Shallow Water in Second Life

Mysterious Wave (general)

My recent visit to an installation by Cherry Manga↑ reminded me that I hadn’t been to Mysterious Wave↑ lately – so I took a break from all the seasonal stuff going on to look around.  There have been a lot of changes since I was last there.

Some of the pieces I’ve seen in other exhibits but most are new to me and, in addition to Cherry’s fine art, there are some works by Ub Yifu↑.  In the case of the latter I found them surprisingly melancholy – I say surprising only because I haven’t associated that feeling with his works in the past.  Or maybe it was just the mood I was in. :)

Mysterious Wave (general)

I was first captivated by the groups of figures walking through the grass surrounded by birds whirling and playing in the wind.  They reminded me of a conversation I had the other day about, what I see as, one of the huge potentials  in online/virtual worlds.  I’ll phrase it badly but I think the metaverse is a great tool for learning to get past the superficial.

As we get older in the physical realm most of us realize that the inside of the person you’re dealing with is far more important than their outer casing.  Those figures in the shallow water all look the same but you know their personalities, qualities and characters could be vastly different.

Mysterious Wave (general)

An acquaintance had challenged me recently saying that they were sure I wouldn’t be interested in getting to know an avatar inworld if I discovered they were overweight or “ugly” in the real world.  It took me a while to regain my powers of speech and finally asked them if they really thought somebody who deliberately creates an avatar with “undead” skin and the shape of a park bench was so shallow that she gave a damn what a person looked like on the other side of that computer screen.

We talk to the person – or at least I do.  If there are those who talk to boobs or six packs they’re destined for a lot of disappointment and misery.  They responded that obviously I must be a fatty in real life otherwise I’d want to “strut my stuff” and I should take this opportunity to understand what it’s like to be “hot”. sigh

Mysterious Wave (general)

I know that the size and health of the fashion industry in Second Life is a good indication that a superficial view of those we meet won’t disappear.  The insistence that people’s choices in shapes and clothes can be “wrong” says that the person inside is a low priority and this is a lesson I wish metaversal citizens could overcome.

The individual I get to know – or want to get to know – doesn’t have to provide proof of fitness or “beauty”. Neither their physical nor virtual appearance matters. Understand please that this doesn’t mean I avoid “beautiful” avatars – it just doesn’t play a part in my interest or lack thereof.  They do have to demonstrate in conversation and actions that they are somebody I find interesting enough to spend time exploring.

If your virtual life is all about sex and you need those visual clues to generate interest well life will teach you that the brain is the most erotic zone.  If you focus on that you might not miss some great opportunities for connection – the pretty shells often hide ugly people in any life. OK the old lady will stop lecturing now

Mysterious Wave (general)
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11 Comments

  1. ahuva18

     /  December 20, 2011

    “ugly in the real world”. wow. I have to say, THAT attitude is ugly in my eyes. One of the things that I most enjoy about virtual worlds is that I meet you as you wish me to see you. From the moment I read your first text, your visual appearance fades. I won’t say it disappears, because that is YOU too, or you at that moment. But the beauty of text, and even to some extent voice chat, is that I know you only through the words you choose to use. We all see the world through our own stories and past. If all I have of you is your worlds, that eliminates a lot of my own story-clutter, allowing me to more closely see you as you want to be seen. And if you are beautiful, you are beautiful no matter the wrapping. Yes – some choices for wrapping are less appealing to me than other choices. But that is the clutter from my past. Once you are beautiful, you are beautiful.

    Reply
  2. I told someone recently (who was commenting on “hot” avatars) that SL is no different from RL with regard to appearance — if it matters at all then it only matters when it’s the ONLY criterion. Looking at someone from afar is one thing, interacting with them quite another. Attraction to superficialities is merely infatuation (or lust); attraction to substance is more important … it’s love.

    Reply
  3. Cate Storymoon

     /  December 21, 2011

    I’m sure there have been other eras in human history where focus on the superficial and external seemed to sit in the driver’s seat of the culture. Where I sit in my old crone’s overlook I get to do a lot of silent subtle and not so subtle head-shaking. Second Life has always greatly magnified not only the brilliance of human consciousness, but the darkness as well. I have the worry lines (okay crevaces) between my eyes, you know, the ones that look like the symbol for the pause button? What seems like a certain soullessness taking over “everything” (with exceptions that I am eternally grateful for) in first, second and other lives turns my worry lines into the Grand Canyon.

    Thank you again for your amazing View, Honour. “I see you…”

    Reply
    • I’ve tried imagining life back in the time before movies/mass media/internet and even photography. Most people never saw more than one or two naked individuals in their lifetimes. And even for some (think staid uptight victorian england) getting married didn’t necessarily mean seeing somebody completely naked. It meant cottage cheese thighs or rolls of excess stomach weren’t compared to some arbitrary baseline. Our definitions of beauty are born from what we can see around us I guess.
      I still prefer to know the mind even if I’m willing to admire a nice butt. :)

      Reply
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