Second Life: Is pretending healthy?Dec 10 05:43
Second Life (SL) is a massive online game where you can create your own body tailored to your exact specifications, meet others and travel to different virtual worlds where you can do anything you‘ve ever dreamt of, from riding a whale bareback in Bali to dancing the tango at an Argentine dance club.
The game is free and is played by millions. Sounds great, in theory, but is pretending to be someone else, especially an able-bodied someone, a smart thing if you‘re disabled? Or can the game make it harder for us to be ok with our disabilities?
What have you always wanted to do but could never do in real life? I’m not talking about pocketbook limitations or even unattractive limitations (which lures a lot of able-bodied people to SL). I’m talking about things you could do never do physically without any assistance, like rollerblading or ice-skating, or running up and down a beach and running a marathon. If you can dream it, the scenario more than likely already exists on SL. You can finally have the physically perfect body you’ve always fantasized about, replete with legs or steel and the reflexes of a ninja, and you can meet new people without being judged. It’s no wonder people with disabilities fall in love with SL.
But not all do. Some try it, then back off, finding it cheesy or pathetic, while others have become severely addicted, loving the chance to escape their bodies, their limitations, the label of being someone who‘s disabled. But is a reprieve from our challenging lives healthy? You can’t live in the virtual world forever. You just can’t. And the more you play, the more time you spend pretending to be able-bodied, the less you’ll want to return to real life.
I love video games. I love creeping around abandoned subway systems shooting zombies and I love skiing the black diamond runs on the Wii. But there’s a deeper danger lurking on SL. Maybe it’s because it’s based on real life too heavily, or when you think about not at all, but if you have a disability it should behoove you to love your real life before going head-first into a second one.
Do you play SL? Do you think pretending to be able-bodied is a good idea?
Post a comment about this blog!
1. Crystal Rose | Jun 27 04:59
I don't think anyone in SL can fly in real life, but most of us enjoy it in the virtual world. If you can't tell the difference between real life and make-believe, you shouldn't be in SL or any other kind of virtual reality. For the rest of us, it can be a lot of fun.
2. Mikeg6 | Dec 22 01:23
"I don't think anyone in SL can fly in real life, but most of us enjoy it in the virtual world. If you can't tell the difference between real life and make-believe, you shouldn't be in SL or any other kind of virtual reality. For the rest of us, it can be a lot of fun. " Amen to that Crystal!
Disability buzz, travel, fashion and dating — fun things to amp up everyday wheeling life.
Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.