Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blogging, Burnout and Bob

It's been a long time since I awoke in the morning, spitting fire and eager to fight the good fight. The last seven odd years have been a graphic lesson in the saying "Bullshit Baffles Brains," and I confess that I'm loathe to carry on.

The obvious thing to do would have been to take a vacation - but I'm aspie and multiple, so I took a little mental vacation. To tell the truth, I'm phoning this in from Otherwhere.

No, I'm not confessing to a lapse in sanity, folks. I'm bragging. And proselytizing, just a little bit, because I just had a huge insight. You see, I'm just like anyone else in one sense, the way I think is natural to me, and I don't often think about it's differences, much less it's advantages or it's deficits. It takes some fairly unusual circumstances to think about how I think at all.

But for the last few weeks I've been devoting most of my time to Second Life, learning the interface, making new friends and generally recharging my batteries for the big showdown between the forces of Good and Bush.

In doing so, I've realized that in Second Life, people are using computers and games to enhance the power of dreams and imagination that is so very central to my own existence and that of other multiples. We often call it "internal reality," Often, before we can achieve something in real life, we need to literally model it in our imaginations.

You could pay thousands to attend seminars that would tell you to do just that; to consciously harness the power of your mind and imagination to make your dreams come true. But truth be told, it's all rather airy-fairy and for the more concrete of mind, produces neither data nor direct experience that's useful to implementing that reality.

Well, Second Life (and other such massive simulation platforms) do in fact produce real data, and test themselves in what really amounts to "the real world," that is to say, against statistically significant numbers of real people acting as people really do. Or, to give you a concrete example, you can learn to run a business with the price of failure being a tiny fraction of the dollars real world experimentation would extract. And yet, you would learn everything you need to know about marketing, customer relations, fraud and of course, arbitrary changes in the regulatory climate.

Now, as it's primary goal has been entertainment, Second Life has made many inconveniences of life optional. Players need not eat or sleep in the game, have no need to worry about disease , danger or even gravity. All physical conflict is purely consensual - as is all sexual activity. Second Life reality. does not bias that consent, though individuals may well try to twist your arm in order to get you to hop on a poseball, just to see what happens.

Personally, I find the results hilarious rather than pornographic, and a graphic illustration of the need for comprehensive and effective sex education.

Disclaimer - neither person here is known to me, nor would I admit it if they were. Actual age is a matter of speculation.

Adults should be obscene and not absurd.

While the main grid of Second Life is supposed to be 18 years and above, there's really no good way to ensure that, short of depending on parents to make sure their kids are doing what they should be doing. And, aside from outright neglectful and indifferent parenting, mileage varies on what sincere parents think of as "appropriate."

There is a "Teen Grid" in SL, and I plan to report on it at some future time - but I suspect it's more suited for pre-teens and tweens. If I were sixteen or seventeen... scratch that, WHEN I was sixteen and seventeen I chafed remarkably at such ghettos - and once I was able to leave them found out that what I was being "protected" from was largely in the minds of the dirty-minded.

You know, the sort of people who masturbate furiously thinking of Michaelangelo's "David" and then try to get images of it removed from text-books as being "Homoerotic."

I DO happen to think that it's appropriate for teens to be gaming out sexual relationships before actually engaging in them. The beauty of SL is that you have all the drama and none of the pregnancy, disease or death that teens CAN suffer from as the result of painfully swollen genitalia. The idea that SL might "Give them Ideas" is laughable. The ideas come with puberty. Comprehension of CONSEQUENCES, on the other hand - that comes with experience. It seems better that experience should be virtual.

Think of it as giving your child a driving game long before they get their license. While they are having fun - they are learning to drive. They also learn why the rules of the road exist in the first place.

SL is very useful for illustrating the "Why not" of "Thou Shalt Not." The answer is, usually, "Because it hurts." See illustration above. Sprains and concussions a distinct possibility - and it's a pretty good metaphor for life in general, whatever universe you happen to be in at the time.

My Second Life Profile - such as it is - can be found here.

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