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Posts Tagged ‘Reflexions’

Roles and Masks

Yeaps, I know. The not-so-serious-phase was just but a short break. Sorry about that, I promise I will keep publishing happy pictures, don’t worry. The thing is, I cannot stop my grey cells from running on their own and this usually results in some thoughts that I need to “put on paper”. Thirty years ago, I woud write them on a diary, these days I write them on my laptop and click on a button so the whole world can read them.

After such a preamble, let’s get to the point. In our lives, we all have diferent roles to play – and yes, I know this is nothing new. Those different roles lead us to act differently during the day, according to the situation and the context we find ourselves in – which is in itself just common sense.

However.

Some people are so afraid of rejection or depend so much on someones elses’ approval that they go beyond what we would call “playing the role as best as you can”. In fact, they push it to the limit, put on masks and start behaving in each situation in the way they know they will fulfill others’ expectations. This borns obviously out of maturity or insecurity and lead them to become the “perfect employee”, the “ideal boyfriend”, the “best of friends”, the “dream son”. In turn, they give up being themselves, even without realising it, and begin to be someone else, little by little, loosing their own identity and becoming just a reflex of other people’s needs and wishes.

In the process, they don’t even understhand that they actually are lying and pretending before each and every person they meet. Until a point where, for some circumstance, they are forced to drop the mask or simply are not strong enough to carry it further.

I make no judgements, or at least I try not to. I still believe that each and everyone has the right to live his/her own life as he/she thinks it better. However, just in case you recognised yourself in the description above, let me just allert you for two simple facts:
– you will never be happy inside, only frustrated, needed and insecure most of the time
– you will hurt a lot of people. In fact, I would go totally radical in here and say that sooner or later you will tend to hurt everyone around you.

Just because you are human, and what you are asking from yourself is just way too much for your body mand mind t bear with it always and forever.

This said, I would suggest that you have a deep and sincere look inside of yourself (which will not always be the most pleasant of sights, I know that though my own experience) and try to go back to your own personality. Yes, you will cease to please everybody, you will disappoint one or another that are close and this will deffinitely bring you out of your comfort zone.

But at the end of the day, you’ll be able to find answers inside of you other that “I don’t know”. You will see how complete you are, fullfilled and ready to face live according to your own feelings and believings. And at the end of the day, those who really love you will still be around, available to take you exactly as you are and to love the real person in you.

Masks - a temporary installation @ Never Never

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At the very beginning of mankind, people were only able to communicate with those who were near – using gestures, facial expressions, body talk, etc. Eventually, words started to appear (don’t ask me, I know nothing about that, though I’m quite curious about how they felt that those first means of communication were not enough).

Words allowed people to communicate more easily, and as they travelled to settle in new lands, they brought along stories who passed from generation to generation.

However, a really looong time had to go through until someone started representing word sounds with drawings which were carved in wood, leaves of plants, etc – writing enters the stage.

This is where I want to get to… being able to write, made it easier to communicate with people who were not that physically nearby. Across times, all sorts of writing messages were carried to and from by messengers and then someone actually had a brilliant idea and launched the post service. A huge step ahead to the 20th century, and who never heard about the love letters between soldiers in the world wars and their families back home? More than that, it’s not only in the movies that people cross oceans barely knowing each other – our great great parents were doing that in their real lives all the time. Going a bit even further, who never had a pen pal ? People we never met and who however told us all about their lives… and vice-versa. Well, I had lots of them, lol.

Next step: the internet came along. And suddenly, with just a few clicks, you were able to actually send messages that would be replied after a short while. Along with that came a all bunch of communication means like chat rooms et all, which live connected people inhabiting opposite sides of the world, often none of them using their mother tongue to communicate – and yes, this easily leads to all sorts of misunderstandings, as stated by Looker and I couldn’t agree more. Typing and writing can be very tricky, even when both people speak the same language, so just imagine what can happen when they don’t.

Of course, web cams followed close and helped people to actually speak to and see each other, no matter how far they were in this planet called Earth. That was no doubt a major step, being able to look at another person who stood behind this other screen, somewhere in the world, being immediately aware of the effect that exchanged words had on the other one, realising instantly whenever you had not be able to express correctly what you meant.

This is, basically, the world we live in today. A world where you network and start relationships with all kind of people all across the world through several ways, from social networks, to virtual words, to skyping and gtalking, etc. At a point that the world becomes this small village where you keep meeting the same persons over and over again in different spots, who on their turn are also connected to people you already met in some any other place.

