Virtual and Real World Overlap

Virtual and Real World OverlapStrawberry Singh’s latest blog post, Second Life Addiction, struck a chord. In her post Berry discloses that [e]ven though my mind is preoccupied with work, I still feel the longing to login. The addiction keeps calling me back. I say this is just a hobby to me, which it is, but it also seems to have a hold over me. I think many of us can relate. I know for sure that I can. To me, however, the word addiction implies something negative and I don’t think our being in the virtual world is simply that. We experience at times perhaps components of addiction, like anxiety about not logging in and similar so-called withdrawal symptoms. These can be kept at bay by most of us by simply not logging in for a while, perhaps taking a break. Our challenge being in the virtual world is about finding a balance in terms of time and mental investment that does not interfere with our non-virtual existence. Some people are better at negotiating that balance than others. It is useful to keep in mind that the concept of a virtual world is still relatively new to us. I think of us sort of as pioneers trying to make sense of things here as we go a long. I should point out that I am someone who initially thought of reality and virtuality as separate and I no longer do. I think that the virtual and real worlds overlap as we are thinking/feeling/being in both; they are the same and also not and we are trying to come to terms with this new way of experiencing things. It is not always easy and questions about addiction and also about separating the real and virtual worlds will come up and are part of making sense of the process. Having said all this, clearly, things like working, paying bills, exercising, eating right, spending time with friends and loved ones, devoting time to culture and creativity in the real world must not be neglected. Like with most things in life, being mindful of time and finding a balance are very important. Developing an awareness of the meaning of virtuality is helpful as well.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

4 thoughts on “Virtual and Real World Overlap

  1. Hello Kate, it’s Mi 🙂

    Second Life …

    My first avi is Angie, born in March 2008 and it was a real shock for me (Cathy).
    A shock because it was my first diving in a 3D world.
    For the french people, the landing arrival point was “France Pittoresque” and for sure it was very picturesque with all the frogs talking loudly. The first thing I discovered was flying !!! could you imagine the first fly :). After 15 minutes I was able to fly at the opposite of the landing point … The day later I found Shetlands and I stayed at this place who remembered me my native place, my neighbours was from UK and all homosexuals (the first guy I meet after one hour online was italian and tp me in an orgy room … the colors balls … at that time I had no idea about sex online 🙂

    The interesting thing for me is, I reacted exactly as I am … and found this beautiful seaside at Shetlands,
    Addict … I was really the 2 first years with at least 8 hours of connexion per day and I was supposed to work, to take care of my family and me … I have lost 10 kg in 2 years but SL was my product 🙂
    I am not longer addict, I stayed far from SL months and years, taking breaks but the first time it was really a weaning.

    I could said now, the path we follow is our own path, with more and less control and as we can.
    I found my path and following my path, I found a part of me.
    SL allow us to project us and when wo do that it’s a diving inside ourself.
    The thing the most fabulous for me, I am always fascinated by this strange ability we have to be connected to others through these “virtual worlds”.
    I think it’s because we may have to offset, we can’t touch, we can’t smell .. and the game constrained us a lot because the technological limits.
    The fact is that, I had many human and creative adventures and my real intense loves and my best real friends now are people meet in these “virtual” worlds.

    Virtual worlds allowed me to grow up differently, with more awareness 🙂

    Keep in touch Kate 🙂

    1. Hi, Mi, thank you for visiting and also for your insightful comment. ♥

      I smiled reading about your first arrival in Second Life, so funny when we look back at how things were for us then, kind of like innocence. Thank you very much for sharing here about your past addiction and about finding a way to break away from it; I think many struggle with “too much SL,” but don’t speak up perhaps because feeling it is wrong in some way or simply because there is no forum for it. I agree with that by finding our own ways to be present in SL we learn so much about ourselves (and others too). I too have found many meaningful deep relationships and strong friendships in the virtual world. It is a special place to be part of.

      Thank you, again, Mi, for your great comment.

  2. Hello Kate,

    For sure, the official speech about addiction depends on the society in which we live, some are more or less moralizing, sustaining …
    In France it’s still difficult to talk about addiction (alcohol, drugs, sex, game…) because addiction is a sign of weakness (to stop is just a matter of will) and in addition you are obviously guilty (you decided to do it…). I think it is even more incomprehensible for others when it comes to online games.
    Advices from close people (who are suffering because of your addiction) are not appropriated, and general health professionals are often not the right persons able to really and deeply help you.
    I mean, addiction needs special cares and specialized doctors, it’s my point of view and because I have also managed some drug users projects in my work.
    Regarding my own addiction to SL, it’s was difficult for me to talk with my family, close friends and I felt ridiculous to talk to a doctor. Then, to talk about your addiction means finally to stop your link with the product and when you are addicted it’s not easy (addict people lie to themselves and others about their addiction).
    On my SL path, I had the chance to have a good English friend who was also psychologist, we was used to talk about SL and I asked him to help me, so we started to work together. We had discussion in voice through SL, on a regular basis and he rapidly gave me useful tools to reduce my time online. Step by step I decided to stop SL for a break, to take distance and try to understand what game was playing inside me 🙂 
    I think support groups and/or psychologists can help but firstly inside the game.


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