Chapter 2: History of Second Life
To become a spectator of one’s own life is to escape the suffering of life. (Oscar Wilde, 1854–1900) INTRODUCTION Music, literature, art, performing arts, nature are all forms of escapism into other worlds and as we move towards an increasing technological world, virtual worlds are a new form of escapism that we find ourselves encapsulated within. As Oscar Wilde propounds above, we, as human beings, have used various media as a means of escaping into the unreal to avoid the real. Today these unreal worlds are taking the form of virtual worlds that engage us not only as a single entity but where we interact with others, using, simultaneously, the same medium to escape. What is interesting is that not only is the virtual world a means to escape but the traditional methods of escapism, as listed above, are also featured within the virtual world as a means of escaping the virtual. For instance, there is a thriving English Literature appreciation society within Second Life (SL) (http:// literaturealive.blogspot.com/), where users can meet and escape the unreal by discussing the real. Confused? The aim of this chapter is not to confuse but to highlight the beginning of this virtual world, called SL. From this historical overview and through deliberation of whether virtual worlds have real world effects, we can see how the SL fantasy has permeated reality and has had real world consequences, for the purposes of this book, in relation to the economy and virtual money laundering. HOW...
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