Second Life is a 3d virtual world in which players control virtual selves called “avatars.” You can choose the gender and looks (body shape, hair, etc) of your avatar, and you can select the clothes your avatar wears.
Once in the world, you can chat, dance, fly through the sky, build houses, teleport, and visit mountains, lakes, ornate castles, gorgeous meadows, and magical forests. You can attend lectures, classes, meditation sessions, and online concerts. You go on balloon rides and bat rides. Dozens of universities have virtual classrooms in Second Life. You can chat, by text or by voice, with friends and strangers. There are various gestures you have access to (bow, jump, smile, etc).
You can choose dances from a variety of dance sequences. Some dances are silly. Some dances are sexy. Some are spiritual. You can dance alone, with a partner, or synchronized in groups.
I sometimes attend political lectures by Washington D.C. insiders at Virtually Speaking. And some weeks there’s a real world Zen teacher who gives dharma talks at the Kannoji zendo.
There are adult-oriented areas where people engage in various sorts of virtual sexual activity. (Use at your own risk.)
There are family-oriented areas where nudity and profanity are prohibited.
Second Life is great for disabled or elderly or shy people: they can be young, beautiful, and mobile. It’s easy to talk with strangers. There are many teens but also many adults and people from foreign countries. Some people spend most of their time in SL.
Yes, Second Life is addicting, and it can be misused. But I think it’s a great tool. Some of the architecture is spectacular. We may all be living in virtual worlds some day, if this real world becomes uninhabitable or too expensive.
Here’s a music video that combines real life and Second Life imagery. It’s by award-winning Aussie musician Dexter Morph, whom I met on Second Life. He gives super-energetic and sexy concerts. He’s masterful at guitar and voice.
Most of Dexter’s songs involve messages about peace and love. He has offered to collaborate on producing anti-war music for the US Peace Movement. What struck me, when I thought about it, is that US wars are fought not because of hatred, so much, but because of the greed of the military industrial complex — specifically, greed for money and greed for oil. War has become “normal”, and the anti-war movement has been ignored, because people have come to accept war as normal. The costs of war — in lives and money — are largely hidden, and the news media rarely seem to cover the issue. These factors make it all the harder to create effective anti-war songs.
I gotta say. Listening to the music in Second Life is more exhilarating than watching and listening to it on You Tube, and the sound quality is surprisingly good, I think.
To enter the world, you’ll need to download an executable, and for best experience you’ll want a fast graphics card. Email me if you have questions.