Digital Utopianism was the leading-edge philosophy in Second Life when I arrived in January of 2008. I think the movement's peak came in June of that same year when a two day Future of Religion Conference was held in the Extropia Sim:
The Future of Religions/Religions of the Future is a two-day conference examining how two of the 21st Century's driving forces, religion and technology, will continue to re-shape each other and, in the process, re-cast our understanding of "humanity" in the Third Millennium.For a brief shining moment, many of us felt that virtual worlds were going to take humanity into a new and better place based upon the social equality of pseudonymous avatar identity and the freedom to transcend the limitations of physics. Some were even tipping the balance and making their virtual identities primary in terms of time, attention, relationships and vocations. Two and a half years later that movement is virtually gone with many of its chief proponents disappeared from the face of the virtual world.
In retrospect, I think that the failure of the movement to create a sustainable means for independent avatar existence was not due to faulty vision, but because it saw too far into the possible future. Perhaps someday technology will be able to provide the all-encompassing vehicle required to transport us into the better future envisioned by avatars like Sophrosyne Stenvaag. Or maybe not. In any case, I was waxing a bit nostalgic and thought I'd share my thoughts.