I asked myself many times because there are plenty of reasons to not like SL. Yet there is something very unique and attractive about SL despite all downsides that keep hammering on my door as well. To name a ‘few’: Time-consuming, spending money on virtual objects and rentals, some terrible people I cannot stand and vice versa, the bimbo and macho culture, the drama’s, the pretentious attention seekers, the self-appointed gods and goddesses of whatever virtual kingdom with entrance fees and ridiculous rules, the too many events that sell the same brands, the boring subscription boxes with prices that do not match with what is delivered, the more than horrible ART word and world with its too small and predictable group of praisers and pleasers of each others works, the ban/mute kings and queens, the LAG, the insane prices for mesh heads, the arrogance and laziness of no and poor/incomplete demo’s, the mindless idiots that think every woman is a fuck object, the mindless idiots that think every man likes whore ‘couture’, the selfie addiction, the overkill of nudity and sex at the Flickr SL community, and so on and so on. No, not all and everyone included, don’t feel offended right away, but DISLIKES just are what they’re supposed to be: shitty and ugly.
Real Life and Second Life
Yes, reading that list would make a non-SL user say: ‘What a terrible world!’. The overlap between RL and SL often is being said to have no clear border. I think that’s true. SL is RL and RL is SL in many many ways, because in both worlds we are the person in charge. But the SL world and SL realities have one big difference with our RL existence. All SL experiences and existences are far more ephemeral. Relations and connections in SL never reach the depth and strength and reliability we can develop in RL (though it can feel like it and come close to it). This difference mostly is for a good reason. We have our RL partners and loved ones to care for and there are RL obligations and responsibilities that are more important than SL (or at least should be). Exceptions will be there, not referring to those if you are one of them.
We all know it is not always easy to accept these differences, especially when you happen to fall in love with an avatar and enter this bubble of love with the look and feel of a real life love. I am very happily married RL and have no idea how it is for singles in SL to fall in love, but the power and speed of virtual love for sure often will be underestimated and trap avatars/humans into this mind bending phenomena of real feelings in a virtual world that has a different sense of reality. It is easier and more comfy to indulge ourselves into these realms of ‘love’ than to think about the very fragile character of virtual love, no matter how deep it can feel at times and no matter how endless it may look. Like many I learned my lessons with that of course. I think we all need such lessons to secure our mind for traps like too much addiction and dependency on a virtual life.
Rejection and attraction
Nevertheless I like SL. I tried to escape a few times when feeling empty, bored, sad or whatever mood, but every time I came back. After several restarts and new created avatars (I like a clean start, also as avatar), I think it is fair to say I can miss SL if it should disappear, but I do not WANT to miss SL as long as it’s there. So, again, why do I keep visiting this ‘terrible’ world ?
It is because, in the end, the reasons to like SL have a stronger attraction as well as a longer lasting and higher level of impact than the reasons to not like SL. I met a few wonderful friends in SL and that gives me the opportunity to exchange between cultures, minds and views in a way RL never will be able to provide. I am convinced that having good friendships is much better anyway than having a love relation, if you like to have a stable virtual life. Even so it is not a thing I will reject or so. When it happens, it happens and I know my limits in control when something takes my mind :)
Another main thing that makes me come back almost every day is creativity. It can be decorating, it can be an outfit, it can be a blog, it can be a picture. Whatever it is, it makes me disappear a while in a state of mind I find highly satisfying. To discover or learn skills, to experiment with things that cannot be done in RL and to feel this pleasure of having created something unique, no one else made. An identity as you wish, a virtual reflection of my soul. Dark en light both represented, humour and twists always at my side, and even just sitting in my virtual home in total silence and solitude is a mental walk I cannot take in RL. RL has its own special attractions, plus it needs no login and password. Good to have it as most important base and to be aware it should stay like that, even when SL looks more sunny. Sunshine in SL is a bitch however. Sure, you don’t burn your skin, but it also likes to fool your perception on yourself and others. I prefer to feel skin burn, it’s a good warning sign to stop from going too far.
Escape from normality
The picture in this blog shows a ride into the weirdness of SL. Where odd things can happen and where no one will ask if you are insane to walk around as pixel person. Where you can ride a chicken and have an egg as horse. Where it rains euro’s and no one comes to grab it. All very normal in SL. It is an absurd world where we don’t have to be normal all the time. And hey, we can fly and crash without having a scratch. We can cover ourselves in silly clothes, make hilarious gestures and become invisible. We can speak with animals and make mountains with one click. We can dance like kids and fool around as if we never grew up. I like that more than everything else in SL. An escape from normality, not reality, because there are multiple realities and you always will live one :-)