Strawberry 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