Montag, 1. August 2011

Meaning and Absurdity of Virtual Worlds

Translated from german into english by Coin Hammerer.

The World is not enough
I have been wondering about the meaning of virtual worlds for a long time, why they have become so important to some, and why they are discredited by others. I also wonder why many people distinguish so strictly between "RL" and "SL".

We all know what the usual arguments of those who oppose these worlds are. They can be roughly summarised as follows:

- Second Life is for Second People. Meaning: Those with no success in "first life" look for it in a second life. Or: Those whose Real Life does not offer them fulfilment look for it in the second. Or: Those who are isolated, lonely, and disregarded in first life, try to compensate this in their Second Life. Or to pinpoint it: Those who are losers in first life, see a second chance in a Second Life.

- Virtual worlds are addictive. And addiction of any sort is bad and harmful. It leads to social isolation, depression, and eventually to complete degeneration.

- Virtual worlds are unreal and entirely pointless, a complete waste of time. People who spend time in them are all psychotic or simply stupid.

Real arguments are rare. Normally one encounters exactly these trivialising polemics, which do not originate from research and reflexion, but rather from parroting the predominant opinions of mainstream media, or simply the arrogant attitude to rate one's own pastimes (gardening, handicrafts, collecting stamps) higher than those of others - as more "real" and "more important".