- I have this ideal of the real and inherent social value of virtual worlds such as Second Life.
- I have this ideal that virtual worlds loosen the chains of individual access, and the resultant freedom allows people to explore areas of themselves and others without the tension presented by the tedious confines of the physical world.
- I have this ideal that this new virtual freedom might even spark some tiny bit of enlightenment and even enhance our empathic capacity, if only on the smallest scale.
- I have this ideal that even the tiniest shift in empathy could make a meaningful and lasting difference.
But recently I’ve felt my idealism waning and my enthusiasm for virtual worlds as a vehicle for meaningful change teetering. In the small Second Life echo chamber in which I am transfixed, there is an air of nastiness, a spoiling of trust, a tolerance for vitriol and a tendency to swing with a mighty force at anything that seems unfamiliar. Something seems to be seeping into our virtual potential well and poisoning the water.
For what it’s worth, every once in a while we should stop and think about what’s going on.
Creative people who want to make a difference have a million and one opportunities and distractions. To engage them means an ethic which is intolerant to negativity, rigid thinking and self promotion – and instead keeps people constantly in touch with the words of the anthropologist Margaret Mead.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist (1901 – 1978)
I have been doing a lot of research recently about virtual worlds and why people use them.
Many of us see virtual worlds as an opportunity for free expression, to allow us to extend beyond our normal physical boundaries and reach out to the unseen world to be both seen and heard.
This is a place for shared creativity and encouraging support for one another, so each can grow in expression, compassion and understanding.
This is the new frontier that is built and grows from support for one another. It is mutually reinforcing and each helps the other grow in good times and keeps each other going through the not so good.
This is the realm of being able to make a difference to others’ lives and have an impact on each other and beyond trough being part of a committed community.
Lately we have found these things all to be true in London’s gateway, where all news means that the community sticks tighter to each other. As a community these people help each other grow. Through this attitude London is expanding as a virtual community within Second Life and, as we soar, into other platform too.
People in the community all have their own needs, wants and desires. Yet all come together to help one another achieve those things that each needs. Positive thinking is the greatest gift we can give each other.
The only thing we can change is our attitude. In the words of Winston Churchill
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
– You and I will continue to build and grow our community together.