Broken people in Second Life?

A quote has been flying around in the blog sphere for a while now, after it got published dec 26; ”Also – and few people want to admit this publicly – Second Life attracts ‘broken’ people. I don’t mean this as an insult in any way, as I am absolutely one of the broken ones. Second Life gives many of us very crucial things which are lacking in our own lives. For some, it’s the ability to socialize in ways that are difficult or impossible in real life.” Marx Dudek

She has written a great blog post, I just dont agree with that quote and I feel a need to break it down a bit. Its a common predudice I think and some people like to think its like that because of this anonymity for example. I´v met quite a lot of ppl in virtual worlds over the years and I think its a mirror of the real world. In the real world i know some seriously “broken people” who goes to art classes. So art classes attracts “broken people”? The truth is that “broken people” does a lot of things, including visiting virtual worlds and go to art classes. But no more no less than ordinary people.

Well this is to simplify too much to think its like that. The “broken people” I have met in virtual worlds gets the label “drama queens” and get known by that. The majority of people in virtual worlds are just ordinary people. And how many of us are “perfect” and have not “broken” in any way irl? But to say that a person who is rheumatic or has seasonal depresson is “broken”, I dont buy that. They are ordinary, less perfect people like everyone else in the real world and not more common in virtual worlds.

We can define the word “broken” in different ways. For me physically and mentally healthy persons who has a ordinary boring job, goes home and watch TV all evening and totally lacks of imagination and visions, are a lot more “broken” and unfortunate than any rheumatic or slightly depressed but brilliant creator or habitant in a virtual world. A lot of people in virtual worlds are also more social than the common populace and thats a feature. Instead of watching TV in silence they actually communicate with each other. I know dogs that have more imagination than the common human populace….

So quit talking about virtual worlds attracting “broken” and psychotic people. I think its just bullshit. People in virtual worlds may be a bit different than the general populace cos they have a greater imagination and most of them are a lot more clever. But I dont call them broken, I call them awesome <3

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27 Responses to “Broken people in Second Life?”

  1. Hello, Ms. Marx here. :)

    Would you be interested in writing a guest editorial? Please let me know if you would. I’d be very happy to post it.

    Let me know, thank you!

    • @Ms. Marx; omg what an honour! You dont confuse me with someone else?? :O) As i dont write in my native language i lack in confidence… I will send you a mail. Thanks xoxoxo

  2. Well said, both Mera and Marx – i believe virtual worlds do attract actively forward thinkers – and we are ultimately human – no less or more flawed than any others. Good to see dialogue between you!


  3. Unfortunately, Phillip Linden – the boss and founder of Second Life – takes a somewhat similar view to the “broken People” quote. I didn’t look up the quote but as I recall it he considers us all mentally challenged. So, when the boss takes such a view and says publicly and then you read the boss of Google looks upon people in virtual worlds as misfits with something to hide then you can be sure the sociologists and psychiatrists will make more of it for the establishment to justify demonizing us and forcing us out of our corners. Once they have our lives fully exposed then we are worth money to them be it in taxes or advertising.

    You will not be free!

    Happy new year Mera

    • @Gaga, Yes Philips statement was totally out of the line. He is maybee bitter SL didnt turn out the way he wanted it. He wanted a success like Facebook and he didnt get it so now he takes it out on us im afraid. And yes companies are afraid of anonymity and they just wanna make money, though they can make money out of us without having our RL id. Before credit cards no shop had my ID and they still got my money… so that is bullshit, from that grumpieoldgoogleboss.
      I need to be free =/

      Hugss and happy new year Gaga!!

  4. “Second Life gives many of us very crucial things which are lacking in our own lives”
    This is true in my case as I find it very hard to travel back in time in my own life.
    That is what I use SL for!

