We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson (often credited to Nelson Mandella)
I heard this quote the other night and it made me think of a theme that keeps going round in my virtual head from time to time. I first heard it at the Community Convention in Chicago in 2007 that the creativity inherent in Second Life gives everyone a license to create. Dr. Johnson was describing this effect that when the incredible designers and scripters of SL let their lights shine, the rest of the residents of SL are liberated and share in an unconscious (subconscious?) way that grand sense of possibility.
This is a rare thing. In the actual world, we are not often expected or invited to be creative. Even in creative jobs there are usually restrictions. SL has its restrictions, to be sure, but those are attributable to the tools and things like bandwidth.
The creative light draws us in and the community keeps us coming back.
More recently, I read an article* about “Why we keep going back to SL" by someone who has ventured to other virtual worlds. We’ve all heard people say, "I’m going to the Open Grid/Blue Mars/Kitely/etc. where it’s cheaper." But as you read Mistletoe’s article you can see what awaits. "The builds [in SL] are freakin’ amazing" is what caught my eye. Those of us who have been here so long now perhaps have a jaded eye about this but something always seems to come along and blow me away, at least.
I tend to stay away from the bloggers and news stories that dwell on the negative aspects of Linden Lab and SL. I bury my head in the sand of the wonders that are being designed and in the many different communities that affirm that SLife is good. I know that sooner or later, Google or Microsoft is going to bid on Linden Lab, so I don’t believe the plug is going to be pulled.
I am content to be a cheerleader to those who are making SL a lasting Wonder of the Web.
*I found that article in Second Life and Virtual Worlds, a Scoop It blog by a librarian who works in SL. It’s a great resource on what non-profit groups as well as librarians are doing in virtual worlds.