Such an evocative phrase, ‘living the dream’; one that conjures up scenarios as individual as we – the dreamers – are ourselves. Most of us will know, or know of, at least one person that we’d classify as being in the enviable position of living the dream, a few might even consider themselves to be that fortunate person. Perhaps, at some point in our lives, we’ve experienced that blissful moment when the dream came true and, for a time, we were living it, but now it’s passed. A funny thing though, this dream – it’s fragile and incredibly subjective.
There are those i know who i’d certainly consider to be living the dream – but here’s the thing; what may constitute my dream may be far detached from theirs. Yes, i might gaze with envy, even a modicum of healthy jealousy wistfulness, at their lives and lifestyle and think to myself that here indeed is somebody who has achieved something worth having, whilst that same happy individual might think very differently. Then there’s those who will quite happily proclaim themselves to indeed be living the dream, only to add the inevitable ‘but…’
i have my own multitude of individual dreams that eventually coalesce into what i suppose would be living the dream for myself – chances of that happening, realistically speaking, are pretty negligible – even so, i live in hope.
In the meantime, can sl suffice? i ask because i’m pretty certain that i’m not alone in thinking that this, rather strange, yet strangely satisfying virtual platform permits us – all be it vicariously – to side step the rather tedious business of hard work, good fortune, opportunity and luck that are normally required to reach the lofty heights of dreamworld and instead, dive right in there and start living it the moment we wish to. Granted, having your own secluded desert island, with a never-ending supply of tequila sunrise and permanently sunny weather in sl isn’t quite the same as having the equivalent in the real world, but it’s a darned site cheaper and infinitely more achievable!
i get the impression that an awful lot of people have come to the same conclusion – getting the chance to live the dream in the real world is slim and whilst there’s nothing wrong with living in hope, there’s a very good chance that our hopes will eventually come to nothing or, perish the thought, if we do ever achieve our dream it might come with that dreaded ‘but…’ So, whilst we’re waiting, why not build the dream in sl? It may not be the real thing but, as Theseus observes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “the best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them” – which, to me, seems a fitting and apt appraisal in the circumstances. At best, our rl dreams may turn out to be but shadows and, with a little imagination, what we build in sl is no worse.
To their credit, whatever other faults they may have, Linden Lab have stayed pretty true to their philosophy that sl should be a world imagined and built by its residents and this has enabled those of us who wish to build our dreams inworld free reign to do just that. Therein lies part of the genius of sl – we’re not constrained by scenarios, rules and gameplay, instead we’re liberated by the freedom not only to dream but also to make those dreams into some form of reality and, having done so, to become part of them… to live the dream. How is this any different from The Sims or from many of the other virtual entertainments that we can find to occupy our time? Simple – it is not that sl gives us the freedom to create our dream – we could that with paint and paper, or Lego – but what sl uniquely permits us to do is to become part of the dream ourselves.
If our dream is that deserted desert island, then it’s little comfort for us to know that the place really exists somewhere in the world: in fact, that knowledge may make the dream seem even more unattainable and futile. Only when we’re sat in that deckchair, sipping our tequila, experiencing the splash of the waves and the, erm… sound of coconuts falling from the trees will it mean anything. In sl, our avatar is the virtual representation of ourselves within the virtual dream – through it we experience, feel and live the dream that we have created and it is that particular element that makes all the difference.
Logic says that sl is not the dream and that whatever we create within it cannot be the dream either but, hang on a cottonpicking minute! Dreams only exist in the first place by virtue of the dreamer… and surely, it is the dreamer who decides what is real? If it’s our dream, then who else has the right to deny its worth? Sure, it may not be the real desert island, but neither is the hope that one day that’s what we’ll have – that being the case, i’d rather have the virtual version now; somewhere i can sip virtual coconuts right this moment, (sorry – too much virtual tequila!) – and i can still live in hope that the real thing might eventually happen!
Old Bill Shakespeare had a great understanding of dreams and he had this whole ‘living the dream’ thing completely sussed – he knew that we are what makes the dream happen – even if the dream isn’t real – so i’ll leave the final word to him, as Prospero in The Tempest relates, “we are such stuff as dreams are made on”.
Tell Me What You Know About Dreamin’ Dreamin’
You Don’t Really Know About Nothin’ Nothin’
Lissie – Pursuit Of Happiness