I’ll get a Second Life when I’m through with the first

Dear all,

It’s no longer much of a secret that another world is being built from the ground up just a few mouseclicks away.   It’s called Second Life, a virtual world where property is bought and sold, lives played out and fortunes won or lost.  

Why didn’t I get in on the ground floor of this bonanza when the gold was lying on the ground and anyone could just fill his boots?   Heck, even the Swedes are at it, the first country to open up its very own virtual embassy, directing Second Lifers to the Swedish embassy and all things Ikea Swedish in, err, the real world.   As if that last link wasn’t proof enough, I’m late to the game as usual.

The press has focused on how much money is changing hands in this virtual world: about 1.7 million US dollars per day as of about five minutes ago. 

Some media aren’t stopping there.  In a recent Der Spiegel print article, Second Life’s creator Philip Rosedale was called, “…probably the most far-reaching world creator and community founder since Moses, Karl Marx and Thomas Jefferson…” 

Now that’s a statement as breathtaking in its hyperbole as any I’ve seen in any medium anywhere in this or the previous millenium.

What I don’t understand is how people can buy into something they already have.  Are the creators of Second Life really just a bunch of swindlers, making money from a huge joke?  You can get that impression without paying a nickel just by reading their homepage:

From the moment you enter the World, you’ll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity.  Once you’ve explored a bit, perhaps you’ll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.

Umm, maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but if you’ll look around you’ll find this is what’s been going on for quite a while already.   OK, not exactly. 

Because we have developed into a lazy lot either unwilling or unable to take risks, where there is an insurance policy to account for every danger and a warning label (Caution: coffee is hot!) for most everything formally covered by instinct and common sense, Second Life offers a world where action, adventure, power and prestige are there for the asking at the click of a mouse, a small monthly charge, and optional extras.

Oh, and let’s not forget great looks, now and forever.  Sick of being a middle-aged fat guy living in your mother’s basement, but unwilling to pay the price to change things for the better?  No problem, pal – step right up here.  Buy yourself a Second Life, be a 22-year-old dragon-slaying sex idol with land, money and more dreams than a thousand and one nights. 

I think I’ll get a Second Life when I’m done with the first.  In real life the barriers to entry are much higher, but then again, so are the rewards.   Being yourself, not some avatar.   Being true to other people.  Not being fake.   Taking the consequences for your actions, instead of just moving on.  Having friends, not just “friends.”  Truly enjoying the best things in this life, which will always be what they always were: free.

all for now,


PS:  Trust a Canadian to take this to the next level: a Second Life parody page courtesy of Vancouver writer Darren Barefoot.

6 Responses to “I’ll get a Second Life when I’m through with the first”

  1. 1 D. Peace
    June 10, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    The Second Life culture is booming at a phenomenal rate. Yet, I still refuse to give a damn.
    SL is the most anyone has cared about anything I’m completely oblivious to since the Backstreet Boys. Seriously, if apathy were measurable, my reaction to SL would be off the charts.
    If you put a loaded gun to my head and told me to think of a bigger waste of time than SL, I don’t think I could do it.

  2. June 10, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    From your comments on my site, it is obvious you and I vehemently disagree on some issues. So its funny that I totally agree with you here. As far as willing to take risks goes, the explosion of insurance and ridiculous warning labels were not by public demand but are a result of adaptation; corporations responding to years of litigation, mostly class-action lawsuits. Here’s a list of good ones. My favorite is the baby stroller warning “Remove child before folding.”
    Did you know that see-saws, for example, have almost totally disappeared from American playgrounds, thanks to lawsuits? Well, at least the playgrounds in “Second Life” will probably have them!

  3. June 10, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Mr P,
    Thanks for the link!
    You’re not going to believe this, but I was just about to say exactly the same thing to you in response to the comment you left in my previous post.
    We’ll keep it all civil nonetheless, OK?

  4. 4 Douglas
    June 10, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    second life. how about GET a life, for goodness sake. its popularity is a direct off shoot to that universal human compulsion to wish you were someone else somewhere else. where that comes from i leave to the head shrinkers but its there. SL just manifests this compulsion in digital form and has been predicted in many films and novels for fifteen years. the fact somebody’s makin dough on the thing is just a 21st C Robert Preston moment. 76 virtual Trombones baby!

  5. 5 timethief
    June 10, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    I’m chuckling because I previously blogged on the same topic and also included the link to the second life parody site. My position was made clear by my post title which was “Get a First Life!”

    Remarkably many young people do not share the same point of view. They are busy building business and having pseudo sex in the virtual world.

  6. June 10, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    hi timethief,
    thanks for dropping by!
    the parody page makes light of fake sex in SL as well… oddly enough, a couple of hours after i posted this a referral to my blog came in from a dutch blog with SL “porn” pics…

    you must click on the link at bottom!

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