Coping with Change

Change is a funny thing. One minute you’re coasting along; the next, someone has pulled the rug out from underneath you and you’re sprawled on the pavement, wondering what the hell happened.

Let me give you a good example from Second Life. I have a voluptuous 1950s-styled avatar named Coupon Clip (pictured above), whom I quite often take out to the Pino 1951 bar to dance for tips. The Pino bar is all red crushed velvet curtains, smooth jazz vocals, dry martinis, cigar smoke, and spotlit stripper poles. The dancers try their best to entice tips from the clientele. Being able to keep up the witty banter often had more to do with getting a good tip than actually stripping off your clothes, and I do have to confess that I was pretty good at the repartee with the customers. (My favourite line was “This is just a side gig, honey…I have a Ph.D. in breast physics.” Don’t worry; that link is safe for work.) It was harmless fun, and I just assumed that the bar would be around forever, whenever I felt the urge to slap on a slinky outfit and role play a Fifties exotic dancer back in the old Rat Pack days.

WRONG. I just got a notecard today from the proprietor, who said that due to a dispute with a former owner of most of the content of the sim, almost everything—red crushed velvet, spotlights, martinis, the whole shebang—was forcibly removed. No more Pino bar, no more dancing for tips. Looks like Coupon Clip needs to find herself another gig.

But it just goes to show that you can never get too comfortable. In fact, it’s when you get *too* comfortable that unexpected change can be the most upsetting.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about SL users’ responses to the recent Linden Lab announcements of an increase in fees and the introduction of Tilia accounts, and I think that much of the upset over these events was because many users just were so used to the way things were, and didn’t want to change. Change is uncomfortable and unpleasant; why can’t we keep things the way they always were? Every time a change like this comes around, some people announce that SL is going to die because of such-and-such a change. And guess what? Despite all predictions of Second Life’s demise over all these years, it’s still going strong.

Perhaps what we all need to do, the next time a change hits us and overturns all our plans, is to pause, take a deep breath, and just embrace it as best we can. Yes, it is difficult. But most times, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes we just need a little wisdom and a little perspective to make peace with change in all our lives, both virtual and real. At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself: is it worth getting so upset over this?

Just an idle thought on a hot summer day. Take it or leave it as you see fit.

Is Virtual Reality to Become Humanity’s Next Addiction?

The following 15-minute speculative video takes us into a future scenario: what if virtual reality becomes humanity’s next addiction?

This video was produced by a channel called Pursuit of Wonder, which bills itself as “content that makes you curious about life, inspired by life, and feel good in life”. They make a variety of videos about philosophy and technology, which you might find of interest.

This video reminded me of another one I recommend you watch, which gives an idea of what a hypersaturated augmented-reality world could look like in a not-too-distant future: