by Alphaville Herald on 04/09/09 at 3:00 pm
The first to warn are the first affected
by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk
In H+ magazine's A Virtual Life. An Actual Death Mark Stephen Meadows and Peter Ludlow make a compelling case that Carmen Hermosillo’s real life death last year was most likely the sort of suicide Carmen had warned against when she wrote in Confessions of a Gorean Slave:
"Several people in SL have commented to me that they expect, at somepoint, to hear that someone has committed suicide overevents/relationships in SL, and they say that because it is theirfeelings that the Lindens appear oblivious to human cost ofentry/experience in SL. Think about it.".
While online worlds can be a source of diversion and delight, the weight players invest into the symbols and relationships they form are such that what starts as an escape may become something far stronger – and stranger.
A Virtual Life. An Actual Death is a must read cautionary tale for those who would immerse themselves in the virtual realm. A few excerpts:
…Carmen's tremendous vision — the reason she understood the dangers of virtual life so well — was that she was intimately involved. Her warnings were not the warnings of an outsider, but the warnings of someone who knew. She was not above it all; she was wrapped up in the drama and the dangers and just as susceptible to mistaking the simulacrum for the real as the women in 1290. What set her apart was her ability to tell the story from the inside. She could not escape the siren call of the simulacrum, but she could warn us of its pernicious effects…
…The escape to the virtual world came crashing down on her when Riz disappeared on her — in effect, he dumped her. She had been rejected by her Gorean master. Riz would leave her hanging for weeks at a time, unclear whether he was coming to spend time with her in their fictional world, vague about his health, and non-committal about his investment in the relationship. The result was that Carmen became increasingly panicked and off balance.
Two weeks later, during the afternoon of August, 8, she began deleting her accounts and then (apparently having gone off her heart medication), passed away on the bed in her California home…