Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

While reading the comments on a friend’s blog post about Freebies, I came across the standard comment (and from a Second Life resident no less), which goes along the lines of “it’s all just play clothes on virtual dolls, why do you all give a crap?”. I was going to reply to it but realised what I had to say had wider application and goes to the heart of trying to understand why people bother with a virtual world at all. So it’s getting its very own blog post over here instead 🙂 .

The first thing to realise is that that style of argument can apply to every single element of Second Life, “it’s just pixel pieces, why do you care that this sim is being destroyed..” “it’s just fake water, why does a view of it matter”, “it’s just toy bodies, why do you care who they have virtual sex with”, etc. So as Second Life residents we should always be suspect of this argument from anyone else who is a resident too – surely we know better than that by now. We might find it easier to defend why we value whichever part of Second Life we take part in, but struggle to appreciate someone else’s interest in something like Second Life fashion.

It doesn’t take a lot of reflection to put together the arguments though – the way we dress our avatars expresses our own style; some people write poems, some sing songs, some do pictures, others dress up. They are just all ways to say “this is me, this is what I am, this is how I feel”. Then there’s all the arguments about the fact that people make real money from virtual clothes, and spend real money on virtual clothes, there is livelihood at stake here and that is always going to be important to the people involved in it. Throw in the points about the art-form itself of creating virtual clothes – the precision and expertise involved – and all up it’s really not that hard to understand why some people care so damn much about it.

However, you don’t have to go through those sorts of in-depth or reasoned arguments if you don’t want to – because this whole discussion just emulates the exact same arguments we throw at each other in real life about real life activities. For example, I have no idea why so many of the men I know spend money and time following and caring about sports. I’ve heard their arguments and none have convinced me I should suddenly take an interest in it myself. You can push the examples to the edge of reason as well and try to appreciate the money and time people like MTG players put into a small pieces of cardboard that the rest of us would just throw out as rubbish, or stamps, or whatever – the examples are unlimited. All that matters though is that they do value those things – whether they can make you value them too or not is going to be irrelevant to their own desire and possible obsession over them.

To the same extent it becomes pointless to constantly ridicule people about the things they value – in any world. We all take joy from different things, it’s part of the beauty of the diversity of humanity, why would anyone want to destroy that, and make us all like the same things? What an incredibly boring world that would be.

There is a line to be drawn of course: If someone is spending time or money on something to an extent that they are endangering their own or their family’s lives, then we say enough is enough. But we call that an obsession, or an addiction, and we generally understand that just about any imaginable (legal) activity becomes dangerous at those extremes. However most people don’t live at the extremes of addiction and obsession, and the chances of you being able to figure out if they do or not from some brief blog comments they make, seems very low. So even with this line of concern there is little ground to dismiss what someone else values as “stupid” or “unreasonable”.

What is considered “valuable” changes from individual to individual. And even when two individuals value something equally, the reasons for them ascribing it that value are likely to vastly differ – whether those reasons are monetary gain from on-selling the item later, emotional ties, rarity, beauty, or historical connections. Some people will mount arguments for “objective value” – but that’s usually at the fringes of philosophical debate, where we try to make the argument that everyone should value life, or happiness or other things which are rarely on the market anyway. The ways in which we achieve happiness or our versions of the good life are reflected in the rest of the items and activities we try to surround ourselves with; trying to tell someone they are “wrong” for valuing stamps or sports or pixels when in fact they help that person achieve one of these higher goals (of lets say, happiness), is to miss the point entirely.

Within certain communites we can have meaningful discussions about value. For example in the Second Life fashion community there can be meaningful discussions about the value of a well-made dress with fantastic unique textures. But if you don’t value Second Life fashion at all, trying to jump into that discussion and tell them they’re all morons for thinking it matters who designed a dress or the details of the texture, is a waste of your time and a waste of theirs; go get involved with discussions about things you do actually care about, instead of focusing so much effort on bringing down what makes other people happy.

