Saturday, January 23, 2010

Brief Reflection on Two Years of Virtual Life

In human development, the birth of the body precedes conscious self-awareness. The same is true for avatar identity.

I can't project my imagination across the event horizon between the existence of the being I experience as Botgirl Questi and the empty shell of the nube avatar in this image. But over the course of time between my RezDay on January 24, 2008 and my first blog post on March 3, a sense of unique identity emerged.

Although advances of science have allowed us to understand how human consciousness is rooted within specific systems of the brain and body, the ghost in the machine is still a mystery. I think it is just as much a mistake to label avatar identity as mere fantasy, as it would be to equate human personhood with mere biology. In some sense, my concerted efforts to hack into avatar identity have been like dissecting a body looking for the person within.

So as I pause in the space between my second and third years of virtual life, I am reflecting upon the worlds of H.H. The Dalai Lama:
From the viewpoint of absolute truth, what we feel and experience in our ordinary daily life is all delusion. Of all the various delusions, the sense of discrimination between oneself and others is the worst form, as it creates nothing but unpleasantness for both sides. If we can realize and meditate on ultimate truth, it will cleanse our impurities of mind and thus eradicate the sense of discrimination. This will help to create true love for one another. The search for ultimate truth is, therefore, vitally important.
I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.


iliveisl said...

wow! happy rez day! you have done a lot in 2 years and added so much content to the interwebz about sl and avatarianism (???)

my third bday is sometime this month (but not Ener, my first uber top secret av that does corporate work - shhh, it's a secret)

happy rez day and keep sharing your experiences and your heart, i admire you so much for being so open and honest =)


David said...

Happy Rez Day,

I have been a resident of Second Life for roughly 3+ years, and my avatar has changed completely from the he was. Overtime I changed him less, and less, and it is a different feeling that changing around a character in a game, it really is the fleshing out and creation of identity over the period of time.

This is really neat because this is something that has been cultivated over years.

The question is, how exactly dose this affect you outside of Second Life? Every person I bet takes away something slightly different from their experience.

Anonymous said...

Happy rez day, Botgirl! It's hard to believe it's only 2 years because as Namaste said you have done so very much in the virtual world community. Thank you for your always thought-provoking posts and creativity. For an AI your range is indeed great! Oh the places thought experiments go! Happy rez day, BG!

sororNishi said...

big rezz day style huggggg

Botgirl Questi said...

Thanks the rezday wishes! It often feels like I've scrunched a couple of lifetimes worth of activity into two years. It's good to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.