Saturday, July 19, 2008

to think or to feel

According to the horological (some would say horror-logical) definitions of my temperament and personality....I am supposedly very logical and "have difficulty in expressing emotion".

That's funny!

Most of the time I am within a hairs' breadth of bursting into tears! The most insane things can set me off too, like today over a nice slow-food lunch at a local cafe, I read a simple line about love in a magazine and immediately teared up with the sentiment of it all! Not particularly logical I'd say!

I express emotion far too well in my humble opinion! It's not only annoying, it can be disgustingly embarrassing. There has to be nothing worse than tearing up at the drop of a hat in front of men too! Ugh! So demeaning!

But I do it a lot.

Being "in touch" with ones feelings is something I think women, in general, are pretty good at, most of the time. Although I do wonder in recent decades whether we have not become so busy that we've forgotten to slow down long enough to actually figure out where and why those emotional responses are coming from. They rise so impetuously from within and can take us by surprise, but we often just seem to react to them rather than stop and really FEEL them to their nexus.

Allowing emotion to simply be emotion and letting it express without analysis is probably my weakest weakness.

I guess that's what that 'horrorscope' (sic) is trying to tell me. Analysis Paralysis I think is the catchphrase! Over thinking stuff from a clinically objective perspective! I can do that a lot too it seems, as this blog will attest.

On the one hand, I can never figure out why it is I will cry at reality TV shows when they do house make-overs and in another instant remain resolutely and pragmatically philosophical when confronted with something INTENDED to elicit strong art or news stories etc.

My own emotional responses are an entirely flummoxing mystery to me.

Recently, I discovered I did indeed have VERY strong and visceral emotional responses. I experienced a strong reaction to a relationship issue that took me by complete and utter surprise. Now that is rather a weird be surprised - an emotional response - about an emotional response!

Which emotion was the "real" one I ask you?

Probably both of them I gather. It is rather astounding that the human being...or at the very, is capable of having more than one emotional aspect simultaneously. I always thought of emotional responses as being sort of linear in function. They are simply responses to external events or internal thought processes that occur in sequence in some kind of assessable "order".

Apparently not!

Emotions seem to be both dependent and independent of external factors and internal thinking!

Emotions...aka feelings seem to be able to rise unbidden, bidden, unsolicited, solicited, cajoled, uncajoled, apparently uncontrollably from "somewhere" inside this corporeal identity I walk around in! Most untidy really. I guess I do harbor aspirations to Vulcan coolness and logic after all!

I read this following quote today, by Augusten Burroughs, in an article from that same magazine I was talking about above:

"It's strange but we seem to need to try to make ourselves feel, stimulating ourselves to feel...something," he added. "Perhaps we're so busy we don't feel...we're not in touch with what we feel. Our divorce rate would imply that."

It got me thinking on this subject of feeling and/or thinking and how we go about the process of slowing down long enough to really feel what we are feeling to its conclusion; its nexus if you will. Getting down deep inside to discover an emotions core root and identifying and sorting it out so we can frame it into thought and deed.

Emotional responses seem to come from an entirely different place in the human psyche. I think from my layman's understanding of neuroscience, we humans do have very specific places within the brain where thoughts and feelings occur. Thinking is primarily taking place pretty much non-stop at the forefront of our brains...literally. Emotions occur in other parts of the brain, like a kind of strobe with different places in the brain lighting up and equating to differing feelings.

Thinking tends to be somewhat confined to a specific area of the brain while emotion tends to be all over the place. Any wonder emotions can be so hard to pin down and label effectively. But then again, our conscious thinking tends to do a LOT of filtering of these strobing emotional patterns and we develop habits of denying ourselves some quite legitimate, feelings while encouraging others, legit or otherwise! Behavioural science is only now, beginning to scratch the thin layers of human brain biology in this regard and its an incredibly fascinating subject too!

Emotions seem to be synergistic too. They give rise to thoughts while at the same time... perhaps instantaneously, our thoughts are giving rise to our emotions. I'm guessing this is why I can have two emotional responses at the same time, one in response to the other aka surprise because of feeling jealous etc.