    • @1920sBerlin; I agree. I feel sorry for all those ppl out there that dont understand how wonderful a virtual world can be and how it can help us evolve and maybee heal old wounds <3

  5. Mainstream ‘adjusted’ people and reputable rl businesses/institutions turned away from SL b/c of the populace of misfits and broken people who came to dominate SL. That, and the fact that everything gets reduced down to sexual overtones and innuendo. And of course, the ever titillating pixel sex scene. Oh right, it’s JUST a game. I find it strange that real life is too difficult to navigate for those who chose virtual existence…. you know, giving that all that creativity and imagination shouldn’t go to waste, and all. What a cop out. Let’s be honest about it…birds of a feather flock together. What you lack in real life you try to get in virtual world. I have gifted friends (artists, musicians, writers) who I invited inworld to explore as an alternative outlet. After the initial curiosity wore off, all decided it was vastly more fulfilling to pursue their creativity in the real world. And I doubt anyone lying on their death bed laments about not having devoted more time to virtual world. A lot of what goes on in virtual world is counter-productive to the real lives of those who immerse themselves in it….not to mention their families. Thou protest too much.

    • Hi Riese
      I think you may have gotten the wrong end of the famous stick.
      First of all Second Life or any other Virtual World (3rd Rock, InWorldz, Avination, OSGrid etc and so on) are not games. Never has been and never will be. Sure you can treat it like a game, you can also treat life like a game.
      Virtual Worlds offer another dimension to life. Its new and still ground breaking so as it stands it wont be for everyone. Certainly not for people that dont “get it”.
      You might say we protest to much and yes I do infact know what your refering to but thats really like when Bush said “your either with us or against us”
      As Mera indicated … its all about balance.

    • Bullshit. Virtual Worlds can be counter productive, yes, but they don’t have to be. It depends on the individual and the keyword is balance. Of course, if you’re logging in to SL as a newbie and visit the most “hip” places, you might end up being grossed out by psychos trying to poke you with their gigantic pixel dicks. The trick is to avoid places like this.
      Apart from sex virtual worlds offer a lot of opportunities for people to educate themselves. There are professionals offering counselling for a fraction of the price you would have to pay in RL, some even offer it for free.
      But of course you only get to hear the extremes. The married father-of-three playing a lesbian in SL to engage in his hidden fantasies. What you get to hear about in the media are the extremes. But actually, it’s much the same as in RL – if you don’t want to get mugged you avoid dark alleys, right? So if you don’t want to be bothered by random strangers asking you if “u want teh sex” you just stay away from sex places. Easy, yes? Thought so ^_^
      In my very early days in SL I’ve attended classes on philosophy and religion. I’ve could have taken them in RL, sure, but whereas in RL I would’ve had tp pay about 200 quid for a class I got them for free in SL. FREE EDUCATION! FOR EVERYONE!

      “I find it strange that real life is too difficult to navigate for those who chose virtual existence”
      For me, sometimes real life is indeed to difficult to navigate. I am one of the broken ones. Social Anxiety in my case. And you know what? I’m getting better due to my experiences in virtual worlds. In SL or IW I can attend a party with friends without getting drunk or drugged up beforehand just to numb the anxiety. Been there done that and I sure as hell don’t want to go back there. Do I escape? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, it’s hard to face the real world. Then I log in to SL or IW, spend an hour talking to friends or wandering about in a beautiful virtual environment and boom, I’m feeling better. Shit, my counsellor even encourages me to spend time in virtual worlds so I talk (or type), meet people who’s gone through the same shit or whatnot. It CAN benefit you. But it won’t do if you’re hanging around in Zindra or hard cock alley or whatever that place is called.

      As for “creativity and imagination going to waste”…run that by me again? I’ve seen a lot of truly talented people building virtual houses. You think all of them could become architects in RL?

      ” What you lack in real life you try to get in virtual world.”
      Yup. What exactly is wrong with it? I live in a big, noisy city. Can you imagine how wonderful it is to log in to a virtual world and go to a beautiful forest, the seaside or just a plain old, cosy country village? Listen to the birds chirping, the water of a crystal clear stream…it’s heaven. And I cant have that in RL, so I get a bit of it in VW.

