I’ll be your mirror

August 25, 2009


Experiential education has ruined me.  Well, not ruined, but it absolutely has ingrained in me the need to reflect on every experience.  Some time ago, I worked to provide outdoor experiential education for young people (kinda like Outward Bound).  We would challenge them with activities and then ask them to reflect personally and as a group on those experiences.  It really can be a powerful way to deepen your learning.  My problem is that it has generally resulted in me reflecting on most every experience I have; this is usually a fantastic thing and I still training myself to recognize those times when things don’t need reflection.  Generally speaking, I find myself thinking about things that have happened and trying to find ways to learn and grow from them and my second life is no different.

Maybe it is due to the fact that my first life birthday just passed and my Second Life rez-day is coming up, but I’ve been in a very reflective mood lately.  It is hard to say what got me thinking about rights and responsibilities in Second Life, but I have been.  I know that I have a tendency to be philosophical and navel gaze about the differences of Second Life and when it comes down to it, things are generally the same in both worlds with the exception of constant pseudonymity and creativity.  As we move through our Second Lives, we undoubtedly have the right to be pseudonymous, but with those rights comes responsibilities.  So the question for me has been, how do we maintain ourselves in a world where there are different approaches to the rights and responsibilities of pseudonymity?  The more I thought about this, the more I thought the words that Sitearm Madonna has in her profile ring true; she’s got a simple, yet wonderful ruleset for SL:

  1. This is an illusion;
  2. Trust every one and no one;
  3. Have fun anyway!; and
  4. By your actions you shall be known. 🙂

Pretty great, isn’t it?  The more I think about it, the more I think she’s articulated a wonderful way to be in SL.  Implicit in it are three important things, one is that we are responsible for ourselves, we can choose how we percieve and interact with others and we can’t forget the golden rule.  With a bunch of reflection and the right timing, I’ve been trying hard to copy Sitearm’s sage advice.  So how about you, dear readers, do you have a ruleset that works for you in SL that you would like to share?



  1. some rules i’ve instinctively made/followed so far are:
    -keep the same skin/shape as long as possible, people tend to experience a loss of familiarity if you change too often
    -treat everyone like they’re god/goddess until they make asshats of themselves
    -keep the real people as friends

    great post

  2. Hey Charlanna, Lanna, Fee Fi Bo Lanna;

    Thank you for remembering the rule set – it tickles me pink! I’ve been thinking about the next level in trust theory there’s actually a name for it these days called Evolution of Cooperation. Turns out Darwinian Biology ** does ** have room for helping each other out even if you’re not related – but it’s not mindless turn the other cheek either; you need to be “provocable”!

    Best Regards,

  3. That’s interesting, and I think it works. At first I was a little taken aback at the word “illusion,” because it seemed to me that this was saying that nothing in Second Life is real, but in the end I think I agree with that word, because all it’s *really* saying is that everything we see in Second Life is an image someone has created that doesn’t necessarily reflect what you’d see in First Life. That’s true, and worth remembering!

    I also like Toy’s “goddess until proven asshat” approach. 🙂

    However, I’ve always been inclined to accept metaphors just as I’d accept reality, so I think my rules for myself are something more like this:
    * Treat everyone as kindly as you can, as long as you
    * Don’t compromise your integrity or other people’s trust
    * Accept everyone’s appearance as some kind of reflection of their image of themselves
    * Don’t spend time with people whose words or actions don’t reflect their true feelings. Of course, that kind of thing isn’t limited to Second Life!

  4. Thanks for the fantastic comments! Really great thoughts! 😀

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