We are told, and I've said it in this blog too, that we have choices about how we feel. Easier said than done of course. Feelings and emotions are about as difficult to control as wild horses! Still, I think we do need to slow down, give ourselves the space to breathe and really feel what we are feeling and not squelch or deny ourselves difficult and intense emotions simply because they're tedious and confronting. (Of course, it is always wise to take socially non-redeeming emotions to a nice safe and private place where other people can't be offended or delighted by them! Your call on that of course!)

This being said, I still have a great deal of work to do on accessing WHY I feel what I do when I do. Why is it that I cry so easily at the merely sentimental - which totally annoys me (there you go, that weird juxtaposition of two emotional responses one on top of the other again. One just felt, the other experienced as a result of thinking about the emotion just felt)? Or , why I don't always seem to feel strong emotional responses when I'm being "asked" to by someone or something else?

My other work is to learn how to simply allow my genuine, unbidden emotional responses their full weight and not belittle or demean them simply because they're uncomfortable. I want to learn how to feel things through to their natural core, to the trigger that inspired them, acknowledging that trigger in the frontal cortex of my thought mind and decide then what to do about it. I want to learn how to HAVE my emotions and respond to them intelligently and not willy-nilly without thinking so to speak!

Wisdom, I now believe is not so much what we know in our thoughts; it is how well we slow down to feel what we are feeling, identify why and then not over or under reacting with the results!

I have learned I can be jealous! To me, Jealousy and possessiveness are abhorrent emotions that deserve little brain space. But I do have these strong feelings on occasion and I have reacted outwardly...and very them. Now I want to find out what my triggers are. WHY do I feel jealous and when does it happen and what does it feel like to really FEEL jealous right down to its root, without inflicting the potentially damaging collateral onto other people?

Once I allow the feeling to be what it is unmodified by conscious thinking first, bringing that emotion full circle to its root cause and conclusion, I can THEN allow my logic build on the information and formulate better and much wiser behavioural responses. I hope I can anyway!

Basically, I need to slow down! I want to learn how to experience what I am feeling and let it reside there until it no longer does. I want to give time to my emotions and let them name themselves - rather than merely analyse them - and I want to get my over-analytical head get out of the way and 'de-logicify' (if there be such a word), the process.

So! The next time I find the tears streaming down my face when someone wins a home make-over, I shall stop, pause, feel what's actually going on within me and not think about it too much until I am done feeling it through.

I wonder if that's even possible for an "Aquarian" wannabe Vulcan! hahaha :p

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The ironic habit of trying to be unselfconscious

It's a bit of an oxymoron yeah?

I've learned in recent months that much of what I think I'm getting from other people i.e. emotional feedback, information, perceptions etc are really just my own projections of what I THINK I am seeing, not the actual truth per se.

In the book I've been reading "Bonds that make us free" (see the link on the right of the page), I've learned much about the tendency for people to self-deceive in relationships. I know I am on constant alert for opportunities to justify my feelings, often blaming other people for the way I feel.

Logically and intellectually, I know its me who makes me feel what I do. You do not cause my feelings and emotional responses. I feel these things myself. The thing I need to become aware of now is how do I react to my own feelings when they occur?

In what kind of mindset and particularly heart-set must I place myself, so that I can love that other person despite what they do, think about, say or not do towards me?

It seems the key to being Lovely, is to forget about being it at all.

You see, it's when we forget ourselves that we finally begin to see others as they really are - and love them anyway.

When we forget ourselves, we are open, we do the right thing the moment it occurs to us - without rancour or bitterness; we seek to benefit the other before us, because they matter - simply because they do; we are kind, gracious and spontaneous in giving of our time and resources, all for no personal gain and we do not seek gratification or reciprocation for any of our actions. We are simply being ourselves without being conscious of ourselves. It's an attitude of Love that is quite different to actively choosing to "be nice" to people!

The Self is a rather petulant child within us. It likes to be adored and it really does hate being wrong or being assumed to be wrong. When we screw up our perspective of other people, we assume they see us as being very wrong indeedy and our insulted pride and competitive child suddenly thinks its not HER fault for the way things are! Our internal Self loves to cry foul and "It's not fair!" when we feel shamed or wounded in some way.

It is "our fault" so to speak!