There… now I can go back to my first sentence in this post. I have been all over the net during these past 13 years or something (and yes, I was not an early starter, lol) and have tried most, if not all, those different types of communicating with the world.

But you know what ? Nothing really compares to having the real person in front of you. For as much as you can say that you know someone really well, and almost guess her/his souls and thoughts quite easily – well, in my opinion that only really happens when you actually face with them, in all 3D, able to use all your senses to realise what is really being communicating.

And I am not at all giving less value to virtual/net communication. If it wasn’t for that, I would had never crossed paths with people that came to have a major role in my life. I am just saying that if and when you have the chance of doing it, go and meet the person you chat with or type with. Bring the person near as our ancestors did and meet them in flesh and blood. I cannot assure you that you will always be pleasantly surprised… but definitely, nothing beats the most basic and primary means of communication.

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My contact list in-world has remained almost unchanged for many months now, except for one or another contact that ends there because I have first met the person elsewhere (oh well, sometimes I meet someone in sites like Flickr, Avatars United or Facebook and THEN we add each other in-world, instead of the other way round which is probably the most common thing to do).

This means that most of my contacts are now eldest people in Second Life. People who were born before me, or at least until the end of 2008… I really didn’t make any accountancy, but I doubt I have someone in my list who was born since the beginning of 2009.

It really didn’t surprised me to watch my remaining friends logging in less and less frequently. I guess that life goes on and people find other interests to explore. Suddenly, Second Life is no longer a novelty, no longer a place where they are able to fulfil whatever it was that first drew them in there.

Mmmm… doesn’t that make you think? You see, in First Life, apart from the need to satisfy your basic needs (food, housing, clothing) you really don’t have a pre-determined goal. There are no “levels” to reach in First Life – or are there? You don’t really need to get anywhere before your neighbour – or do you? *sticks tongue

Well, in Second Life, it looks like everybody comes to a point where they simply demotivate. People go through a bunch of experiences, they meet loads of people, they do things that they would have never dreamt of doing in their First Lives… and then it seems that the mojo is over. That there isn’t anything else left for them there. Most people state that they remain in-world because of their friends. But what if you find better means to get in touch with them ? We all know Second Life is not widely known for its ability in congregating a mid-sized group all together in the same place doing the same thing for more than just a few hours…. they would all start crashing sooner or later, LOL.

Ahem… not too sure whether I am getting to the point. I mean, if First Life is so often demotivating, what makes you go on? How do you find reasons to live day after day? Then, on the other hand, you are offered (for FREE) a whole universe where you can do everything that you want – and you quit because it was no longer interesting? Now, now, what was really the problem there… Is the absence of guidelines/objectives/levels to reach too frightening? Does that leave you at a loss? Aren’t you able to find in-world something else that interests you? I don’t know, isn’t there a project anywhere in your soul that remains to be accomplished?

I understand that the easiest step is to withdraw and look for something else to do with your spare time. But I also know you will not find any other thing as unlimited as Second Life. (Let’s face it, whenever you quit SL, where do you go? What do you do during your online time?)

And more than that… when First Life seems not to be able to offer you something of interest – would you quit it as well, that easily ?

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One of my recent posts had a really nice comment where Peter Stindberg summed up his conceipt of Second Life. Today, a friend asked in Facebook whether people would still be around if all the games disappeared from that platform. In both cases, opinions highlighted the fact that these were mostly a mean for people to meet other people and keep in touch with each other.

Well, to start with, I might just agree with all of them. No doubt, my first years in Second Life were of discovery of others. Other people, coming from other countries, with different experiences and skills. It was a ride, indeed. A vertiginous one, no doubt.

Then, I had some unfortunate experiences with groups – some experts on human behaviour call them tribes. That was most disappointing and even disturbing. As time went by, I noticed that I had developped a standard behaviour of leaving any community where I felt I was slipping in. I fell apart from any groups of my own nationality, then I droped from Plurk and recently I have been quieter and quieter in Facebook.

Not to mention Second Life. Where I found myself choosing isolation more and more often. I gave up attending any of the said “social events”, well, except for concerts – there, I feel totally anonymous and I do not have to speak to anyone if I do not feel like it.

I still enjoy a good one-to-one chit chat or deep conversations with a few people with whom I remain connected. But for the most part ? Well, I admit that I prevented a lot of people from even noticing if I am online or not. In fact, one of the things I really don’t like in Second Life is that someone who IMs you immediately finds out whether you are online or not. And then, the only option is replying back, or the interlocutor may think you are rude – and those who knock on my door these days, all of them are people I really respect, trust, and whose friendship is important to me. But at times, I really wish there was a way I could get back to them on a later moment, as in Flickr, or even Facebook. In these, we are able to show ourselves up whenever we feel like it… if not, we can simply loggin and out without a trace.

