Addicted

addictedI am far from perfect – we are, after all, imperfect beings – however I try to counteract such imperfections as I can wherever possible. It helps to know where particular imperfections lie, and both accept and acknowledge them – to do that is often the first step towards resolving them. Then again, there are things about ourselves where the best we can do is to accept and acknowledge they exist, knowing full well that there is little we can do to change. Some things are part of us, and though we may try to improve, we may not always succeed.

One of the less desirable aspects of my real world character is that, unless I’m careful, I can tend towards a somewhat addictive personality – indeed, I’ve mentioned it in passing only recently. It’s something that’s caused me huge problems in the past, and not always in the most obvious ways that might possibly be springing into your minds as you read this. To be ‘controlled’ can have all sorts of undesirable consequences, however to be in that position need not necessarily feel like it’s a bad, unacceptable or damaging thing. In much the same way that cigarettes may bring pleasure to a smoker, so may other addictions seem perfectly acceptable and even desirable to those afflicted.

It can be a daily struggle to identify when that side of my personality is kicking-in and to kick right back, whereas sometimes I just give in and accept that this is the way things are. Sometimes it’s just easier that way, sometimes it’s just a lot more fun. That’s life.

There was a time I was addicted to SL – with horrific outcomes, I’m afraid – but now that’s not the case. I don’t feel a crushing need to log in, deprived if I don’t, and structure my comings and goings to tie in with my inworld lifestyle – these days it’s a pleasant diversion and a positive influence in many ways, but there is certainly something inherently addictive about our virtual world, and even the most staid and well-adjusted of us can find ourselves caught up within that strange domain that goes by the name of ‘compulsion’.

It’s not just SL itself that can appeal to the inner addict – in fact, it’s more likely to be something in or around the virtual world that has the greater hold on us. Some people support a club or other venue with almost religious fervour – putting inworld pursuits before real world responsibilities in some cases; that couple of hours logged in is held as inviolate and is factored in to whatever else needs to be done. Others will have a particular Midnight Mania board that must be slapped, or lucky chairs that demand our indulgence following every log on, often requiring extensive periods of inactivity, as the the addicted avatar hovers anxiously around watching the board numbers tick over towards the target, or ready to dive on the first available chair within milliseconds of the right letter appearing.

bar5_001Then there are the inworld games that gobble up our time, giving little in return… I’ve seen people stay logged in practically all night, endlessly pursuing an elusive high score on a game that persistently disappoints. Then there are the board games, card games, dice games and time trials that demand you play them, even if you have better things to do. ‘Just one game you say’, and twenty games later you’re still playing.

Is it that SL is incredibly effective at tapping in to something that may form a deep-seated part of our psyche, or is it just very good at enticing us to play along? Or could it be that we are evolving into a species for whom the bright flashing lights, beeps and boops, and constant flow of never ending images, sounds and memes that the information age has spawned, have contrived to evoke a Pavlovian response in us that is impossible to resist? The buzzer sounds, and we press the button… the buzzer sounds, and we press the button… the buzzer sounds…

Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so much fun 😦

s. x

The crystal ship is being filled
A thousand girls, a thousand thrills
A million ways to spend your time
When we get back, I’ll drop a line
The Doors – The Crystal Ship

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