In all relationships, the buck stops with us. We own the obligation, in full, in the way we respond to other people and to our feelings about them! There is no blame on them if it goes awry! (I'm not talking about being physically or psychologically abused by another person here, that has different ramifications I won't cover in this blog post). No one else is to blame for our reactions and responses to the feelings and emotions we generate.

Sure! Emotions are spontaneous and we simply feel them without any real thoughts or intentions as such. They simply occur within us in response to our perception of the world. They do rise unbidden from our depths and they can take us by surprise when they are painful and powerful. Emotions are necessary components of the human life, they can no more be denied existence than the air we breathe!

However, we confuse the issue here: Emotions are necessary and a wonderful part of our persona. This is true! But, it's what we DO with our emotional responses that makes, or breaks, our relationships and it's here that our full obligations lie.

So! How does one become a paragon of selflessness then? How do I drop my internal and often competitive dialogs that keep trying to place me in a position of advantage over other people, blaming them for what happens in my world? I want it to stop but how?

Again, the harder I try to focus on my SELF, the less likely it is I will achieve what it is I seek!

Many self-help books fail in this aspect. The right attitude of heart is the key to becoming a "better" person, but much of the self-help movement is very selfishly tied to focusing on our individual wants, needs, aspirations and intentions. There's rarely much in them to explain just how we open our hearts to loving other people. Even if the self-help gurus' advise the step of opening our hearts to being loving, they make it sound like it's something that's obvious and as easy as pie to do! It's not.

Becoming unaware of our selves so that we feel neither less than, or seek to be more than other people is extremely difficult until this change of heart occurs.

The really stupid thing about this is that we can't actually make that change of heart happen deliberately - it just occurs within us when we become aware of the other person in an attitude of total acceptance and love.

But we can make the conditions for it to start to happen more easily! We can adopt an attitude that seeks first to love others before we focus on our Self! The attitude of love that isn't self gratifying or self-seeking is the aim here.

Seeking to let go of our internal Pride Barometer, which is usually on constant alert for opportunities for self justification and glorification is the first step. When we refuse to accept into our minds, accusations against other people for the way we feel and perceive, we can begin to loosen the grip of self-deception on our hearts and open it toward becoming loving and lovely. When we simply choose to DO the right thing by other people when it first occurs to us to do it, we are on the road to learning how to love with joy!

The world really does need Love.

Love that is outwardly focussed, not a manipulative by-product and after thought of our inner child trying to make ourselves look good!

That's the irony in trying so hard to be unselfconscious. Letting go of the Self in all things, while remaining focussed on this process is akin to a dog chasing its own tail.

Awareness of how we self-deceive is the clue to this letting go. Remaining aware of our inner thought processes in an attitude of love that flows outwards to other people will do very much more to improve all our relationships, including the one we have with ourselves.

Being aware of, but not focused on! This is the strategy I think. Being aware of how I treat others; being aware of when my conscience is deciding between doing the right thing or not by others and choosing to do the right thing anyway; being aware of my emotional responses and taking responsibility for them; defocussing my intentions to be "better", "wiser", "richer", "warmer", "nicer" and "more honest", when in fact these attitudes are, more or less, ways I'm trying to bring more affection and attention towards myself.

By being defocussed on the Self and opening up the heart to allow other people to be themselves without blaming them for it is NOT easy, but I do think it is necessary if we ever hope to create the world of Peace, Love and Hope we aspire to.

How ironic is that? We actually end up feeling better about ourselves when we just forget to try and feel better about ourselves! Go figure!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Last Monday (7th July)... out of the blue, I was offered temporary full-time work as a receptionist at a busy office.

I've never really done this kind of work before.

I literally threw on makeup, suitable of course...and tore the brush through my hair and fled out the door to this job!

It was like a bolt from the Heavens!

Only that previous weekend, I had been noting how slack and despondent in my daily routines I was becoming. Unemployment does that to a person, it sucks out the motivation from within like a vacuum cleaner!

Since I left my marriage in May, I've been on the job hunting treadmill; applying to vacancies in the local paper and checking online job sites etc to no avail. I'd get the occasional interview, but nothing much after that.

It's easy to lose your sparkle and your sense of worth after awhile in a situation like this. You wonder why no one wants you and what is it that you're doing wrong. You wonder if you're too old, too ugly, too self-conscious, too anything.

It's a really major mind meltdown if you let it get that way.