      What it comes down to is this: Virtual Worlds are what you make of it. If you go to an escort club don’t complain about seeing avatars having pixel sex. You don’t go to a RL whorehouse expecting a catholic sermon.

  6. @Riese; thanks for your comment. I agree, there are a lot of misfits, psychic ill and damaged people in Second Life. I have met some of them. But my experience is that they are as common in “real life” RL as in “virtual life” VR.

    Some of them are just a tad more visible in virtual worlds as they dont feel they have to hide their “interests” the same way, for example them who are in it for the sex. But most of them are on the continent Zindra nowadays so we dont have to mix with them as before if we dont choose to do that.

    Im also certain that some people devote too much time to virtual worlds that damages their real life. Still, im sure if VR didnt exist they would find another way to escape from their RL. So its not the platform that is to blame. The Metaverse is a wonderful place. As a glass of wine tastes good to the dinner. But if you drink the whole bottle at the same time, its no good either :)

  7. Hmmm I missed this post somehow.

    I’ve certainly met a lot of “broken” people in RL, if you’re talking about people who don’t pretend to be robots and “all grown up” – like the 500$ an hour bigshot attorney who would close his office door and… throw and destroy things in his office. Everyone would flinch at the bursts of shouting and crashing noises inside… then he’d come out like nothing unusual had happened, and his secretary would go in and “straighten up.”

    It’s also showing up in studies that people with a pathological lack-of-effect (compassion) personality tend to gravitate to positions of power, like CEO, simply because bullies, armtwisters and threateners often stomp their way to the “top” across anyone not ready to descend to such unethical means and measures; are they “unbroken people”?

    To think that “drama” doesn’t come from “ordinary people” is to be pretty ignorant of what’s going on around you in RL.

    • @Miso; Exactly, who is “broken” and who is not? Who decides? I also heard that american CEOs often are psychopats. More often than CEOs in japan for example. Due to a different company culture and different demands on a CEO in those countries. Scary….

  8. Long comment is long. Oops. *blushes*

  9. I’d like to say that for the most part, my experience in SL is pleasurable. I apologize for coming off judgmental. I promise it was not my intent. I merely commented about the original article’s statement. Because what I found a lot of was people w/multiple personalities (avi’s) and they switched back and forth depending on what it was they were looking for at that moment. Then of course there’s the cost factor. While many tout how affordable things are in SL, when you start to add up the tally, you might find you’re spending more than you think. Unless of course you have discretionary money, this too becomes problematic. Time is the most precious commodity. If the majority of your time (and money needed for other obligations) is forfeited on a virtual existence, it’s a problem. If you’d rather converse with avi’s and not your real life family and friends, it’s a problem. If you’d rather exist in virtual as opposed to real life, it’s a problem. Take a tally of your time and expenditures. And finally, like any other addiction, if you can’t stay away, it’s a problem. So, I agree, balance is certainly a necessity.
    As for the real world being populated by sociopaths, VR is a reflection of RL and anonymity offers a good cover. Just sayin’.
    I wish everyone safe and fun travel into your fantasies.

  10. @Riese; good to hear :) And I agree. I have heard of ppl having addictions of different kinds and it always the family and friends who has to pay for it. Excessive shopping of clothes (irl), credit cards and huge mobile bills not to talk about alcohol and cigarettes. To spend time in a VR can also develop in to an addiction of course.

    I have known some really ugly psychotic ill ppl irl and they didnt mind at all that they were not anonymous… So i feel a lot safer in a virtual world cos iv seen the damage they can create.

    Yes I will do as you say, travel safe in to my virtual fantasy world. Take care! =)

  11. SL (Second life) is in fact a place for broken people, Is hard to accept but is true.
    Some people for many many different reasons are not able to socialize and they live very lonely lives because health problems, economic problems, mental problems, social acceptance, etc.

    I played SL for over a year, I got there cause I was trying to take some one out (who’s life was getting destroyed by SL). I have a normal happy RL (real life), I’m not saying my life is perfect or anything like that, but I do have RL and let’s say it doesn’t suck more than anyone could deal with.

