Desires in the Metaverse
The Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space,including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet. The word metaverse combines the prefix “meta” (meaning “beyond”) with “universe” and is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe. The term was coined by Neal Stephenson in his sciencefiction novel Snow Crash (1992), in which people have become avatars connected with each other in a three-dimensional space, acting as a metaphor for the physical world without avatars. Second Life, created by Philip Rosedale, is partly based on his inspiration by this book.
Connection of RL and SL (physical and virtual)
We all know very well how SL would not exist without our physical existence as well. We ARE the avatar and the avatar is US. This means basically we will show all our RL characteristics into SL as well, often even in a stronger way because we have more freedom and more options to bring ourselves to other levels of existing. Not necessarily higher levels btw because too much freedom easily generates and feeds our tendency to cross certain borders we would reject in the physical world. If that is a good or bad thing is another discussion I will not focus at right now.
What I do like to write about is our wish to live our extended life in SL and what drives us to invest in our avatars with so much effort it makes us look like silly people to others who have no experience in any virtual world like SL. We make perfect avatars, buy tons of stuff, create our dream homes and sims, show off with all of that and also create or watch creations in an artistic way to secure our need of expressing ourself/define ourself/individualise ourself, to be unique (or at least THINK we are unique).
But the most present need of all, like in RL, is being social and relate/connect with other people. Even a quite solitary mind like I am does not feel happy when not having a circle of friends that make me feel happy and vice versa. The deeper forms of connecting can result in all kinds of love bonds. A love for artistic persons , a love for musicians, a love for friends being your friends, a love for a lover being your lover. I am going to focus on the last part one more time in this blog: lovers in SL.
Follow up Cyber Love blog
A while ago I wrote a long blog about my experiences and view on Cyber Love. I expressed to not be able to commit anymore to a lover like I have done before in SL and the reasons why. It helped me a lot to analyse my feelings and to get a grip on myself in SL in how to act and not to act, to stay happy without drowning too much in what for me feels unhealthy or dangerous.
Meanwhile things have happened. We live in a moving world, both emotionally moving and in ways of never standing still. RL and SL both as well. To many it may have looked as if I was to become a monk in SL now (ok NUN because female). This is not true ofc. If I want to become a NUN I would have to dedicate to solitary confinement and that is something I also do not want to do, let alone if I ever could do that. I could choose to do friends only on the other hand and leave all lovers out. A safe way to not get into trouble or drama or too deeply involved. Just I am not that kind of person, to shut down love totally. I love to love, I love to be loved as much as all other people do. Do not deny that . . . you all know it is true. If no one would love you in SL in a certain way, you would leave.
So then what
Love never is simple. It always carries the risk of failure, drama and sadness, especially in a highly sensitive mind exposed to highly desirable feelings. This means for me ( because I speak of me now) I need to create a safety space, wear a safety belt, to secure myself as much as I can to not be pestered with guilt towards a RL love and to not die of sadness when a love fails. This means that total commitment is a problem. But I do like to point at the difference between commitment and dedication. Commitment is more like a RL relation for me. With vows and that kind of things in your mind. Dedication is softer, more free and does not drive you crazy with suffocation and guilt. To be able to live such a love with someone needs a lot of communication and a lot of trust. Love always needs that ofc, but let’s say that the consciously chosen absence of total commitment can make it feel as a lack of trust in a stronger way. To deliberately create a free space, where strict rules and commitment do not exist, because they only can be shown out of respect and own desire to do so, really is a challenge and not so easy as it sounds.
Even so I am at that point now with someone in SL and it is a fascinating journey into myself and the other. It gives a feeling of control and that feeling creates safety. I am very well aware it can change due to mistakes I make or the other will make, but that’s always the case in any kind of connection. I like to call it togetherness and intimate bonding creating a meaningful connection. In short we would call it love obviously, but love is a word with so many aspects I choose to define it a bit more complex here.