I was close.

Most of these past few weeks, I've remained resolutely optimistic that I would find "my ideal job" sometime within the very near future. I tried very deliberately to not let the "rejection" letters in my mailbox get me down.

But after two more arrived Friday week ago, I spent most of last weekend feeling very unsure of myself and anxious to try anything different. As the saying goes, "Keep doing the same old things and you'll keep getting the same results". I didn't want the same results, I needed different results! The bills were coming in my mailbox too and I need to get off the welfare job-seekers miserly "pay" and make my own way in this world!

So there I was! Monday morning. I spent some time chatting to friends in Second Life but after that, I wondered what there was to do in my life that would be constructive and purposeful and would bring some kind of gratifying reward! That was about 11:00am. Then the phone rang.

By 12:10, I was in a busy corporate office, in town here, thrown completely for a loop on a job I've not done before.

The world turns on the head of a pin some days. Sure! It IS only a temporary job, but whatever happens, I'm working and I feel like I'm getting somewhere again. I know I can do this job! I have been doing pieces of it for years!

The job involves lots of things. Meeting, greeting people either face to face, or over the phone. There's lots of typing to do, a huge database to learn, files and procedures and all manner of regulatory obligations etc.

All of it is sort of familiar and so very not. There are pieces of this job I have done many times in the past, but this is the first time I have combined all those pieces into a cohesive role. It's daunting, exhilarating, exasperating, energising and I'm utterly and completely exhausted as I write this after the first (almost) full-time week of working 8:30-5:00 that I've done in some time!

I have no idea when this job will end. Whatever happens, it will still look great on my resume. I'm going to have to learn so much and it surprises me how rusty my short-term memory skills have become! I hope I can get that memory thing back next week ASAP! It's an absolute requirement of the job to have all the T's crossed and all the i's dotted! My shocking...perhaps appalling...short-term memory is going to get a right jolly good old workout at this job, which it well needs.

I worked out my pay for this past week and I am more than gratified. It's better than I could have imagined or expected, so while on the one hand I'm terrified that I'll not make a good enough impression, or do a good enough job to be kept on permanently, I'm also extremely excited at this amazing opportunity for growth, particularly financial!

It still looks great on my resume :) That's gotta count for something in the long run yeah? :)

I'm there next week. After that, who knows? :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

The place and the connection

A very interesting observation recently about how much the types of environments can impact on the natural conversational intimacy of group interactions.

We...aka the group in the Second Life IC... were all together in the confining environment of a "new" flying submarine the lovely 'Daya' brought to the group recently.

Now, in the not too distant past, many of the group had been emphatically insisting on the Perfect Paradise Island remaining a completely naturalistic environment. You know! Beach, sand, tropical plants, camp fires and caves etc.'s as "natural" as SL allows anyway.

What has been interesting is the depth and the level of involved intensity of group members in conversations between the "natural" campfire environments below on the actual island and those that are now occurring within the opulent textured confines of the submarine (ironically floating a couple hundred of metres above the island. :)).

It seems there is something within the human psyche for a kind of place in which intimacy and conversation can naturally take place.

It has been assumed until now that natural environments might engender this kind of conversational freedom but in my recent experience it hasn't been as successful as we might have hoped.

Now with the arrival of the submarine, we have gravitated to the warmly, rich environment of enclosure where the conversations seem to be more vastly ranging in content and in sheer affection among the people engaged in them.

It would be interesting to study this phenomena in First Life. How conversation between members of a group is impacted by the actual physical location in which that conversation is conducted? How does conversing in natural environments, such as bush settings and open spaces compare with people connecting and conversing in different kinds of constructed settings? What kind of neurological and brain chemistry results do we get between the sensation of being "held in" by the walls of our environment as opposed to the expansiveness of open space?

Space and Place obviously have a lot more impact and influence on how and why we relate as people than I'd first thought. It seems that for some of us, there is the need to re-create a sense of bonding within the limitations of enclosure. As Mia suggested "Womb-like", which is a good analogy I think.

It's probably a futile exercise though to research this idea. People connections are so diverse and contingent on an infinite number of variables that to perform accurate measurements for comparison between intimacy in space and intimacy inside would be a nightmare!

