensual, while true, exhibits a "blame the victim" attitude. I'm not surprised that ppl will defend the status quo, tho. Standing up in defense of an oppressor is called the "Stockholm Syndrome," and is a pretty common reaction.

SL is an entertainment venue supported by people spending disposable income. They can't spend this disposable income here until they've also purchased a computer and a broadband connection. As for people wanting nice things, that's true. But anyone who's gotten to the point that they want nice things in a virtual world has, I hope, gotten the nice things they wanted in the real one first. SL is a luxury. Not having a home in SL is not a hardship, it's the lack of a virtual luxury.

There are victims in SL, but they are not the result of SL being a business rather than a socialist state. I suspect the most victimized in SL are those who make emotional investments in relationships with people who have less than noble motives. Or those who simply fall victim to the escapist pleasure of SL, while ignoring their own situation in RL. No political idealogy will prevent this. Should it ever be shown that spending excessive time in virtual worlds is counterproductive, would a real socialist state be more proactive in limiting access than a capitalist state?

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it?

 

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Randall Ahren wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

Yes Ganelon, everything in SL is consensual, and one doesn't actually "need" $L to participate in SL, so long as one is content to wear freebie stuff & be homeless. 

Isn't what people want in SL more than anything else, slex? The whole point of spending L$ to get nice skin and clothes is so that you will appear more desirable so that you will have a wider choice of slexual partners. The other thing L$ are good for is buying some private space so that you have a place to rezz the adult furniture and a place to conduct the slex in a more intimate setting.

If one did not want slex, then one would be more likely content to wear freebie stuff & be homeless. No?

You may be right about SLex being what people want more than anything else in SL Randall. I don't know. I'd be a hypocrit if I didn't say up front that I've explored SLexuality myself but it isn't what drew me to SL in the first place and I wouldn't say it's the primary thing I want out of SL. I want nice outfits & accessories because I want to look nice & have fun, not because I want to "appear more desirable so that you will have a wider choice of slexual partners." In fact, I have this "fat goth" shape I sometimes wear in order to scare potential SLexual partners off!

The other evening I was chatting in SL with three European women, one from Belgium, one from Germany and one from the Czech Republic. We were chatting in English and discussed everything from the Greek situation & European banking crisis, to whether or not true love exists & how one can recognize it if it does. Where could I have gotten that kind of social interaction in RL? THAT is the kind of thing I want out of SL, far more than SLex. It's true we could have had this chat text only but I enjoyed sitting in that virtual bamboo chair looking at the avvies of the women I was chatting with, and admiring their outfits. The visual experience adds to the social dimension, so long as one has the healthy ability to suspend disbelief. I'm still new enough to SL that I find the colors, the animations, the adventure of it all exciting. I hope it stays exciting for me for a good long while. I've read in these forums (fora? forae?) how the thrill of SL has worn off for some longtime members. I'm not ready for that to happen to me yet. If all I wanted out of SL was cybersex I could do that in a Yahoo chatroom or somewhere. So, No! I'm not content wearing freebie stuff & being homeless, & SLex has nothing to do with it.

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

 


SL is an entertainment venue supported by people spending
disposable
income. They can't spend this disposable income here until they've also purchased a computer and a broadband connection. As for people wanting nice things, that's true. But anyone who's gotten to the point that they want nice things in a virtual world has, I hope, gotten the nice things they wanted in the real one first. SL is a luxury. Not having a home in SL is not a hardship, it's the lack of a virtual luxury.

There are victims in SL, but they are not the result of SL being a business rather than a socialist state. I suspect the most victimized in SL are those who make emotional investments in relationships with people who have less than noble motives. Or those who simply fall victim to the escapist pleasure of SL, while ignoring their own situation in RL. No political idealogy will prevent this. Should it ever be shown that spending excessive time in virtual worlds is counterproductive, would a real socialist state be more proactive in limiting access than a capitalist state?

