In the alternative, it’s theoretically possible that the gulls that hang around these parts are completely unique and occupy their own particular niche, hitherto undiscovered by science and never yet observed by ornithologists, something i find extremely hard to believe, since there’s no damn way that any self-respecting birdologist could possibly remain unaware of the phenomenon, thanks to the crazy racket that said nocturnal seabirds are capable of maintaining throughout the duration of the night, when i am trying to get some much-needed sleep!
It’s not even as if i live particularly near the sea – have these birds no self-respect?
Thanks to the persistent intrusion of the dulcet tones of these delightful creatures into my attempted slumbers for most of the night, i had plenty of time for thinking, and it struck me that – whatever the truth about night-flying in rl – there just happens to be a small flock of the little scoundrels for whom i am responsible in sl who do indeed fly both during the daylight hours, and also throughout the night – in fact, they fly constantly, whatever the weather or season, above the little jetty i’ve built at Echo Beach, on the coast of Nowhere Land.
Whilst in my murderous reflective mood, my mind turned to those more esoteric thoughts that tend to meander around our heads when there’s nothing better to contemplate, (other than, ‘how tired am i going to be in the morning?’)… what is the sound of one hand clapping; where else, but the woods, would you expect a bear to go about its business?; if a tree falls in the woods when no-one is around, where the heck are the bears going to hide?, and; how do i know anything exists beyond what i am able to see or sense?
It was that last question that reminded me of my virtual flock of gulls – it seemed odd to think of them mindlessly circling above my virtual beach, even when i’m not there to appreciate them. The weirdness of knowing that they’d be swooping and calling, whilst i was sleeping and snoring, that they’d be seen by complete strangers whilst i was elsewhere and that the strange, virtual world which they inhabit goes on existing, changing, growing and evolving, whether i’m in residence or not.
So often, we think of sl only in terms of ourselves – we are, after all, the sentient inhabitants of the Grid. Even so, we’ve gone to the trouble of populating it with barking dogs, frolicking horses, butterflies, meeroos and goodness-knows what else, and these creatures – bots, scripted objects, whatever you want to call them – give every appearance of the semblance of life, whether graced by our presence or otherwise. And before you start sneering and pointing out to me the fundamental differences between animal, robot and real, flesh and blood human beings in the real world, let me ask you: are our created animal imitations all that different from the real thing? If it looks like a horse, acts like a horse and sounds like a horse, then real or virtual, it must surely be a horse?
Just because something is mere code or pixels following a predetermined pattern of behaviour doesn’t automatically mean we can write it off as being irrelevant. Who is to say that when our backs are turned and the sims are quiet, the creatures we have created to share our virtual world don’t come out to play? And, before you sneer at that, just remember that it wasn’t so long ago that we might have laughed at the idea that charged particles, following the predetermined patterns of the laws of physics, would change their behaviour, simply because we happened to be observing them! Why shouldn’t the animals that populate the fields of sl behave in exactly the same way?
You see… this is what happens when i don’t get enough sleep!
Seagull, you must have known for a long time
The shape of things to come.
Now you fly, through the sky, never asking why
Bad Company – Seagull