The fact remains, that for us on PP, the small group that we are... our strange, opulently textured and bizarre little flying submarine is proving to be a kind of catalyst for bringing people together better than any virtual camp-fire meeting has thus far! :)

And that's a good thing.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

"Be Fearless!" said she, from behind the couch.

"Be Fearless!"

This line was said to me again yesterday - and more than once too!

At the time, I considered it a bit of a throwaway line you know. A sort of patronising absolute that I "should" take heed of.
The only problem with it is that I don't really get what it actually means to be "fearless" as such.

I'm about to do some "thinking in words" here... a sort of emergent word play in trying to understand the nature of being fearless. Bear with me! :)

Obviously, "Fearless" is an all-encompassing term for a state of mind; an attitude that approaches life in a particular way.

But what KIND of way?

Much of my psychology operates from the basis of Fear. It's so pervasive and all-encompassing as to seem to be a completely impossible lens to remove, as if it were a benign tumor so embedded in my brain as to be far too dangerous to excise by the surgeons scalpel.

It will have to be shrunk over time using alternative methods.

But what does it mean for someone - who apparently seems to naturally operate in life from the root base that is Fear - to become literally, fearLESS?

What kind of attitude and personality, demeanor and temperament does one display when they're being Fearless?

Fear can be a very healthy attribute. Human beings are wired for a Flight or Fight response deep in the primitive brain stem. Fear allows our senses to be heightened and become acutely aware of our surroundings, enabling us to make split-second choices on how to respond in any number of perceived threatening circumstances. Much of fear is a second guess of what the near future holds based on a myriad of beliefs about the present moment.

The problem with fear is that it can become a self repeating pattern of behaviour that begets other behaviours which come out as either self-defeating, humiliating, limiting and just damned inelegant.

Inelegant I get! If there is one thing I absolutely understand, given my propensity for vanity, it's Elegance.

Elegance: the refined inner beauty of the soul; the understated power of presence; the inherent and beautiful aesthetic of character; humility without self-deception or defeatedness; grace and good humour in dangerous times; perspicacity and awareness. Quite simply....the essence of being Lovely in the midst of a pile of poo!

Ahhh! Now I see what it means to be Fearless!

It's not showing a lack of fear at all...but it is showing gracious courage in the midst of things that might be feared!

It's not so much Confidence as Assurance, that what will be - will be - whatever is meant to be - and a "Damn but I'm gonna give it a go anyway, so to hell with the consequences!" Elegantly speaking of course!

To be Fearless then, is take fear and use it to your advantage, to renegotiate fear from a different set of mind rules than the monster has created in your soul for itself. It's a letting go and flowing into the future, despite Fear. Ergo, the fear tumor is shrunk over time as you rise up inside of yourself and believe you have it in you to take Life on board and do it anyway, with dignity, grace and good humor! :)

Instead of pacing on the side of the river bank moaning about the consequences of drowning, should one swim its width, it's, instead, taking a big breath and plunging gracefully and determinedly into the cold water and swimming (given of course that one has learned to actually swim mind you)... to the other side anyway, accepting that you might drown...perhaps!....possibly!.... maybe!

OR, you might decide instead, that getting across the river requires a different strategy altogether. So, you create other options in your mind that you can act upon to get to the other side of the river!

Fear is a kind of laser focus that heightens the awareness from A SINGULAR PERSPECTIVE! Fear sees things through a problematic lens. It focuses on the results of distorted perceptions emphatically asserting their validity and truth. It's singular in that mindset. It won't let up on it if you arent' aware of that fact. Fear cons you into believing that what you have right here and now is potentially going to do you a great deal of harm within a given set of parameters that only Fear thinks it has the inside scoop on!

If you chill out long enough and re-focus that copious grey mind of yours on the problem at hand and imagine other solutions (not other problems et al)...fear tends to back off in the face of that kind of elegant skill. Letting go of the fear isn't letting go of it in the literal sense, it's a sort of casual gentle smirking within the heart and a sneaky defiance to not hold the monster to his silly word. Elegance likes to prove Fear wrong...beautifully and emphatically.

Elegance is holding ones self in such a way that fear is not the issue but the sheer thrill of being alive is. Just for the fun of it!

Life lived in fear is a crappy, inelegant life.

