Welcome then to my ancient Egyptian themed world within a world within a world. A new world, built inside and from the meatspace world. A world whose inhabitants choose to see as separate from the meatspace world. A world where we can create ourselves anew, create our society anew, because we believe we have more agency there than in the meatspace world, where change is hard and our agency low. A world where we can, for the first time in human history, be as persons without the fear of physical reprisal. Yet we are so accustomed to being in the meat that this freedom does not come easily to us. Even when in a space where we should be liberated from it we are still, as you shall see, driven to action by those same fears.
In this world you will meet the other persons that inhabit the world. Your meeting will be at one remove, filtered by my reality tunnel, and you will come to know these persons in the same way I did, through the text on the screen and based on how their avatars look. You will be unsure of their meatspace identities, motivations and goals, unsure of their race, age, gender or native culture. Just as they are, you will be aware of your lack of awareness, aware that the avatar is not the person, and, just as they do, you will come to see the avatar as the person.
I hope that you will form some understanding of why I came to choose to be an avatar person, a serial self, and that you will come to see Second Life as more than ‘just a game’, that derisive phrase residents of Second Life hear all too often, but rather as an attempt to live in a culture of our own creation. One where one is free to create and share, to remix, to experiment with culture creation, to be free from fear of physical pain, and then to bring the knowledge gained in that experiment back into the meatspace world. Also I hope that, though my recounting of my experiences of ritual in the world, I can shed some light on the nature of effective ritual practice in all worlds. Lastly I hope my ponderings on the ontology and theology, of both the virtual world and this meatspace one, will reveal to you what I found in my search for gnosis in cyberspace.