Ever hear of Second Life? Second Life is an online virtual world whose only limitation is your imagination. (I think I got that from their website.) It looks similar to many online games, but it’s hard to really call it a game since there is no competition and no common goal. It’s more like an online community populated by a million people a month represented by 3-D animated characters called avatars. Linden Lab, the company that developed Second Life, refers to players as residents.
What Is It?
Its name, Second Life, explains what it is very well. Where you are and what you are doing right now is your First Life. For most people that’s all you get. However, with this “game” you get a “Second Life.” Your Second Life can be anything you imagine. You can be or do almost anything. There are virtually no limitations. You can own large parcels of virtual land, build houses and buildings that defy the laws of physics, you can own a mansion, a fleet of cars, airplanes, yachts. You can live in a cave underground or in a castle in the sky. You can get somewhere by walking, running, flying or teleporting. You can adapt your avatar to new shapes, skin tones, hair, or eyes. You can make yourself look like a celebrity, or you don’t have to be a human at all. If you’d prefer, you can be a tiny bunny rabbit, a dog that stands tall and walks alongside human avatars, or you can be nothing more than a ball of light.
If you are creative, and have time, you can make everything I listed above, or you can do what most people do and buy them. Second Life is so different from your first life that it even has its own currency called Lindens. There are different ways to get Lindens. You can purchase some with your own real world currency, you can work a job in second Life, or you can create objects worth selling. Many have bought large parcels of virtual land, cut each large parcel into smaller parcels and created the virtual equivalent of housing developments. German citizen, Ailin Graef, has earned millions of real dollars this way. Millions of dollars selling land that does not exist and can vanish with the flick of a switch.
Second Life offers the best and the worst of what our world has to offer. You can go snow skiing, skydiving, attend church, participate in group meditation, go to support groups, and visit with a psychologist or an attorney. You can attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, test drive a BMW, and test out outfits created by major designers.
In addition to the list of things above, you can also choose to go to the darker side. You can participate in all natures of kinky sex, go to war, run real estate scams and even hire prostitutes. Yes, you read correctly, people have their online virtual avatar have sex with virtual whores and literally pay for it. There’s even what is referred to as Furry Sex. Furries are animal avatars that have human qualities (such as walking on two feet) and there is a particular subset of the population that is aroused by watching furries having sex. Btw, Second Life residents do not come with genitals, however, fully functional penis’ and vaginas are available for purchase.
Sexually, nearly anything you can imagine is tolerated except for child pornography. That’s the biggest NO in Second Life. Real pictures of children in sex acts or done virtually via childlike avatars will be dealt with swiftly if caught.
I realize this article may sound like a commercial for Second Life, but that is not my intent. I’m conflicted regarding it actually. It has a tremendous amount of negatives and positives. The biggest negative is that it is addicting. It’s easy to log in for a few minutes and the next thing you know it’s 3 am. I’ve seen parents log in immediately after getting home from work, continue to stay on Second Life throughout the night, and then send a message that they have to tuck their children into bed and they’ll be right back. I know a woman who fell “in love” with another man on Second Life and choose to leave her husband and children behind to be with her lover sight unseen. I’ve also seen people become so obsessed with virtual wealth that they regularly spend far more money than they can afford.
Despite a long list of negatives, there are some very strong positive aspects to Second Life. So positive, in fact, that it changed my life. Tomorrow’s article will tell you how.