Friday, September 21, 2007

'Castles in the Air' or 'Castles in Spain'

There is an old expression about building 'castles in the air' or 'castles in Spain'. As Second Life is a world where fantasy can become reality, it is appropriate that it is a place where castles actually can be built 'in the air'.

Here is a 'castle in the air' on land created 'from thin air' as it were...
It was created above the atmosphere actually. As you see, the moon rises below.

In Second Life, people often 'retreat to the hills' or in this world 'retreat to the air' in order to avoid the rather unpleasant urban sprawl that can consume a region. Revolving neon advertisements overhead ruins views of what once were pristine bays and waterfronts. Moreover, there are considerations of privacy that often induce people to create 'skyboxes'.

Ironically, access restrictions do not apply to 'land' in the sky, however. A landowner can restrict access to his/her own land to friends or a select group, but once one ascends to a certain level, the best one can do is lock one's door and hope that the world does not care enough to beat a path to the door at that altitude.

One possible side-effect of being at high altitude is the malfunction of teleport devices and the relative ease with which one can slip off the edge of the land into the void. I have included a photograph of a moment when my avatar was forced by some unknown power or malfunction to march backwards endlessly into the ether. Nice view though!

With respect to a 'Castle in the Air' in Second Life, however much one may love it, one can make it vanish back into inventory in a moment, recreating the landscape again and again... Can dreams be recreated as easily though? There is an incredible sense of power and freedom in being able to shape one's own environment, but ultimately, emotions are not so easily controlled or redefined according to what is practical or even wise.

Perhaps it is a mistake to take weighty philosophical and moral considerations to a virtual world like Second Life, but if it is part and parcel of one's own being, these aspects of being cannot be ignored. Memories created in virtual realities are as 'real' as any other memory an individual acquires in the course of existence.
I personally would like to create only memories that will be a true joy to contemplate in the future. Time-wasting is not a crime, but it leaves one feeling rather cheated.

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