(Continued from Part Two)
If you read my earlier posts, you know that everyone in SL can make their avatar’s a perfect 20- or 30-something image of health, and making use of the virtual world’s lsl scripting language, one can acquire or borrow from hundreds of well-crafted bvh motion-captured movements of professional actors and expert coders, these are worn on one’s avatar in a HUD or invisible object in things called “Animation Overriders” or “AO” for short. It makes your avatar move and wiggle and shift their weight around, walk, run, swim, fly, and such in a more natural way than default.
You can also use animations for doing activities, like, dancing, or fighting with weapons, or riding a vehicle, or.. yes, indeed, sex!
Instant looping love scenes of varying duration or complexity are just a click away: Sit on a scripted animation ball with another and boom your avatar is displaying masterful perfected examples of coupled dancing, loving and sex, even your facial expressions and body language can be so scripted into something that could pass as believable human animations.
So, if watching pixel interactions is enough to lull you into a some sense of romance or sexual arousal, producing a real-world emotional/mental response, then whoopee!? Go figure. Pixels don’t generally do anything for me, but given my wife and the right enhancements, emotes, voice, whatever, then yeah it may sound perverse but that could work for me. Run now if this is disturbing LOL.
So, people can get distracted. Just like watching a TV show or movie or sporting event, well, playing a online game will distract your mind from any real world issues or its responsibilities.. In the virtual world, when you meet someone on a superficial level, it’s much like meeting someone informally at a bar. Generally, you don’t care about real-world compatibility, differences in gender, age, size, thought, history, baggage, body odor, menstral cycles, undesirable habits or traits like flatulence or nose picking to endure, and generally, you will not easily uncover any underlying psychopathic behavior or mental disorders on that first encounter.
After all, in the metaverse, it’s just pixels, none of this is real unless you in your mind and heart desire it to be for you. Nobody you interact with has to know anything of your real world identity or location, unless you tell them. And when two people with like mind interact, well then maybe the sparks will fly (and maybe not..)
So what about, online safety and security?
SL has no enforcement to reveal what you look like in the RL, or what your contact details outside of SL may be, and why would they? Surely they are a commercial business and don’t want to be held liable if some client of their own free will chooses to have a RL affair outside their marriage, or if a trusting woman winds up hanging dead on a meat hook from some wacko who posed in SL as a reputable human. That sort of stuff may be open to the laws of common sense and natural selection, however not everyone has those traits in either SL or RL.
I guess you can look at it as a responsibility or a fault, Linden Labs has no screening process regarding account creation by pedophiles, sexual predators, serial killers, the abusive or emotionally disturbed personalities, those with suicidal tendencies, religious extremism, or any sort of criminal history, so anyone you interact with, either casually in public conversation, over personal instant messages, voice, or for that matter outside of SL across the Internet, telephone, or face-to-face interaction, comes with no protection or guarantees of personal safety — however, most people who are online at all realize that they need to be on guard for those who are out to do bad things.
So, there are now two verification systems, one so that you can spend money in SL, the other so you can access adult content. Either of these are easily faked given the right information to enter into their website, but this isn’t an article how to hack SL or get free Linden dollars or stuff like that.
In that sense, an extremist about online issues may complain that SL (indeed other virtual communities) in part encourage felons and social deviants to inhabit and likewise infect their virtual world, allowing anyone a free unchecked account (or accounts) passage to RP or end up charming the gullible or lonely bored person out of RL money, common sense, vows, or even their life. Lots of kids online chat rooms and games don’t have much control over this and there are cases where kids got hurt, but really that’s more uncommon than common.
Back to my rant though, think about all the things you can pretend to do in SL which would otherwise be serious crimes: plunder, rape, steal, pillage, have hardcore virtual sex with children, animals, or whatever their diabolical mind can imagine. But it’s just a game. People want to explore BDSM or things in a safe virtual environment, or act out roleplays of a violent nature (think of games like Quake, Halo, Call of Duty, that sort of thing.. People don’t go out and shoot people in real life after playing such games unless they are mentally disturbed, of course, and generally when you play these sorts of games you are playing with artificially intelligent computer-created models, there isn’t a real world person controlling the actions of the character, and interacting with you on some mental interpersonal level.
A spiritualist may say, no matter how subtle, there would exist a mental and emotional connection, indeed your physical body may react to stimuli from said person-controlled avatar, just as much, if not more so, than a computer character who is blasting away at you may piss you off and get your physical self visibly enraged.
So, let’s say a person wishes to be a pilot, so they read books about repairing aircraft, flight controls, aerial mapping, and GPS navigation. Then, in the virtual world, they practice the book techniques in simulated conditions where they practice takeoffs and landings, plotting airport to airport courses, and addressing standard mechanical maintenance of aircraft. It is their eventual goal to repeat this in real life, to learn and become a pilot- the books and virtual practice is training their mind for the task, and indeed the imaginary successes and failures may generate RL emotional responses, even pleasure or stress.
Now, there is something to be said about sympathetic magick or the effect of doing things in SL, which influences your psyche or subconscious mind, as in the example of the pilot on training, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that similar effects may be produced when the typist exposes themselves to other repeated activity in the virtual world.
Becoming a vampire in SL and daily attacking and draining victims isn’t likely to turn someone into a RL bloodthirsty goth, but it will indeed leave lasting impressions in your mind, and your thoughts on these matters will often be in your mind. What you fill your mind with, what you “sow” in otherwords, so will you begin to create, or “reap” in the waking everyday life; how this manifests really is dependent on many natural, universal laws.
Not every child who plays war games and shoots people grows to be killers who mow down their classmates in a rain of bullets, and not everyone who attends a cult church is immediately brainwashed or manipulated into submission, and not every man who visits a nudie bar every night ends up paying for a lapdance, but indeed, if one were to frequent such places until it wore down your sensible resistance, you may indeed end up a convert of a wicked cult or find yourself humping a stripper in the back room of a club, if conditions allowed for such a thing to occur, and you were weak enough to succumb.
Thankfully, with SL also comes some safety you wouldn’t get in RL encounters: You have the ability to immediately shut someone out if things go sour, or if someone goes too far beyond your comfort level (or indeed that of your spouse). You can teleport away, logoff, un-friend a person, mute or ignore them, even delete your account entirely if circumstances need be so drastic to rid yourself a stalker or casanova.
And surely the following has happened to many a resident of SL, indeed, what happens in the virtual world could ruin what may have been an otherwise long and happy marriage.
SL is full of unscrupulous men and women who, having no love of their own, will do what they can to destroy any love they find, and trick people into letting them steal it for themselves, at relatively no cost to their own person, yet leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. This happens in the real world and indeed it happens way more often in the virtual world.
Really? A game? How the heck can my kid fall victim to a computer game, or a partner fall prey to an internet stalker in a game? Here’s how. It’s the people playing the game. That’s not to say everyone in SL is bad, it’s just to say, like RL, there are good and bad people, and people who do good and bad things in spite of themselves or their mate.
The old “I’m better than they are, because I’m great and they are rotten so you should spend time with me” manipulation, guys use it to talk women away from men, and women use it to talk men out of their pants for those who have ears to listen to such nonsense. On the Internet, though, we usually refer this to “predators” who “stalk” their online “victims.” — No need for me to go into details, just google it if you never heard of such horrid behavior.
In the RL, any sane woman would call the man out immediately “player!” for they are just a charmer. But in the SL, the challenge is that pixels and scripted words may cloud what true judgement would have easily dispelled as disloyalty.
Let’s touch on common relationship stuff of the modern age: First off, it’s not good manners to snoop on your partner, because that in itself is a form of distrust. So, what if you snoop and you find some IM or email from a person courting your partner? What if someone is courting your partner in a GAME? I would guess it’s just as bad as if it happened in real life, except that you can STOP playing a game, you can STOP email, you can STOP instant messaging, delete delete delete.
Sure, I have friended people in SL, I have chatted with people outside of SL whom I built objects with or at the time was roleplaying with, but it wasn’t like I was being dishonest or hiding from my mate about it — at the time I was single. Yes, once in a relationship I flirted with people, but my friends knew where my loyalties were, and that above anything, my girl (now my wife) was #1 in my life, and any interaction then wouldn’t be of the romantic or sexual sort of play .. not that I did much of that sort of play as it were, and I don’t use IM or any of that as I once did, it’s more the concept, the precedent, the intention behind it all that gets me.
Continued in Part 4..