Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I hereby proclaim Second Life to be evil.

I'll extend this same characterization to all of the other drivers of the increasing virtualization of experience. The problems of the real world continue to grow broader and deeper, and people need to be paying more attention to the kaleidescope of interactions between themselves and the "meat world," not less. So what are the masses in the greatest resource-hogging society on earth doing? Escaping into a digital fantasy land where they create electronic paradises with a little bit of scripting language. Hey, folks, aren't we as a society already frighteningly far removed from awareness of the actual world in which we live, both natural and socioeconomic-political? The last thing we need now is more tools to increase this schism.

But there is another side to this too. The real world is real. It is not something we create from ground zero, it is not something we control. Its purpose is not to entertain us. It is beyond us, bigger than us, at times downright oblivious to us. "Life" in a virtual world of synthetic experiences taylored purely around our own particular fantasies is not in fact any sort of life at all, second or otherwise. It's just a glorified video game.


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