It may sound like an inconclusive generalization but I am almost sure that anybody, if given the possibility, would take the chance of experiencing a new birth, exploring ‘another world’, making up a new existence and exerting the power of controlling every single aspect of a new life.
My immediate thoughts when I first entered the heterotopical, virtual space of Second Life and RMBCity went to all the complicated academic literary issues I studied in the past (Foucault’s essay on ‘heterotopy’, utopianism and science-fictional studies etc.etc.).
As a new intern for RMBCity project I am now exploring, honestly for the first time (maybe second?) the immense virtual place of SL and I am now starting to realize how much fun it can be and at the same time how complicated it actually is to re-enact my second birth in a new unknown world (I don’t really have memories about my first one!).
I therefore set aside all my philosophical queries for a while and instead concentrate on far more down-to-earth subjects like learning how to walk, jump or speak (I’m almost sure the extremely diabolical deus ex machina behind SL intentionally meant every initial step in this world to be terribly difficult to learn, so as to re-create the actual troubles a newly born real creature suffers!).
After a while spent in my original homeland I immediately feel the curiosity to teleport my avatar, my alter-ego, my second-me (is it maybe more real, I am wondering, than my real-me…?) to RMBCity and magically find myself in the central City Hall (teleporting, compared to other more ‘realistic’ actions is surprisingly very easy to perform) and WOW!…..imagine my surprise when I find myself in this surreal cosmo-Chinese land surrounded by jumping fishes, Beijing architectural symbols dangling in the sky, ‘dream umbrellas’ and many other stimulating and magical situations! I cannot trust my eyes! I’ve finally found a place where I can give vent to my creative dreams. In this place you can refresh your imagination and get to think on a different, maybe higher and more ambitious level, Dante already wrote about that many centuries ago (and here, I’m sorry but both my literary and my national background come to the fore!) in the marvelous Ulysses-canto (Inferno, Canto XXVI): you must overcome your own limits and keep on pushing forward your own goals in order to get knowledge, and I think this new world of RMBCity may be the ideal place to start my virtual explorative journey.
‘Consider your breed;/ you were not made to live like beasts,/ but to follow virtue and knowledge’!