Back in the good old days – which don’t seem all that long ago – there were few things to worry about from day to day. The most we had to be concerned over was that we were wearing clean underwear to cover the remote possibility that we might be run over by a bus… I’ve consequently spent a good proportion of my life doing my utmost to avoid clashing with public service vehicles, not so much because I don’t have clean underwear on, (of course I do!), but more as a result of a morbid fear that death by bus is one of the major causes of mortality for the average human being.
To get shot, blown up, stabbed, or maliciously mown down took a special effort: And joining the armed forces was never particularly something I was inclined to do.
In recent times, however, it seems you don’t have to make any special effort at all to be unceremoniously shuffled off your mortal coil in horrible fashion. Being run over by a lorry, van or any other type of vehicle is now far more likely than the proverbial bus, and sticking to pedestrian areas is no guarantee of safety. Only recently, in my own town, four people were mown down in a ‘roadrage’ incident by a driver hellbent on murder. It doesn’t matter if you’re just going about your own everyday business – shopping, taking it easy, enjoying a concert, sporting activity or simply walking down the street, there’s no guarantee that someone isn’t going to try and spoil your day with a dose of life-changing, or worse, injuries – and you will be the innocent victim.
Never used to happen, at least not in this part of the world.
That aside, life in general feels a lot more threatening than I recall. I took a wander down into the city centre recently – it’s something I’ve not done for quite a while, mainly because I never have the time and I’m never in the area. It was like a cross between The Purge, and Doomsday! I actually felt physically intimidated – druggies, rough sleepers, drunks, dirty dishevelled yobs in hoodies and sweatpants lumbering down the street, shouting obscenities at each other, roaming gangs of youths showing no respect for people, property or each other… And not a sign of law enforcement anywhere. This added to the general sense of decay, and the closed down shops and air of depression did not make for a happy shopping experience!
I really don’t think I’ll be heading into town again any time soon. I’m sure it’s not just my own hometown that is suffering these kind of indignities, and that this overall fall of society is replicated in city centres across the UK, and possibly the rest of the world too, but I can’t help questioning where it all went wrong, because – even with rose tinted specs, my memories of the world as it used to be not so long ago, are of a very different environment.
I’ve always taken issue with people who pronounce SL to be better than the real thing, but I’m starting to come around to the view that they may well be right after all. Certainly, the virtual world is by no means perfect and the flaws of humanity are often just as apparent as they are outside SL, but nobody dies violently because of some sick individual or doctrine, nobody gets stabbed or receives a street acid bath, just for kicks, and we can go shopping, listen to music and generally get on with the business of living, without having it abruptly and rudely snatched from us. In many ways, SL is the Utopia we once enjoyed and took for granted in the physical world, and yes, it is better!
Now, you may take issue with me and argue that SL isn’t like the real world at all, and yet there are many who would disagree and say that much of what happens inworld mirrors the real world, and there’s probably equal merit in both arguments. Could it be however that many of us inworld are of a generation that was more familiar with concepts like discipline, social conscience and moral fortitude? There are young people inworld, but I’d venture to say that they are in the minority, whereas those of us who grew up knowing the world to be a better place, understanding how we should behave and conduct ourselves, without feeling the entitlement that seems to pervade the world today, and not having succumbed to political correctness gone mad, all the hand-wringing over cultural appropriation and other such nonsense, make the virtual world a better place.
I do honestly believe that the tide can be turned, but to do so will mean that toes will have to be trodden on, noses will be put out of joint and occasional civil liberties and human rights will be denied to those who – let’s be honest – couldn’t give a toss about the rights of others; but I can’t see it happening, and I fear for the next generation and the world that they’ll inherit.
Unfortunately, although I’m now coming around to the idea that SL may indeed be better that the real world in many ways, I’m stuck with living in the less friendly one, and that concerns me.
But, what can you do?
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
Rob Falsini – Mad World