There are a lot of thoughts I’m trying to get out here, that require more space than a single post rightly allows. But the point is an important one: Why we value Second Life at all – why we value what we do there, why one person values clothes and the other values snail races – is as much a discussion as to why one person values collectible playing cards and another spends their time drooling over Ferraris. Just accept that what makes you happy might not make your neighbour happy, but that as long as you’re not addicted or obsessed to the point of destroying lives, just live and let live. You’re not going to convince me to stop valuing everything Joss Whedon creates, and I’m not going to convince you that following sport is pointless (even though it is :p ).

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I’m at Crown and Pearl right now, just watching love, and it’s making me so calm and happy.

Two people I barely know are slow dancing in a room where it’s only me and them. I’m perched on the DJ box looking down over the place I adore, and no one’s speaking. And I feel no need to speak. I don’t feel like I’m intruding, and they don’t seem to mind. I have the oddest desire to protect their moment, to eject anyone who enters so they won’t disturb their lovely time together while they dance amidst particles. (Don’t worry Prad and Bailey, I won’t eject anyone :p).

I love love, I love seeing people in love, and have always had the desire to match-make so I can see people in bliss together. I love romantic books and movies and cry at them without shame. Even when there’s no love in my life I still get a high from seeing other people experiencing it.

I don’t go in for big fancy romantic gestures and don’t enjoy watching them either, what matters is those little things: The look in the eye, the comfortable silences, the squeeze of the hand, the fluttering in the tummy and the heart.

So for me Valentine’s day is just about spending the day with the one you love, that’s what matters. No gifts, just them and me. This Valentine’s day my husband can’t be with me so I’m missing that, but at least I can go into a virtual world and see love and in that small way still feel happy and content. I hope you all find something wonderful for you today too, even if like me you have to make do for now with enjoying watching love ❤

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I don’t shop much in SL, for quite a few reasons. Some of the more essential reasons being that I don’t have a steady amount of money coming in and I get tired of waiting for everything to rez. Well today, today, I shopped, like I’ve never shopped before. And it felt good. No, not just good, addictive. Kid-in-a-candy-store addictive. What made today so special? Well for starters my connection was perfect, and my new computer can handle pretty much whatever I throw at it. This makes us very happy, yes it does. Makes us talk like Yoda it does, mmmm. (Blame that slip into geekdom on Johan, I refuse to take responsibility for it.)

But what about the money issue? Well a couple of days back some helpful wee chick called Ryker Beck was cleaning out her inventory of gift cards. No really. And admittedly I had to win most of what she gave me while playing trivia against Bailey, Prad and Rrish, but the ones I wanted the most were the ones she gave me before that even started. Dutch Touch. One of my all-time favourite SL stores. I’m sure as I go around spending the rest of the cards I will find more favourite stores, but before all others I had to go there first.

Now then, usual Landsend shopping mode is as follows: Walk into store, find outfit that appeals, keep walking until find a second outfit I like, choose which one I like best, stand there mumbling to myself for a bit, then buy one, try it on, be disappointed at what it really looks like, then leave. Thrilling? Hardly. See why I don’t do it much? Part of the reason it goes down like that is because I know if I keep looking I’ll just see more stuff I want and drive myself nuts with being unable to choose the one outfit I can afford.

Well today, armed with gift cards full to the brim, I just bought the outfit I wanted. That’s right, and then I bought another. Mhm. And then I bought some shorts, another outfit, and 2 bikinis. Around about now is when I go into mad scientist mode and chuckle with glee while rubbing my hands together. But that would be geeky, so I’ll stop that now.

It. Was. Heaven. I suddenly had lots of outfits and realised I could change clothes each day for the next little while and still look new, yeah, I know right, how awesome is that! And each new outfit I tried on after having bought (all of which immediately appeared in my inventory), was wow. Like, wow wow. With maybe an extra bit of wow on the side. And immediately I wanted to go tattoo shopping and shoe shopping and hair shopping to match my new clothes! And you know what? I think I will. That’s right, I’m going to give into the madness, the newness, and around about now, if you’ve never been in SL, you’ll think I’m nuts. Why am I so excited about pixels on a pixel-me? Hmm, good question, and one I’ve been working at answering blog post by blog post. But you know what really matters here, is that I was happy, no, am happy. For whatever nutsy reason, it made me happy and that’s fine by me.

Oh, and did I mention we love Ryker? Cause we do. She rocks.

P.S. We love Ryker

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