Monday, 27 February 2012

Cyber-love sickness

My secret life

Most of us welcome a vivid imagination as it’s the well spring of creativity. Imagination, like anything else, can be good in the hands of the progressive who use it to create plays, books, musical scores, cinematography, paintings and other such endeavours. 

Columbus and Magellan would never have circumnavigated the world without a lot of it. Neither would Edison had had his light bulb moment without buckets of it and we wouldn’t be communicating as we do without a series of great minds collaborating to build the super information highway.

And that’s the problem…..with great achievements (and imagination)  comes greater responsibility. The obligation to ensure that what we produce through use of our imagination will enhance our lives and those around us. Naturally this is a double edged sword so it can be either friend or foe.

The sun always shines in Cyberland
I refer to  “Second Life”, a web game that allows you to create an entirely new character using an avatar and a life that bears little or no resemblance to your own.  Since we live in a world of possibilities then “Second Life” opens doors that are closed to you in real life.

If you fancy being a curvaceous red-head or a surgically enhanced blue eyed bombshell or a broad-shouldered hunk with glistening pecs then step right into your Second Life. This is a virtual world where you can be anything you want to and live in places that you’ve always dreamed of. 
It’s a glossy, sunkissed lifestyle with opulent homes by the beach, state of the art vehicles, luxurious entertainments and world-wide travel. You can make “friends” and even enter into full blown relationships with simulated sex (keeping your clothes on!). It’s all too unreal to be real!

“Second Life” makes real life seem dull and boring and so the people who indulge themselves in this virtual world find themselves disappointed – with their husbands, partners, children, jobs, homes and friends. Nothing can compare to a life that’s seemingly  perfect in every way. There’s no poverty, dilapidated buildings, rattling jalopies, broken fingernails or anything that would be a blot on the landscape.

One woman became so obsessed with her “second life” that she ignored the needs of her husband and children. She “fell in love” with another avatar, had “cyber-sex”  and felt so involved in the relationship that she had to meet him in real life.  She travelled 5000 miles to meet the man behind the avatar and guess what….it was awkward to say the least and they found that there was no chemistry between them even though they had been “together” in their virtual life.  She returned very disappointed to her family.

Not Mr Right 
Another couple got married in the virtual world and then met up in real life and found that they were genuinely in love. They got “married” on screen and found it an exhilarating experience. You can organise your nuptials complete with venue, flowers, bridesmaids, cars, gifts, honeymoon with none of the hassles in the real world. This is one place you don’t need a wedding planner or your mother! The biggest advantage being that everything is affordable for the price of membership.

Stories such as these can be brushed off as some light-hearted fun or it serves to show how compelling the world of web games are. When we live in this altered state of reality we sometimes  forget that we can achieve our ambitions in the real world with effort and focus. If, by some chance, our on-screen persona spills over to our regular one then that could be a match made in heaven.

Land of Make-believe
All of us seek more excitement and inspiration but perhaps cyberland is not the best place to go in search of it. This world of infinite possibilities can lead us to delusion and despair. We want the fantasy to be the reality but it can’t be. We’re reluctant to leave this dream-like world but we have to. We don’t want to grow up or age gracefully even though its inevitable. We want to be something we’re not and that’s unhealthy.

There’s  something about ourselves that we believe we can’t fix. So “ Second Life” becomes that fix – a quick one just before the kids or hubby get home. A cyber lover can betray you as easily as a real life one and a cyber relationship can be as complicated as any you’ve found in the real world.

Wisdom does not live in the world of cyberspace and perhaps that’s the thing we need a little more of….not a four wheel drive or a beach home! Meaningful relationships are not found out-of-this- world and they’re not found in artificial personalities.

I'm nobody's toy!
Cyber love is emotional adultery and  hurts those we live with; its a merry-go-round of utter selfishness and....beware....what goes around comes around. If you find yourself being cybercised don't feel bad!  When you ignore flesh and blood to play in your make-believe playground the tables may be turned on you. . Unrequited cyber love can hurt just as much as the real thing so don’t get hung up on it…it’s just a don't become the plaything!



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