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it?

 

So SL is a luxury only available to the world's economic elite? Exists only for those of us lucky enough to have jobs or some source of income sufficient to meet our physical needs, with at least a little left over to spend on "luxuries" like entertainment? SL isn't for those who are hungry, homeless and poor in RL? Guess those people don't "deserve" SL, and the businesspeople who run LL can't be faulted for treating the economically disadvantaged as if they don't exist. People who don't contribute to the corporate bottom line deserve NO consideration, right? Simply suks to be them...  And by the same token, I guess that newbies and those who haven't spent countless hours learning to build or script, etc., along with those who can't afford to spend real money on $L don't deservea mansion on a private island with a yacht in the harbor next door. Sukks to be us, too, then, I guess...

And since everything in SL is consensual anyone who finds themself "victimized," emotionally or out of addiction or compulsion, has no one but themself to blame for it?  After all, no one forced them to login, no one compelled them to become emotionally invested in someone with less than noble motives. No use wasting sympathy on those who allowed themselves to be victimized, then. Right? Corporate executives can't be blamed for the self-imposed troubles of those people...

Sometimes I think that people can't even see how immersion in an exploitative Capitalist socioeconomic paradigm has blinded them to consideration for others.

 



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JeanneAnne wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

 


SL is an entertainment venue supported by people spending
disposable
income. They can't spend this disposable income here until they've also purchased a computer and a broadband connection. As for people wanting nice things, that's true. But anyone who's gotten to the point that they want nice things in a virtual world has, I hope, gotten the nice things they wanted in the real one first. SL is a luxury. Not having a home in SL is not a hardship, it's the lack of a virtual luxury.

There are victims in SL, but they are not the result of SL being a business rather than a socialist state. I suspect the most victimized in SL are those who make emotional investments in relationships with people who have less than noble motives. Or those who simply fall victim to the escapist pleasure of SL, while ignoring their own situation in RL. No political idealogy will prevent this. Should it ever be shown that spending excessive time in virtual worlds is counterproductive, would a real socialist state be more proactive in limiting access than a capitalist state?

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it?

 

So SL is a luxury only available to the world's economic elite? Exists only for those of us lucky enough to have jobs or some source of income sufficient to meet our physical needs, with at least a little left over to spend on "luxuries" like entertainment? SL isn't for those who are hungry, homeless and poor in RL? Guess those people don't "deserve" SL, and the businesspeople who run LL can't be faulted for treating the economically disadvantaged as if they don't exist. People who don't contribute to the corporate bottom line deserve NO consideration, right? Simply suks to be them...  And by the same token, I guess that newbies and those who haven't spent countless hours learning to build or script, etc., along with those who can't afford to spend real money on $L don't
deserve
a mansion on a private island with a yacht in the harbor next door. Sukks to be us, too, then, I guess...

And since everything in SL is consensual anyone who finds themself "victimized," emotionally or out of addiction or compulsion, has no one but themself to blame for it?  After all, no one
forced
them to login, no one compelled them to become emotionally invested in someone with less than noble motives. No use wasting sympathy on those who
allowed
themselves to be victimized, then. Right? Corporate executives can't be blamed for the self-imposed troubles of
those
people...

Sometimes I think that people can't even see how immersion in an exploitative Capitalist socioeconomic paradigm has blinded them to consideration for others.

 



JeanneAnne, I'll quote your first post in this thread...

"What needs to happen is for the residents to rise up & wrest our world from the grips of a for-profit corporation, and run SL as a Socialist Utopia. "

It seems you are either confusing SL with RL, or you have extended your argument to socialism in RL. Whether or not someone can participate in SL depends on the economics of their RL. How would the political ideology of an opt-in virtual world affect the real world's economy? SL is already free, getting to it is not. Are you proposing that Linden Labs give everybody in the world a computer and internet access?

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

JeanneAnne, I'll quote your first post in this thread...

