Second Life: Community?

I’ve been going through the VWBPE 2015 Keynote speeches and listening to them as I work. Pamela Broviak made one of the speeches. She has a civil engineering and planning background. The video is a 45 minute talk about community in Second Life™ (SL). Mal Burns recorded it and uploaded the video to YouTube.

StoryBrooke Gardens

StoryBrooke Gardens by Loverdag, on Flickr

I’m not at all sure the speech part of the video has any actionable ideas regarding or new insights into SL. If you have studied history, humans, and social development you’ll probably be scratching your head as you listen.

If you want the good information, jump to the question and answer section (TM: 30:00±). The value of this video is there.

Pamela Broviak starts out talking about the history of civilizations. She uses Moses and the trip out of Egypt as a beginning point. She has an odd understanding of the Judo-Christians beginnings and scriptural laws. Other than the Israelites leaving Egypt very little is accurate. Once finished making rather huge mistakes about the Judo-Christian beginnings she moves on to the Iroquois Indians, modern communities and their beliefs. But, how is one supposed to have confidence in what she relates about the Iroquois and community after her misrepresenting or may be just misunderstanding the Israelites and their part of history?

In the Q&A Pamela shines. Her speaking improves and her excitement, knowledge, expertise, and intelligence shows. At this point she is speaking from firsthand knowledge and experience with some apparent depth. Her previous speaking and attempting to support her opinions with history isn’t her forte.

In many ways we are uneducated children experimenting and learning in our play-pen. Part of human development (child to adult) is experimenting, learning, and thinking we are the discovers of new concepts, ideas, and behaviors. But, the only thing new in all of our thinking is it being new to us and perhaps new to our community. But, it is old news to someone. We could actually learn from history if we studied it.

As to new ideas, we may think the idea of going to the Moon or Mars is new. But, that is just the idea of going someplace new rolled up with a new destination. John Carter (1912) has already been to a more intriguing Mars than the Curiosity Rover revealed Mars we are learning about.

Going places, studying them, building civilizations in them is a historically repetitious behavior for humans. Colonizing Mars will be a new experience for the pioneers going there. But in history, they will only be part of a long line of pilgrims pioneering the frontier.

For me the developments of Judo-Christian, Egyptian, Iroquois, and our virtual Second Live civilizations that are most important are in how we respect other people and allow them freedom and impose responsibility. It is how those ideals have developed and been implemented that are the foundation and set the character of a community.

How communities divide the land, build shared infrastructure, and share in public costs is dealing with the mechanics of a community. Those I think can be understood for and are the same any society/community. Building water supplies, sewers, streets… they haven’t changed much in our 5,000± to 8,000± years of written history, depending on how we define writing. And good evidence exists in the physical historical record that how humans handled these things is the same for even longer. Materials and methods have changed. But the motivations and goals for infrastructure construction is uniform across cultures and time periods. These we can understand and anticipate with mathematical and aesthetic certainly. Humans and how they think isn’t really changing. We, as species, are ridiculously predictable.

It is in how we determine the value of things – land or property, protect or deny ownership of land and property, avoid discrimination, treat minorities, respect free speech, the diversity of ideas, and allow the individual to pursue their personal idea of happiness that sets the character and success of societies/communities.

Understanding what individual humans want to make them happy and content, beyond being left alone to do as they please, is pretty much impossible. Free will requires freedom. Human diversity requires verity. When we move into community the issue becomes how to deal with the abuse of personal freedom as people try to inflict their will on others. The best part of community in Second Life is the near total freedom we have and the inability of others to inflict their will on us.

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