Rise up then my soul and gird your spiritual loins with the desire to feel the fullness of being Alive!

This isn't arrogant confidence! This is just a bit of poise and a courageous and charming RESPONSE to the vicissitudes that a lifetime brings.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

more thoughts on the Intentional Community concept

Bat had a really cool observation to make after reading my post about the Second Life Intentional Community.

We were discussing the fundamental differences between making a community in a virtual environment such as second life as opposed to the actual rendering of a physical community.

In Second Life, the differences between the two can be quite profoundly obvious of course and the group have battled through plenty of discussion on what these differences are and how we might actually DO the IC concept (as proposed by Dave and Steve) within the limitations of the Second Life metaverse.

Bat originally observed that the whole notion of using Second Life for this purpose, while not actually flawed as such - but is, however, kind of "silly" when we are paying real world money for the region and items used on the Perfect Paradise island!

Ostensibly, we "should" be aiming to be self-sufficient and using MINIMALIST economic practises ..aka very "simple" means to re-create the Intentional Community model. He always suggests boot-strapping the concept for being sustainable inworld, rather than just throwing real world pocket money at it - which makes the whole experiment a mere doddle and an entertainment rather than a serious attempt at learning a new way to relate to the world... a world....any world! In other words, we design, create, and generate our own items - and Linden Dollars - through our own collective and creative ingenuities!

But his words clicked with me today when he said that what the proposed Second Life model is supposed to do is to give those of us, involved in the process, a way of learning new ways to ADAPT to change both within and outside of Second Life.

With this in mind, it's very true that we cannot even begin to predict what kind of a real world future we are all facing as economies perhaps crash and burn around us and that real world life-styles, incomes, housing options and all the stuff we've taken for granted as being our "right", start to change and metamorphose into other things quite different from our current expectations and experiences!

What IF there were, suddenly, no bees to make honey in the world? What IF we lived in a world where our only real food options were rats and cockroaches? What IF we did indeed have to find caves to live in again because housing, as we currently understand it, was beyond our financial reach?

The notion of learning the attributes that make us able to adapt to changing fortunes, is the key to the Second Life experience. In there, the rules of engagement are almost alien and as such we need to develop ways of understanding how to cope with those differences both as individuals and as teams. Survival means learning to manage, adapt, be aware of and to change our approach to the given environment in which we find ourselves.

What we LEARN from each other within the Second Life IC will be how to integrate and develop those personal strengths, ideas and methods that will help us, as individuals and as a group, to be able to adapt better, to environments that are very different to our actual, current experience of life.

Second Life offers us an ideological platform for making these internal growth changes. By its design, it is an environment that is entirely "different" from the one we have always known. Things work differently, behave differently, have different outcomes and different coping requirements.

It is, however, in here that we can tell the stories that spring from our past, present and imagine the possibilities of our futures, so that we all learn from each other how we might be able to adapt to a changing world outside of Second Life.

It calls us to be honest, to have imagination, to be generous, to strip away all personal ego-centric goals, so that the spirit of intention is one of embracing diversity, simply and ethically, along with our human survival in mind. It calls for the absolute humility to embrace diverse cultures, beliefs and yet still find common grounds for developing loving and sustainable relationships. To learn what it is to be human and what is means to stay that way or evolve into something less or more! To learn how we cope and strategise for the unexpected and how we develop our own survival instincts, both as a group and as individuals.

It will teach us a lot in preparation for the time/times when real life presents us with very different situations we've not encountered before.

The intrinsic ability to adapt to these changes and survive them is the key to making the Second Life IC not only workable but also increasingly important.

It's not about learning how to make honey when we can no longer buy honey... that is only a part of the equation! It is, however, learning how we protect what bees we have now so we, (or our decendents), WILL have honey to make someday! It is also about learning what MIGHT we do if there were no bees in the world ever again! That's just one example of the discussions that could be possible for us.

The options for discussion and relationship have grown exponentially on the basis of this idea! At least for me anyway!

How we survive as individuals in the event of any potential cataclysmic event...good, bad or otherwise... is the key learning we need to make here. The ability to adapt to changing tides is a strength. Doing this adaptive processing as a group is another skill that requires much learning, patience, tolerance and experimentation.

