We’ve Built Something Wonderful in Second Life

Pure Dreams (moderate)

I’m going to use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs↑ to frame this post – oh sure, you can argue with his rankings, but this is my blog and I’ll use what I want!

Linden Lab handed us a platform and said “You create a world” and we did. They gave us the tools for creativity, what Maslow considered part of his 5th level – Self Actualization, and we use them everyday. We built cities and games and objects and fashion and art etc. I have finally recognized that we also built something much more important.

Pure Dreams (moderate)

I mentioned the other day that I’d encountered a brand new resident and was showing him around. We met yesterday to spend some time working on his avatar and he indicated during our session that he had a question for me, but was very hesitant to actually ask. In fact, he was terrified.

It took a long time for me to convince him that, whatever it was, I wasn’t going to judge. He finally asked about pursuing a lifestyle that he felt might be “out of the norm”. As it happens, the life he hopes to build is part of one of the largest subcultures in our world.

Pure Dreams (moderate)

I had the best moment of my virtual existence when I could respond with: “You have a choice of communities in Second Life and you will be accepted.” His relief and, yes, joy were palpable.

If you look at Maslow’s hierarchy again, a more basic need than creativity is that of Belonging. A need to feel accepted. LL gave us the technical tools and we built a world where everybody can find acceptance. I’m not saying “universal”. I will never be a fan of Gor for example, but Goreans and even Griefers will find a home and a community on the grid.

Pure Dreams (moderate)

This new resident is gay, but he isn’t out in real life. Whatever his physical world situation, he can’t be himself. We – you, me, her, him, them, those other people, all of us have made a world where he can. I’ve talked a lot over the years about Community while ignoring that one of the fundamental reasons we form them is for acceptance. Our large grid is an aggregation of all the families and havens that represent every choice and need and outlet and lifestyle imaginable. They provide support and belonging and love – satisfying a truly basic need for everybody.

We didn’t have to create this kind of world. The fact that we did gave me one of the best moments I’ve had in any life. We did good!

Pure Dreams (moderate)
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38 Comments

  1. The Great Pyramid Of Maslow is my favorite stop on the tour of Giza. http://www.flickr.com/photos/isfullofcrap/3691199376/

    -ls/cm

    Reply
  2. This blog is already amazing, but it gets better each and every day.

    Reply
  3. Lacewing Mesmeriser

     /  December 27, 2012

    It’s a good feeling being a welcomer like that. I hope your newbie finds the comfort and growth inworld that will inevitably feed the person behind the keyboard

    Reply
  4. oops, forgot to check the box for email follow-ups

    Reply
  5. Actually, now that Ratzinger has an ipad, he could read this… he and the Bishop of Shrewsbury, in Britain – and many others. *sigh*

    Reply
    • Our world can ignore them :)

      Reply
      • And gay mariage is possible in SL

      • I say again, we did good!

      • Seems so… and actually not only gay marriage, but many other possibilities that would probably cause syncopes in the conservatives, hehe

      • oh my yes – but then add to that the physically challenged, the shy, the ones with low self esteem for whatever reason, in fact everybody looking for a life that’s more than what they have. We could have built a cold, unfriendly and restrictive world. We didn’t.

      • I totally agree with you. SL is all-inclusive – or as much as some environment can be. And also for the ones who are not seeking to fulfill any missing aspect of their atomic worlds in SL, for those who are there “for fun”, for those who are there for whatever other reasons: it is an amazing place, guided in general for acceptance and respect for others (yes, some people show no respect, but I’m saying “in general”). I’d say it’s “structural” in the way we built it, with the more or less generalized “code of conduct” that we adopted.

      • and I agree with you :)

  6. *drumming fingers*

    Reply
  7. SL has shown me that humanity is innately accepting and aware that we are all connected.

    Reply
  8. Zaphod Kotobide / Tim Stewart

     /  December 27, 2012

    I had put out my feelers if you will in various online spaces in the early 90s, when it wasn’t nearly as cool to be out as it is now.. Back then it was BBSes for the most part. I thought at the time what a privilege it was to be able to discover people like myself in those spaces, and socialize with them in a way I wasn’t prepared for in the real world.

    This guy I think is very fortunate to have met you, and exceedingly fortunate to have an entire virtual world full of communities to explore his own process of coming out. I remember what a joy it was for me to finally connect to other gay folks back then. I can only imagine what that sense of joy would be like to go through that process in a space like SL.

    Reply
    • We are fortunate that Second Life exists – at least I think so :) And don’t give me too much credit, there are thousands who could and will help him if they get a chance. :)
      The internet has been a huge boon for lots of reasons – but I think acceptance is major.

      Reply
  9. You are right Honour. And the best happens when is clear that the Electronic World is reality, the game occurs in the physical world.

    Reply
  10. Btw, i have just put writed “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” on drums of my little club in sl :). Many crumbs make a sandwich.

    Reply
  11. Excellent insight – thank you for the beautiful explanation.

    Reply
  12. Inara Pey

     /  December 28, 2012

    Brilliantly and beautifully stated.

    Reply
  13. I think newbiestalking is one of my favorite SL games. After I do pictures in some of the destination guide drop spots, I’ll sit around dropping my Newbie folder on people. The other day I ended up chatting with a newbie who approached me first (and politely! I may ask him if i can use our initial chat as an example of How to make friends in Second Life) who I ended up lining up with a possible thing for him to do in-world, which is often what keeps us around. I love newbies, when they don’t say “a/s/l”.

    Reply
    • I used to own an island that must have been near an arrival spot – brand new residents were arriving all the time. You could almost guess their rl age by their name and the first questions they asked. :)

      Reply
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