"What needs to happen is for the residents to rise up & wrest our world from the grips of a for-profit corporation, and run SL as a Socialist Utopia. "

It seems you are either confusing SL with RL, or you have extended your argument to socialism in RL. Whether or not someone can participate in SL depends on the economics of their RL. How would the political ideology of an opt-in virtual world affect the real world's economy? SL is already free, getting to it is not. Are you proposing that Linden Labs give everybody in the world a computer and internet access?

It's not that I'm confusing SL with RL, it's that I'm not making a distinction between them. I never intended any criticisms I make of Capitalism to apply to SL only. Capitalism is a sociopathic perversion on all levels.

I don't expect Linden Labs to give everybody in the world a computer and internet access. Giving everybody in the world a computer and internet access is the responsibility of government. What I expect Linden Labs to do is to eliminate the $L and private ownership of property in SL. I expect them to level the playing field and to promote equality. I also expect them to make decisions that effect SL on the basis of consensus of SL's residents & participants. Since by definition residents & participants have internet access, determing at least majority (or 60% or 75%) consensus shouldn't be difficult. I expect LL to stop treating SL residents & participants as nothing more than cash cows to be milked. SL is a community. Members of a community don't exploit other members. If they do, it ceases to be a community and becomes something sinister. If LL can't treat residents & participants of SL with respect, can't run SL as a Socialist Utopia based on John Lennon's and Jesus Christ's vision of how people ought to get along, can't allow residents & participants final say in decisions that effect SL... then I call for Revolution and the overthrowal of our Fascist overlords and the takeover of SL by its residents and participants. And if government in RL can't do the same, then I likewise call for Revolution in RL.

Jeanne

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JeanneAnne wrote:

What I expect Linden Labs to do is to eliminate the $L and private ownership of property in SL. Jeanne


Who pays for the SL infrastructure and its support if no fees are levied?

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

What I expect Linden Labs to do is to eliminate the $L and private ownership of property in SL. Jeanne


Who pays for the SL infrastructure and its support if no fees are levied?

The general support of power distribution & telecommunications infrastructure should be funded with our tax $$s.

As for SL itself, perhaps it would be preferable for all residents & participants to pay a modest fee for participation, just enough to pay for SL specific hardware & software support with NONE going for corporate executive salaries & bonuses or shareholder dividends. (Corporate executives & shareholders are nothing more than parasites on the system.) Everyone paying a modest fee along with the elimination of $L & private property would put an end to the economic & class distinctions that infect SL. This is just a suggestion and should be left up to residents & participants to decide. It should NOT be a decision imposed by corporate overlords who only care about turning a profit over & above the needs & desires of participants & residents.

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JeanneAnne wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:


JeanneAnne wrote:

What I expect Linden Labs to do is to eliminate the $L and private ownership of property in SL. Jeanne


Who pays for the SL infrastructure and its support if no fees are levied?

The general support of power distribution & telecommunications infrastructure should be funded with our tax $$s.

As for SL itself, perhaps it would be preferable for all residents & participants to pay a modest fee for participation, just enough to pay for SL specific hardware & software support with NONE going for corporate executive salaries & bonuses or shareholder dividends. (Corporate executives & shareholders are nothing more than parasites on the system.) Everyone paying a modest fee along with the elimination of $L & private property would put an end to the economic & class distinctions that infect SL. This is just a suggestion and should be left up to residents & participants to decide. It should NOT be a decision imposed by corporate overlords who only care about turning a profit over & above the needs & desires of participants & residents.

Access to SL is currently free. Now you have proposed a modest entrance fee. Linden Labs is a privately held corporation. Are you suggesting it be nationalized, as you just have for the power and telecommunications infrastructure?

As land and clothing are both nothing more than bits on a server, are you also arguing that all content in SL should be free? How do creators get compensated for their work?

I'm having a hard time following all the self contradiction I see here, Jeanne. Help me out.

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