That’s living alright!

There are some things that sl just can’t capture, no matter how well it may attempt to replicate rl. The virtual world simply isn’t up to reproducing some of those things we experience in the real world – things, it has to be said, that we often take for granted – which is odd because they are the very things that many of us would consider to be those that make us feel most ‘alive’. Yet, i can’t help wondering whether we would even notice they were missing, if they were to be taken away altogether!

They are those moments when we find ourselves actually savouring life – we drink it in and thrill in it, and no matter how technically advanced sl may one day become, i don’t imagine that it will ever be capable of capturing anything even remotely resembling those special moments. By their very nature they’re fleeting, sensual snatches of real life in every sense of the word ‘real’ and they evoke a primal response from us and feelings that it is hard to even equate with what we might find within a virtual environment.

There’s that warm and glorious feeling of sunshine spilling across your back… the way that it washes over you and you can feel the goodness of it fill your being; or, how about the sudden rain shower on a hot, dusty summer’s day, as fat, cooling raindrops splat and blatter upon your skin? The splash of a fountain in a city square, accompanied by the moist air and that wonderful smell of ozone and wet masonry.

Or there’s the special moments of winter too… The crunch of frost underfoot on a still, clear morning, when the cold mist hangs in the air and the usual bustle of the world is subdued under winter’s touch; how about the smell of Christmas and the delicious warmth as your hands cup a mug of hot coffee – a welcome respite from the cold chill of the market square outside?

What about the sheer terror of anticipation as you teeter at the summit of a roller coaster, followed by the visceral lurch in your stomach and you plunge back down to earth, screaming and out of control; the adrenalin surge following a narrow escape and the toe-curling embarrassment as we overhear someone sing our praises to a close friend? There are lots more… The breathless shock from a drenching in cold water and the somnolent bliss of a warm and cosy armchair and a cat curled-up, fast asleep, in your lap.

When they occur, these are the precious moments of our lives, the times when we really feel we are alive – the times when life simply doesn’t get much better than this; times that we truly appreciate the small, but wonderful things that we have – and then, in mere moments, they are gone. How could we even begin to capture these unexpected joys in sl – it just isn’t possible – and anyway, are they really meant to be caught, copied and re-lived whenever we feel like it? Part of their allure is their transience, their spontaneity and the uniqueness of each and every special occasion… never to be repeated and each one reminding us how alive we really are at that precise moment in time.

Many of us value sl as an escape or bolt-hole from the real world, a retreat from the pressures and stresses of our lives and a place to find fun, entertainment, relaxation and explore our own, and others’ creativity. In sl we may well find fulfilment and companionship but even so, for me there are some things in rl i don’t wish to escape from – things that we will never find or experience in sl.

The virtual world is great – fantastic place of unfettered imagination, whimsy and creativity but it is not, and never will be, the real thing. Sometimes virtual isn’t reality enough and sometimes – just occasionally – i like to be reminded that i’m very much alive!

s. x

And you singing the song thinking this is the life
And you wake up in the morning and your head feels twice the size
where you gonna go, where you gonna go, where you gonna sleep tonight?
Amy MacDonald – This Is The Life 

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