Is Avatar a little bit about Us ?

Avatar (2009 film)Image via Wikipedia
I just came back from James Cameron's 3D movie Avatar which was a really great experience. For almost 3 hours, I just forgot the time, my mind was not anymore in cold snowy Paris, but in Pandora, where you could see the slow move of Jake Sully to his long tall blue semi-lion man avatar. I wish I could also have jump into that jungle and fly on those strange birds.

Great 3D movie with hundreds of people stuck on their chair and applauses at the end. Sophisticated media, simple message and the idea that soon, someday close to us, our Second Life will also be as real as the world of Pandora for Jake. I know for some this may sound as a nightmare, but for some of us, - and I belong-, this will be a small revolution....

How did we arrive in Second Life ? What was the main reason . How did we end up to incarnate our avatar, what was the drive, when was the exact moment ?

For some, it might be easy to say, but others more shy or modest, it would be more difficult to explain. For some coming from video game univers, it was a natural prolongation. For others, manipulating the keyboard took a month before they could get handle movements properly.

Reasons to get and to stay into Second Life  are all individual choices. Maybe SL was an answer to loneliness, tough and modern, maybe just an inside solitude that nothing could kill before. Maybe it was a way to keep active, brain & engine. Maybe it was an overdose of television, bars and light relationships. Maybe it was sickness, handicap, difficulty to move but will to share and socialize. Or unemployement,  or opportunities. Or maybe just curiosity, fantasy, creativity. And maybe for some, it was a little bit of everything.

Whatever was the reason to get in, there was an instant, short, fleeting, an immaterial flash, where we and our avatar became the same person. The avatar was not anymore a puppet on the screen, but the person behind it, mind, soul and body. We even did not realize it, we were just in the mental flow, no more idea of time and space, just inside this 3D world that was so hard to leave.

This is called immersion, brain immersion, and that makes all the difference.
Because when the avatar becomes a part of us, and that we can evoluate in a 3D environment,  then all the doors open to leave a stream of emotion going from inside the screen to outside the screen. That helps us to get interested by others, their culture, their mood, their life. That is why we can spend hours building a house or decorate it. That is how we can make real friends and relationships. That is also how we can learn more easily, or share a conference together, or understand concepts better.  

When emotionnal doors are open, what happens to our avatar also affects us. It can be good, like a friend of mine who suddenly discovered she had no more vertigo in her real life after using parachutes a few times in Second Life. It can also be sad, like when suddenly you learn that someone you used to talk to everyday, had a mortal accident in a trip on the Himalaya Mountains.


Yes, our avatar changes us, that is a fact. 

People who never were in virtual worlds can laugh about avatars and maybe they do it because they dont get it. They understand you need a pen to write, or a screen to watch a movie.
But they dont get the idea, you may need an avatar to enter in another dimension, and eventually spend the vacations you can't afford in real, go to bars, laugh and dance, meet people, share time and mental energy with them, architect a palace you would never be able to afford, become the Madonna of the international virtual stage from you small village in Arkansas. But apart from the fun, your avatar in a 3D world, is a way to feel the abstract space, to see yourself in an environment that flat design or internet lists & catalogs are unable to provide.  For business people, an avatar will allow you to travel during the same day in many regions of the world, hold meetings and media conferences, exhibit your goods and products, recruit specialists, visit prototypes...

Your avatar is all about putting your dream in action, and at the end, you never know how this action will impact your person in the physical world.

People do not understand it mostly because they are afraid of it. Afraid that you would lose all contact with your reality. It is a risk for some, but for how long ? As Jake Sully, you do not feed your body with pixels...



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