Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Matrix, Version 1.x

Written 13 December, 2006

The Matrix, Version 1.x

I will no longer allow myself to refer to Second Life as a game. No, rather it is a simulation, or better yet, an on-line electronic world. But never a game. And from now on, I’ll say First World instead of Real World.

I was talking with a disaffected young avatar recently. He had been in SL for a couple of weeks, so I was astonished to hear him say, “It’s only a game. I should just go around destroying stuff.” This prompted a 30-minute lecture from me, in which I explained just why SL was NOT a game and why it would be terrible to be a negative force in the SL world..

My friend’s comment might have had something to do with his age (very early twenties), or it might have been an artifact of his Paleolithic PC, which, he says, brings in Second Life only as vague shapes and colors. Whatever the reason for his belief, I astonished myself with my passionate defense of SL.

Yes, on one level, SL is only electrons moving about, causing phosphors or plasma or LEDs to glow. It’s bits and bytes stored on the Linden Labs servers. But on another level it’s a fully interactive world full of people and objects, just like the first world. I know and interact and care about real people who are typing those words in chat, and I love my SL house even more than my first world house, which I love very much indeed.

Besides, perhaps the first world is itself virtual. Perhaps God (or the Goddess, as I prefer to believe) has the universe running on the cosmic internet.

SL is crude in comparison to the first world, but the elements are all in place to equal or even surpass external “reality.” SL is The Matrix, V. 1.x.

I could swear I see the first world pixilate sometimes.


Photo: An amazing simulation

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