Bizarre. Trying to grasp the concept of Philip Rosedale’s Second Life is quite akin to grappling with the mind-boggling concept of life in Alduous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World. The success of Second Life – attracting approximately 10,000 new members daily – seems to prove Huxley’s point of artificial happiness. As the windows provided by technology seem to be opening – are we losing a sense of true human individuality as people attempt to gain a newer more individualistic existence online? Is the internet serving more to numb our pains in this “first life” than it is to benefit humanity? With use comes abuse – and I must wonder if Second Life is a pure abuse of the internet, putting all apparent “advancements” aside. Regardless of its aims to provide “meaningful connections” among people, Second Life seems, rather, to cause people to neglect the true human relations they would have had at the outset. People are quitting their day jobs to commit themselves to some online ‘marketplace’ where they can gain a “foreign” currency – Linden dollars – through sales of artificial real estate and other means – that they then can exchange into US dollars.
While I must concede to innumerable differences in the workings of the worlds of Rosedale and Huxley, Huxley’s point on human happiness is well made and fairly applicable. While Huxley’s “drones” seem to float around in a slight, self-indulgent state of oblivion, they lack the true, deep joy and profound experiences that often result from the trials and the messiness of real life (seen in the Savage). Second Life seems to clearly advocate that one would foresake real life for the sake of another, duller existence cloaked in all the glitz and speed of modern technology (analogous to the scientific achievements prevalent in Brave New World). Bizarre. Very Bizarre.