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. Well...it'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.