Recently a good friend of mine sent me of a photo album as an early Christmas present. A photo album full of pictures taken in a digital world. I will treasure these just as much as any of the real life pictures I currently have of people I’ve actually met. Since the photo album is actually only half full (due to the fact that the person making it for me ran out of ink while doing so)there is actually space for me to put in pictures of my own, which I fully intend to do. Likely this will not be the only photo album of the kind that I eventually have. So it is the question: if you become emotionally attached to people who live very far away but who you’ve never seen(with the possible exception of a still photograph or two) does that make the emotional attachment any less? Should it?
If these people have listened to your trouble even though it may be one or two in the morning where they’re at without complaint and with nothing but compassion, if they’ve made you laugh to you fell down, if they’ve listened to you cry, scream, and almost curse in a completely different language, stayed up with you till 3 a.m. in the morning when they have to go to work early because you are sick, does that make them any different or less important than the friends you have that just happened to be geographically closer to you?
People have said that virtual reality worlds are just games and while virtual reality does allow you to do and be things that you may not have ever considered and to some extent can allow you to escape from the cares of the day to day world I have discovered that through my own experiences that they can strip you of your defenses just as easily as it can provide you with them. As strange as this may sound to some, since entering the virtual reality universe I’ve had to face some truths about myself because of things which transpired there which I otherwise may not have realized for a very long time if at all.
I have learned that while you can build walls and shields to keep the world at bayit is far scarier to dismantle them and let people in and let them get to know the person you are at the center of your being , the person that most of the world never sees and that you may only be peripherally aware of your self to begin with. It’s scary as hell and I never expected it to happen to me in a million year but I find that it has for good or ill I’m not sure of yet.
“Virtual reality game” is a misnomer I believe. Better to say “alternates universe” because if you participate for very long in some wa it ceases to be a game, the people and places involved become a part of you whether you wish them to or not. Though I haven’t been asked for it yet if a friend told me that they were considering joining a virtual community this would be my advice to them: get ready to find out things about yourself you never knew because I guarantee you you will.