    During that year I notice SL became more demanding and let me explain that very quick; YOU CANNOT LIVE TWO LIVES. Like someone said here SL is a mirror and soon you end up with responsibilities, dramas, frustrations and all that RL has, you start thinking about SL while in RL and taking more and more hours of your RL to dedicate to SL and is just normal, let’s say you want to have a store in SL you need time to take care of your store, same as any other activities things that can’t do in RL but you can in SL be a model, a king, a vampire, all those activities demand time, continuity and effort just like in RL. Some people get so involved with their avatars that start behaving in RL like SL little example is that you may start moving like your AO (scripts to make your avatar have human like body expressions).

    Broken people are in greater risk to be trap by SL, since is a place where they may feel accepted, where no body will judge them and if they do you just TP somewhere else, or eject them from your sim, people can show themselves as they’re cause they wont really know who you are, reason why there’s so many places for homosexuals, people with unusual sexual preferences and so on, they can all find very easy to meet with people with the same preferences, mental problems, likes, twisted minds, etc.

    I particularly became interested on the creative part of SL (since I’m an designer in RL) I became a builder and poses maker, I really enjoyed that, but soon I was expending my entire weekends (the only free time I had to play), I stop doing sport activities and other artistic hobbies, I stop going to parties and meeting my friends, I was also a vampire queen with many demanding minions, so I used to take care of my vampire clan at night after work, so I stop workingout during the week. At this point my friends RL were wondering what happen to me, and I will tell them all kinda excuses, but never talked about SL, in part because I deep inside (even if I didn’t accept it when my family used to tell me I was putting too much time in SL) I knew I was engaging a useless activity and it was consuming my life, that was making me distracted at work and every other aspect of my life in general, I knew it wasn’t doing any good to me and it was something I wouldn’t recommend to anyone I care about.

    Then I felt in love with a broken SL resident, he didn’t seem broken to me at the begining, just someone going through some difficult time, I try to help him and since at this point I was starting to grow concern about my life (kinda waking up), I decided I wanted to be with him and I tried my best to take our relationship out of the computer and phone. His RL was miserable, he live in a country and place he hated it, he hated the people, the culture, the food, didn’t have a job, was being supported pretty much by his mom and lived confined to a room with only his computer as a window to the world, and YES I love him with all my heart. You may think living this miserable life he will try to make work any opportunity … well no, for reasons I would never know or understand he didn’t accept my help (offered with not commitment required), so one day I decided needed to rescue my life and I closed all my accounts and leave SL forever, today I’m glad I did and I’m back to LIFE real life, after a few weeks out of SL you start seeing thinks so different and you may even ask yourself “what was I thinking”

    My advice for people who actually have a “normal” RL is YOU DON’T NEED SECOND LIFE, SL is not a game, is not like an xBox you play for a score, and then turn it off. SL is in fact that a second life and you CANNOT live two lives, without screwing one of them or both.

    • TheOriginalMe thanks a lot for your comment! Everything you say is true for some people. But I am stubborn here and claims, not all people uses SL like this. SL is different for everyone, we all use it of different reasons and only some people use it cos they want to get away from their Real Life. I think most people dont. Most peope just use it as a hobby and to be able to express themselves and be creative. Not all of us has a creative and stimulating job irl.

      I worked in a advertising agency before i got my kids but with small kids i changed to a safer (and boring!) work instead. So i was happy when i found SL which gave me an opportunity to challenge myself and be creative again. I am often logged in here as in msn, computer is on but im elsewhere =) So I prioritise my RL but love this fantasy world too. I want both! :) This doesnt mean im “broken”, just bored occasionally :))

      But i agree, for some ppl this can be a trap and we all need to think about what we are doing and how much time we spend in SL, watching Television, playing Xbox or whatever. Some ppl are more wulnerable to be addicted than others too. We also need to chase dust bunnies now and then :P

      But dont forget, a perfect and clean home (irl) is a sign that you have no life too ;)



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