A few years ago someone asked me to write an article to help people new to Second Life deal with emotional attachments and the deep feelings which can occur in the virtual world. An unusual request at the time but, I thought, maybe Dr. Shauna should give an opinion.
Here’s what I think. I believe this dilemma is mainly caused by how a person views Second Life. They enter our world thinking it’s a game, and while there are games within the world such as zyngo, shooting zombies, riding bulls or roleplaying, SL is actually like the internet not a game. The internet itself is not a game, but it has games. Second Life is not a game either, but it has them.
Avatars are digital vehicles for the mind, and if one understands that SL is a place of communication, a high tech means of interacting with other human beings, it should not be shocking to find we can have emotions there. If, on the other hand, we think of SL as a game you’d find on Playstation, we might wonder about our own sanity if we start to feel something.