Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”
John Lennon, (Beautiful boy, darling boy)
It’s taken me much, much longer than I’d like to push out this follow-up post about the nature of commitments in Second Life (see the post introducing the topic here if you have no idea what I’m talking about). I like to get my summaries out at least the same week in which the conversation took place (last Wednesday, 21st). Keeps it fresh, and indeed more doable.
But I didn’t.
Why? Again, I’m walking the tight rope called commitments. Fulfilling them. Recovering between living up to them. Worrying about breaking them. Worrying about having them broken. Negotiating the new ones, renegotiating the old ones. Letting other ones go. Just teetering along.
So, I won’t be quoting the many revealing comments made at the salon last week. I have read the entire conversation (all 3 hours plus of it!) several times, and tried in many ways, to uncover the underlying themes – mainly unsuccessfully.
I’ve responded to the comments left on my earlier post on this subject, and I find that in my responses are revealed my main take aways from thinking so much about commitments lately.
What I’ve learned most from this conversation about commitments, is that everyone – that wants to talk about it at least – values commitment in Second Life as much as they might in Real Life. Given all the difficulties, given all the inherent pitfalls of a virtual world, we still – in the main – strongly believe that commitment is a good thing, and become distressed when others don’t feel the same way.
Commitments, to everyone present at the salon at least, are very, very important, and often equally important as the ones we make in RL. And the alternative would be a scary world indeed.
Yet, why do I remain unconvinced?
Perhaps it’s because everyone – EVERYONE – who had been in Second Life for at least a few months could relate a story where someone had let them down – often lightly, sometimes massively.
So, where were all these flakey people?? Did they commit to come to the salon, only to flake out at the last-minute? Did they just not want to be part of the conversation out of some deep-seated guilt? Or are the sometimes flakey people actually us – at our worst? Do we all, despite out very best intentions, have a secret flakey side? And do our flakey sides only emerge when the mood in which we made our commitments has long since changed?
If not… who is breaking these commitments we all say we value so much?
Another important theme arising was that sometimes the repercussions of changing pressures and demands, and indeed commitments, in our Real Life can have surprisingly disproportionate effects on our Second Life.
It actually doesn’t take much of a change in Real Life, to have a massive impact on our Second Life; that, to external eyes at least, might seem overly dramatic, so much so that it hardly makes sense to anyone what we might do as a result.
Of course, no one lives in our shoes. They might possibly imagine what is going on in our heads and hearts in both worlds, but they will never really know what indeed can be the Real Life straw that breaks the Second Life camel’s back, sending us toppling down from the tight rope we walk every day.