Let’s call this desire to be intimate in SL in whatever form of love a need. When a need is present it is wise to at least know WHY you have this need and how you like to manage it. The why is not so hard I think in my case. Being loved and cared for makes me feel happier and though it is tempting to explain it because of lacking it in the past for decades in RL I think that is not the only or main reason. I am after all very happy and very loved in my present RL. So I think it is more fair to say I just have a playful mind but also a selective resistance with play in a world like SL. I like to feel intense feelings and get inspired by them. Love is one of those intense feelings. Sadness as well btw. I like to cry over things under my skin. Selective resistance in play means I only play when I really feel it is worth it. The other person has to ‘touch/affect’ me in a way that keeps me interested and I do not feel to be playful only for the sake of having a playful mind. If no one around with that special match I just will be not playful and that’s also ok.
Play the game
I need to explain the word PLAY. With play I do not mean it is only a silly game. I refer to the words PLAY and GAME in a very serious way. Second Life as playground means for me to explore myself and others where it concerns the social connective part. So SL is the ‘game’ and the avatars are the ‘players’. But when playing a game there is another game going on called the GAME of GAMES. It means you can be a total winner of all individual games (consume all others that lose the game) but at the same time the total loser of the game of games. The game of games refers to HOW you play. Do you aim to WIN ALL there is to win for you by playing it hard and being good at that? Or do you aim to let the other person also win his or her share once in a while, even when you maybe have more power or skills every single game or feel a certain wish to force the other to let you win? The ones who don’t play it hard all the time despite being able to do so respect some personal needs in the other to not feel a loser and weak person. The one who plays his/her games like this knows the importance of creating a WIN WIN situation in a certain percentage. Can be 50/50 or 70/30, depending on what the needs are to keep a good connection together.
Connection or Relation
We like to feel connected with others. To be and feel related with others is more the love kind of connection. So let’s say I am related at this moment. And it totally satisfies me and the other because of creating this ‘win win game’ as players. If we are able to keep it that way only time can tell ofc. I know very well we like to idealise our love bubbles in SL, but at least it is a good start to have this awareness of being related in a free way with personal space and good communication to monitor needs, fears and feelings. Risks not excluded, but lowered and more acceptable to digest when they would show their face.
Or like Jordan Peterson says in his lecture about Desire and metadesire:
We build the world of desire from the bottom up; our embodied structures shape our basic motivations, which we develop and render more sophisticated through our capacity for social interaction and cognitive abstraction. At the most primordial levels, we share motivational structure and function with other animals, far down the evolutionary chain of being. At the upper levels, we arrange and organize our individual motivations into complex social games; above that, we play games with the rules of the games themselves, allowing the shared social structures that organize our motivations so that we remain predictable to ourselves and each other to change and adapt to new circumstances
Basically we all are predators. Some more than others and with dominant predators placing themselves in a superior situation above others, but even as less dominant person you still have this predator in you. You just will show it differently, more hidden and less extraverted. It has been proven babies that who never receive a TOUCH will die soon. No affection is literally a killing factor. Dominant and less dominant predators ALL need this affection. When receiving it and achieving it to become a powerful form of affection with a lover, our role changes. We need to maintain it, nurture it and care for it to stay cautious with how we touch, affect and interact with the object of our love and affection. If we start to neglect because now all is settled and safe, we could create a chaos that will destroy all we worked so hard for in the beginning. Or when we lose control and overreact on too much or too little affection we can easily drift away from the other. Never become lazy when in love. It does not mean all is settled forever. It means you start a new journey with new experiences on every corner. Maybe sometimes a dead end or crash . . . It all is up to how we feel, act, play, anticipate, share, care and love. When too much difference in needs and play it will be a tough ‘game’. For now I have a very pleasant ‘game’ I look forward to every day. And it does not harm and threaten my RL ‘game’. Like this the ethical and moral part also cannot become a demon which makes me want to run away.
Credits for part of this blog’s information go to Jordan Peterson