Doing all this within the alien and obscure environment that is Second Life is our first challenge. It may seem idealistic, stupid, excessively fatalistic, or it may indeed be a small, winding track toward creating a new kind of Human Being! Time will tell!

To adapt is Human. To learn how to adapt is beyond being merely human!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Welcome to a Perfect Paradise

In Second Life, I have become involved in a tiny movement, of sorts, about socio-bio-political change through the concept of an Intentional Community.

I wrote just the other day on the notion of being "intentional" in our thinking and behaviours but I honestly wasn't thinking, specifically, at the time, about the Intentional Community as I wrote that post.

The Second Life Intentional Community at Perfect Paradise is a virtual experiment as a prelude to the establishment of a real world IC where people choose to come together to live, work, and play with very few "rules", as simply and with as little impact on the planet as possible.

Dave Pollard in How to Save the World, and Steve Hinton of Inventing for the sustainable planet (see links to both blogs below), are both involved in this experiment. Both men are passionate and devoted supporters of the need to develop new strategies and thinking that defy and move outside of current, standardised thought and behavioural processes, such as those espoused by government oligopolies and other fundamentalist organisations.

It is however very difficult to extrapolate most of the intentional characteristics of a real world Intentional Community into one in Second Life.

For one thing, Second Life by its very design makes such notions as physical living spaces, green design, ethical treatment of animals and the environment all moot. These things can only be talked about as theoretical ideas in discussions and conversations within the metaverse itself. The strength of Second Life is though, that people can converge in one place and DISCUSS all these ideas and develop a Community through Conversation.

Second Life offers all of us a glimpse into the possible systems of RELATIONSHIP THROUGH CONSENSUS that would perhaps define and would make (or break) a real world Intentional Community. It is in our very different individual temperaments, thoughts, beliefs, understanding, knowledge and experience that each of us will bring to the group through our relationships and conversations, ways in which extraordinary people can learn to live, work, play and re-design our lives with the whole planet in mind.

The other gift of Second Life is that people can come from entirely divergent real world cultures and locations bringing with them inherent customs and ways of relating that for most of us would be impossible to experience even in a physical commune arrangement.

For the likes of Dave and Steve, who are adamant that our current North World concepts of economy and consumerism - these being the traditional idealogical wellspring of individual wealth, prosperity and happiness - are coming to an abrupt end and that we need to totally rethink and rework these old philosophies so that we do things, not just smarter, but also more ethically for all life on the planet.

The INTENTION is to build small self-sustaining, emergent and loving communities that are not reliant on multi-national, despotic, consumer conglomerates for their daily bread!

And if that sounds completely idealistic and pie-in-the-sky...who knows? It either is or it isn't! It does not mean it's not worth a try eh? The whole truth and nothing but the truth is always a bit murky around the indefinable edges on very BIG ideas such as these. Cynical types will probably suggest we are all tree-hugging greenies who want everyone to move back into the caves and eat nuts and fruits! worked for a good number of people for a very long time so I guess its quite probable that some would suggest we would be better off doing that kind of lifestyle! But even then, I personally think we'd find ways of keeping the internet and the fridge!

The concept of IC isn't about trying to defeat technology as such...its about using it with as minimal effect as is possible on the planet. Yes! It's a line ball call sometimes, I agree, but the intentions are honorable in that they're about human survival for the generations to come - not just our own skins.

The point to all this though, is that there are people in the world, myself included, who DO understand that the way we are living currently, might be rather easy and comfortable but it is also a lifestyle that is coming at a rather exacting price - one we rarely see or calculate accurately. We all need to understand the nature of that price we are each paying for our pursuit of The Good Life - as we've come to understand that ideal so far.

It is men like Dave and Steve who are proposing theoretical and ideological dreams for what CAN be possible if we learn how to work together collaboratively in very different ways to what we have always known and taken for granted.

So, I invite those reading who are interested in building a virtual world community of very diverse people from around the real world globe, who are trying through concrete intention, to make it better for everyone, to come along to Perfect Paradise and enjoy good companionship, conversation and all the learning possibilities we've only just begun to consider.

*Gaia Blog about the Perfect Paradise IC in Second Life*

*Steve's Blog - Inventing for a sustainable planet.*

*Dave's Blog - How to Save the World*