Now, you may think this serioulsy spoils my Second Life experience. Well, it honestly does not. Quite the contrary, I believe. I am able to do all the things I enjoy. I attend all the exhibitions I have an interest for… just not only during the premiere. I visit all the sims I am curious about… just not only when there’s any major event going on. I communicate with everyone that matters to me… just not only during parties, contests or any other sort of gathering that implies more than 3 people together at the same time on the same place.

I am well aware that for most of you out there join any of the so called social networks (and let’s face it, this is how Second Life is perceived my the majority) as a mean to stay in touch. I often wonder why the heck do I keep joining so many platforms where people are expected to participate actively, if I already know that I will only post and read what interests me… I do not intend to have loads of contacts, I do not aim at being popular or even accepted. All I want… well, I guess that’s still what I wanted at the beginning of this journey, only I did not know how to do it. I want to understand the human behaviour and the reasons that make people act the way they do. I wish to challenge myself and shoot the best pictures that I can or set-up the most beautiful landscapes my skills allow me to. I enjoy jumping from SL to FB to Flickr and AU in order to appreciate the different initiatives and work. I have a great pleasure in commenting anything that draws my attention and to share with others the works of art that unveil before my eyes. However, it is important that I am able to do that on my own timing, according to my own convenience… and humour. Why? Because I learn faster and deeper if I am not involved in group activities. I am more objective and I am less able to jump into fast conclusions if I am not a member of the crew. My balance is better kept if I keep my independent path.

To a point that whenever I come across a stranger I tend to fly away really fast, just to avoid that person to feel tempted to speak to me. Simply because, most of the time, I really don’t feel the need to speak to nobody. Now, do you want to know the most curious thing? There are others like me around there!

So now you know. If you spot me, and the next minute I am not there, if you invite me over to your event and I do not attend, well… it is only because me and groups is not a pleasant combination. It does not mean, however, that I am not paying attention or that I am absent. For I am neither. I am just… following the path I chose for myself, alone in the metaverse.

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Last week, during my working travel to Brussels with a colleague, I found myself trying to explain him what was Second Life all about. Last time I had done that, I remember babbling something about “leasure time”, “entertainment” and “having fun”. Time went by, though and last year I began watching Second Life with different eyes. And these days, the more I explore and discover, the more I think that SL is a privileged platform for artists.

I know Linden Lab strives that SL becomes a corporate-oriented platform and does their best to develop the metaverse in order to fulfill the virtual needs of First Life Business. However, I don’t really think that is how residents are taking it. In fact, I look at some sims and I cannot help thinking that the in-world allows us all… to play God himself.

Then, I bump into places like Immersiva and my hearts misses a throbe. For true. Because in places like this it is impossible not to feel that here is where you find the ultimate expression of the art. Does anyone doubt that a sim may include all possible ways of expression? It can put together the traditional arts with new multimedia techniques, which ultimately opens up infinite possibilities as far as creation is concerned.

Oh, most of the time one may not even be able to aprehend what the artist tried to communicate. Other times we may disagree with the main message of the site. One thing for sure, it is quite impossible to remain indifferent. More than that, looking at art in-world inevitably changes the way we look at and interpret art in general. Have you been to an exhibition lately ? Didn’t you suddenly felt that just maybe the artist could have expressed him/herself more completely should he/she be able to build a gallery more suitable to their work? If only he/she had been able to draw the sky above and the soil below your feet, together with every piece that is in place ? Ah yes, an amazing painting will always delight our soul and an expressive sculpture will always speak with our heart… but don’t you just feel that pieces of art need to be included in an environment that is able to optimize their message and that help us, mere voyeurs, understand their meaning?

You may find places like Immersiva arid and naked, empty of emotion. But at the same time, have you noticed that the place is filled with life ? Yes, maybe a different kind of life, but surely Miss Bryn Oh’s vision of it! From a personal point of view, I tend to connect more easily to nature-landscaped sims. BUT.

It’s a challenge beyond words to try to understand a mind so diverse and so rich that conceives such a unique universe. Thanks to Second Life, that is no longer a role only for immaterial beings that we worship – it is something at the grasp of our own hands… only thing we have to do is to stop thinking in terms of what we know, let our mind wander… and dare exposing before others’ eyes the visions of our souls.

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