While doing research for Cue the Penguin!, I stumbled upon this article in Kabbalah Today, Issue #11. Better than the Virtual World, written by Chaim Ratz, looks at the phenomenon that is Second Life, and asks:
“BUT WHAT’S REALLY THE DEAL WITH THIS “VIRTUALITY” TREND?
WHAT LIES BEHIND THE PASSION FOR THE VIRTUAL?”
The article goes on to look whether we are effectively fleeing the real world, which increasingly is getting darker and darker (worldwide crises, drug and alcohol-abuse, murders, loss of jobs), and taking refuge into a virtual one, where you can be anyone you want to be [Ed: or perhaps who you really are…]. According to Mr. Ratz, this is not a bad thing.
“Therefore, our attraction to the virtual world actually indicates great progress in human evolution. It plays an important role in humanity’s preparation for spirituality. In fact, all our virtual dealings are preparing us to detach from matter, disconnect from our corporeal identity and transcend the limitations of time, space and motion.”
I had never really thought of SL as a station on my spiritual quest. But the idea is an interesting one. The article finishes with:
“…we will feel more and more that we cannot exist simply on the physical level. And eventually even our virtual getaways will not be enough for us—we will have to learn how to actually enter the spiritual world and live in it.”
This brings to mind the final scene of ascension in The Celestine Prophecy, which, on further thought, would look a lot like you do when you start flying in SL. Which bring another question: Am I effectively connecting to my soul group when hanging out in SL? Or hanging out in the blogosphere? Is the Internet the “physical” global consciousness, tying us together until we find a way to do it truly in wireless (and keyboardless) ways?