A great many of the conversations I have in SL fall into the category of ‘not serious’ – and, it must be said that most of those are at the frivolous end of the spectrum and could be described in terms that range anywhere between odd, weird, way out, bizarre, surreal and esoteric. You can draw your own conclusions from that, but as far as I’m concerned, SL is mainly about having fun and escaping the serious side of life, and therefore my interactions with others are usually going to reflect that fact. In the real world I spend an inordinate amount of time being sensible, serious and ‘grown-up’, so I don’t see why my SL time should have to follow the same pattern.
Maybe I do talk a lot of nonsense too, but I’m not bothered, and there’s plenty like me who are no better! Although, as a consequence, when I do have a serious exchange inworld, it can at times seem even more surreal than the daft ones.
Then there are the deep, meaningful, late night philosophical discussions – we’ve all been there; and I also tend to find myself caught up in fervent debates on various and diverse topics of a scientific nature. This, in particular, may have something to do with the sort of people I frequently associate with inworld: off the top of my head, I can think of at least four doctors, of both persuasions – medical and academic – several IT experts, teachers, lecturers, at least one rocket scientist and a number of people whose mental faculties leave me in awe. It’s hardly surprising that topics for conversation can occasionally stray into some fairly heavy territory. I enjoy it though.
Recently, I’ve debated black holes, string theory, alternative energy, perpetual motion, deep space exploration, Schrodinger’s cat, self -aware robots and quantum entanglement… Most of them within the same conversation!
Those of you unfamiliar with the aforesaid quantum entanglement, might want to check out the fairly straightforward explanation given by Wikipedia; it’s not quite as heavy duty as some theses! It was this particular topic that started me thinking…
SL and RL can both be viewed as separate and distinct aspects of our lives, although they both exhibit clearly different properties and characteristics, they nevertheless have similarities and are closely aligned – however, they are not dependant upon each other; it’s perfectly possible to pursue the plans and aims of our real lives without any need to involve SL at all. Similarly, we can pursue the plans and aims of SL, whilst keeping our real lives totally separate and distinct. Both can follow completely divergent pathways – no matter how strongly we might state otherwise, SL and RL are not the same!
Even so, both are indisputably linked – sometimes quite directly, but in the background the links are more esoteric, indeed they much better fit the description of ‘entangled’ to my mind. What happens in the virtual world can cross the boundary into the real world and have an effect, even though it’s physically not possible for anything to cross from virtual to real. Similarly, elements of real life can influence what happens inworld without physically coming into contact with it. At this point, I should probably stop – it’s a metaphor that can rapidly become horribly complex and contrived; so let’s park the quantum side of things for now and just concentrate on entanglement!
Maybe it’s not quite so prevalent amongst the casual or short term resident, but for those who indulge in SL at a level that is somewhat more than just dabbling, or those who have been around in the virtual world for some time, it is perfectly clear that whilst the boundaries between the real and virtual may still remain sharply defined, the two different experiences can be hopelessly entangled and consequently are both inseparable and co-existent. It’s the same as having two lengths of cable balled together in a tangled mess – they serve different functions, can have completely different connections, but pulling on one is going to have an effect on the other. This can be very much the experience of the long-term SL resident, who is likely to find elements of the virtual world creeping into everyday life, sometimes in a very tangible, deliberate manner, but also unconsciously in the way in which we approach the world around us. In the same way, it becomes more difficult to separate RL from our inworld experience and – in a manner that sometimes doesn’t even register with us – our real world influences the virtual.
And this is the reason, I really should stick to frivolous conversations!
She’s in a family full of eccentrics
She done things I never expected
And I need more time
Oasis – She’s Electric