In the not too distant past, I was watching some old Vanessa Redgrave movies. It all started with some of her films on The Movie Channel, but I went exploring and found my way to a film called Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment, a film I’d seen in the very distant past. The reason I liked the film is, the main character Morgan (David Warner) was living in the realm of the extraordinary which included dressing in gorilla costumes and imagining himself to be gorilla.
Morgan had been recently divorced from his classy wife, Leonie (Vanessa Redgrave), and was divorced from day-to-day reality and living in a station wagon outside Leonie’s house in London. It was his life in the auto that brought him to the attention of a local constable. The constable approached the vehicle one morning where he discovered Morgan going through his morning routine. The constable asked sternly, “What is this?” and after a pregnant pause, Morgan replied, “This is an island of sanity…” Anyway, that phrase has been used a lot by all kinds of writers and marketeers, but this is where it took on meaning for me.
There are those who say Second Life is dead. Every day they seem to seek and find more evidence that it is dead, in decline or suspended animation (to be cute about it). But there’s this, Second Life isn’t a game in any traditional sense but a virtual world in the truest sense. And the reason I bring this up is I’ve come to realize that when your mind needs a safe place to roam free, as with Morgan, you can create this place and in a sense create your own island of sanity. I think that may be part of Second Life’s secret sauce.
19 thoughts on “An Island of Sanity”
Like “Representation and Abstraction,” another powerful axis I find in Art, Life & Culture is “Realism and Romanticism.”
And like R&A, R&R isn’t a one-dimensional binary, but a rich space that can be inhabited in many ways. Still, I do find it to be a sort of pendulum: if we’re too obsessed with our romantic fantasies, someone will scream “Wake up! People are starving! People are dying out there!” Yet if we’re hopelessly mired in the dreck of reality, we might truly need a bit of time with a romantic perspective.
One of the peak moments for me for Realism was that remarkable 19th century moment when Charles Baudelaire complained that French art was drowning in romantic fantasy and challenged artists to depict contemporary life as real people actually lived it, and then history’s most courageous 19-year-old…
—– hahaha, till the Web2.0 age when SO MANY 13-year-olds have changed the world!
(cf. Next: the Future Just Happened by MIchael Lewis)
not to mention our own, amazing 15-year-old Hanna Lee —–
… 19-year-old Vicky Meurent stepped up and did performance works (some call it “Modeling for Manet”) that French painting hadn’t really experienced before.
At the other extreme of the pendulum’s swing, probably my single favorite plea for romanticism, is Dale Wasserman’s “Man of La Mancha” – a play about Cervantes and his famous character
At the end of Man of La Mancha, Dale Wasserman’s Cervantes character says,
There’s no question in my mind there’s a place for an active life, but as you say, “.. if we’re hopelessly mired in the dreck of reality, we might truly need a bit of time with a romantic perspective.”
i don’t really know any people who just head into SL to sit, other than those who wouldn’t be doing the same thing IRL. In a sense, SL is a lot more active than a lot of people would suspect when you consider their alternatives (sitting in front of a television, so forth).
For some this second life can change behavior in a very positive way, not to mention open them to abilities they might not have recognized.
I’m in one of those mired phases right now. but soon i know that pendulum will swing and hurl me from my island into adventure and romance (even a wild speedboat ride.. heh).
Interesting point! I’ve consumed my fair share of television in the past, but in the online age, I don’t even have a TV set. (hence I have to hear about Marina Abramovic documentaries on HBO from Kathleen)
I always knew TV was a vast wasteland, but now that online content and interactivity is so much richer, TV just seems even more pointless. All the commercials I have to watch on YouTube and elsewhere are understandable in that “somebody’s gotta pay for all this,” yet it kills me as I see the web become more and more like oldschool television.
I agree with you on TV, although I still have one mostly for CNBC business channel which runs all day. And yeah, I’ve noticed that tendency for the web to become like television.
I’m on the verge of a decision to cancel DirectTv. i’ll use CNN live for news feed and Netflix for movies (btw, they get some great chinese and japanese films!). I wondering what i’ll do if my internet goes down tho. I rely on my newsfeeds.
Very interesting Yordie. Second Life has always intrigued me. I may have to give it a shot 🙂
Hiya Anthony… I think you’d find Second Life fascinating. There’s a bit of a learning curve on the software, but once you get used to navigating around I’m sure you’ll find your favorite interests are all there. Its not like any game you’ve ever played, it’s a social environment and I think it is worth a shot. See you in EA! … Yordie
Hey Anthony, thanks for dropping by!
Keep us posted on your adventures.
And, of course you should try SL, just so Yordie can give you a ride in her speedboat! 🙂
You better get a speedboat too, Vanessa! I can’t do all those boatrides.
Actually I have a catamaran!
Wow… didn’t realize you were already and SL sailor. I found SL sailing to be too much work, so i opted for powerboats. Anyway, I’m going to head inworld a little later to see how badly that HAVOC upgrade effects boating and sim crossings.
You go girl!
SL. A place of incredible acceptance I’ve found. I really only dabble in it for professional development, but also to indulge my need to explore, discover, and interact. These are activities that seem to be scrutinized in RL to the point of being squelched entirely. Sad. Grateful for a place where curiosity is seen as a positive attribute and not cause for suspicion or feeling like every step is a violation of someone else’s rights or patents.
Hey gholden, thanks for visiting! No place is perfect, but I agree, SL does have quite a bit of diversity, both in people and inclusiveness and is unexpected places to visit. Our pal Marmaduke has just started posting here, but already he’s shown me some amazing spots I’ve never seen:
Hey Golden… glad you came by. I think the exploring is my favorite. I’m still discovering ways to use SL. See you in EA.