However, some therapists advocate for a 4 th condition to be added to the Big 3: Simply put, we have perceptions of our thoughts. There would likely be no internet, and all of human sentience would drop away. Our perception of things changes everything. We routinely feed ourselves misinformation and then act on it, experience feelings from consequences of those misguided behaviors that are predicated by a distorted perception of a real event or fact. This is a huge aspect of modern culture all over the earth.
Media presents information that is at best supposition cherry picked and cobbled together. However, when this kind of misperception is taking place in our private lives, we need to stop and get some real perspective. The more apt vehicular metaphor might be a padded van. That ought to be of substantial public concern.
No one covers what is happening in our community better than we do. And with a digital subscription, you'll never miss a local story. What every attempt keeps running into is this: Is there anything at this point, literally anything, that President Trump could do or say, or that could be revealed about him, that would make any difference to people who are going to excuse and rationalize this monstrous mutation of a presidency no matter what? We all saw him mocking a disabled reporter — the video is still available all over the Web — and his enablers, public and private, tell you with a straight face that it never happened.
His recent interview with Time magazine is one jaw-dropping lie after another, after another, after another. Other critics believe that Second Life peddles the dangerous illusion that people can change anything they want about themselves. But Rosedale, whose eyeballs actually gleam with bliss as he's talking about Second Life, believes it can be a colossal force for good. Someone can acquire a modicum of social skills and become less shy in Second Life, or they can learn how to become an entrepreneur without risking too much money. Now, at the same time, I can't say that someone someday might not throw themselves off a building because they think they can fly like their avatar, but I think the benefits will far outweigh the negatives.
It allows people of all races to communicate with one another in a way that is bound to bring down barriers and create greater understanding. Yet for all Rosedale's optimism, there's no doubt that Second Life is no longer the electronic Eden it once was.
Trouble has crept into the garden. With the expansion of the virtual world has come a surge of virtual terrorism.
This signalled the start of a whole series of attacks, known as 'griefings'. It's one of the many oddities of Second Life that this most intensely human word is used to mean something else altogether in a world where there's no death, and therefore no grief. These griefings can involve anything from daubing obscenities on virtual houses, to racist abuse, to bigger, more elaborate stunts.
A group known as the Second Life Liberation Army now regularly disrupts meetings with virtual bombings - they're campaigning, quite seriously it seems, for avatars to have votes, claiming that Second Life is a dictatorship. And then there's other, more traditional stuff. Two years ago, a year-old electrical engineer known as Cynewulf from Michigan was crucified in Second Life: Afterwards Cynewulf described the experience as being 'surprisingly agonising'. As the griefings have mounted, so have attempts to deal with them. There are now a number of private armies in Second Life which offer protection against having your property vandalised - the problem here is that the private armies are suspected of being the worst vandals.
Extortion is also on the rise. Anshe Chung is one of a number of in-world property developers who complain that people have tried to intimidate her into selling virtual land. Persistent offenders are banned from Second Life, although not surprisingly they often log straight on again under another pseudonym.
There's also a weekly 'police blotter' naming and shaming offenders - one resident was warned recently for wearing a giant penis in a Parental Guidance area. Then, in December , Rosedale - or rather his avatar, Philip Linden - announced that, in future, hardline griefers would be reported to the FBI: Yet none of this will affect Second Life's relentless growth - in physical terms it can carry on expanding indefinitely, as long as there are enough internet servers to accommodate it.
Nor is it likely to harm its potential for generating real money: Second Life's economy is currently growing at between 10 and 15 per cent a month. But this year alone, we've had 25 major product launches in-world for companies like Adidas and Diageo. What's really interesting is that now people are treating Second Life as a real location. At the same time more and more businesses are holding conferences in Second Life; not only do they save a fortune, but it also cuts back on their carbon emissions.
Unreality Check | Vault
Suddenly the potential has gone into the stratosphere. It will come as no surprise to learn that lawyers are among those scenting lucrative pickings in-world. In September, a Second Lifer named Kevin Alderman filed a suit against another resident known as Vokov Catteneo over something called the SexGen bed which Alderman claims to have invented. The SexGen bed is a device which animates avatars, enabling them to perform 'more than [mercifully unspecified] sex acts'.
Alderman alleges that Catteneo is selling a pirated version of his bed for a knock-down price. Last month, another outraged resident sued Second Life for - he claims - taking away 'land' that he had bought. Does Rosedale ever feel that his creation is being ruined by all-too-human interlopers?
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After all, isn't it a bit like the Puritan fathers landing on virgin territory and then finding that this New World is turning into something as corrupt and venal as the world they left behind? For once Rosedale's grin fades and he looks a bit glum. On the other hand, though, ultimately the freedom of an individual user of Second Life is the most important thing here. Morally, Second Life may be becoming a familiar mess, but in technological terms, as Rosedale eagerly points out, they're barely out of the blocks. That's how fast things are changing. And if anything the pace is going to pick up.
This is likely to be good news for Second Life residents. Despite its giant leaps forward, the site's graphics still look as if they've been lifted off the cover of a s prog-rock album. It's also bedevilled with glitches. Recently, I - or rather my avatar - was wandering round Second Life in his semi-coordinated way when his trousers vanished. He kept on going, apparently unconcerned, but it was a tricky moment for both of us. But this is nothing compared with the difficulties faced by several people who bought extra-large penises for around Linden dollars a throw; they complained that their new penises fell off their avatars whenever they touched anything.
Too much of this sort of thing and you could easily get a complex. In his book Second Lives: Because of the number of guests, the server nearly crashed. In order to reduce the number of objects that the server had to handle, the bride asked everyone to remove their hair. After an in-world concert earlier this year by a chamber ensemble from Cleveland, one unimpressed critic reported that it was 'like listening to the radio and watching a puppet show - and the puppet show is not synched to the radio.
Rosedale insists that these are merely teething troubles and that soon they'll be left far behind as we sweep ever onwards towards - what exactly? Where will the grown-up version of Rosedale's cardboard rocket take him, and us? I also think that many of the things we do now in the real world we will stop doing. Like the way we communicate. I mean, here we are: If I want to write something on a board, I have to get up and do it.
If I go to a concert in Second Life, I can study the audience in far more detail than I ever could with the naked eye. All this is going to make a big difference to lots of things.
- Do You Have Any Idea... How Fine You Are?!
- Der Ausländer - Phantasien werden Realität (German Edition).
- ASM-Sanders, Inc; 09-1158 08/16/10.
Now I can't tell you exactly how these things are going to happen - not yet. Then out comes the grin again, and the eyeballs. In the street outside, the sun is still beating down from a cloudless sky, the buildings are exactly where they were before. Except that now everything looks somehow flimsy and insubstantial.