by Alphaville Herald on 04/06/10 at 11:52 am
by FoxM Ember
Is love an emotion or is it a choice? If actions speak louder than words, then an act of love towards someone is profoundly louder than simply uttering those three little words. So, is love here in SL a feeling or an action, a noun or a verb? Although we each must define it for ourselves, I believe that those who limit their understanding of love to a “feeling,” are exponentially more likely to go through their second life, and possibly their real one, jumping from one relationship to the next, like a frog leaping from one Lillie pad to another as soon as it feels that it’s beginning to sink. Is it sinking though?
Such is the life of a great many of us here in SL who define love as pure emotion, hopping from one partner to another, from one “once-in-a-lifetime” romance to another, because at some point all feelings wane. There’s an ebb and flow to our life, real and second. One day the tides rolls in, the next it rolls out, but the ocean is unchanged…life goes on. Couples fall in love, passion and romance dominate their feelings, and many eventually make that lifelong commitment in real life, or partner with another in second life. Then, one day someone wakes up, often after having built days, or weeks, months or years of memories with their partner, and realize they are no longer “in” love with the person lying besides them. What happened? When did the tide go out?
Consider that it might be more truthful to wake up next to your partner and say, “Gee…the tide is out, so I choose to stop loving you.” True love is lasting…isn’t it…shouldn’t it be? How is true love even possible if it is dependant or even affected by our ever-changing feelings? We all have the Providence-given right to pursue true happiness in life, real or virtual, but if your happiness is dependant upon the ebb and flow of feelings, aren’t you destined to not only receive pain and sadness, but to give it?
By making love dependant on emotion, we conveniently remove the burden – or responsibility – of choice from ourselves. We become mere spectators on the beach, watching the tide roll in and feeling “in” love one moment, then – looking away for a moment – we turn back and see only the slimy, green decaying seaweed and driftwood lying on the shore, discarded by the ocean. “But, I want the sound of white horses relentlessly crashing into the shoreline, the passionate dance of waves mixing, churning in a beautiful mosaic of blues and greens and whites…and…now, it’s gone. I just turned around for a moment, and the ocean receded…my feelings aren’t the same for you anymore…I don’t love you anymore. Maybe I never did”
How can love which is based on emotion grow in this place, where so many people hide behind cartoonish caricatures of themselves, and oft hide behind the total opposite of who they truly are? Yet, many are surprised when they find themselves left alone on the shore, shivering and cold, and alone.
And it’s not just the newbie, who is susceptible to the lure of passion, romance and the illusion of true love, all too often foisted upon them by malicious avatars – predators seeking shallow masochistic fun, or interested in scamming lindens (not that I’m still bitter…at all); but there are also casualties among those of us more seasoned in this virtual world. Those who have guarded their hearts and resisted for so long the allure of a SL relationship in favor of finding joy in the technical mechanics, and creativity and non-emotional entertainment this world offers, can quickly discover what “feels” like true love, only to discover that it was nothing more than a daytrip to the beach for someone else, or even for themselves. Whether jumping into a relationship here naively or easing into one cautiously, eventually if it is love we seek, we all wind up as vulnerable and exposed as a day-one newbie. While the fallout of a real life divorce obviously has far greater consequences, if you dare to truly love someone in this second world, make no mistake, the emotional pain you put yourself at risk of experiencing will not be virtual.
Avatars have no feelings; but the people behind them do. To love another in this blended reality requires no less than becoming emotionally vulnerable to them, to show yourself and thereby become as exposed as you are in any real life relationship, with an increased likelihood of enjoying a picnic on the beach alongside the love of your second life in one moment, and the next, finding yourself alone with nothing but sand in your synthetic sandwich. Blecch!
Now, before you judge this writer a skeptic, let me confess to being a believer in true love, and to being a hopeless romantic by nature, and by choice. I am also “in” love with someone, both by nature and by choice – naturally attracted to her in almost every way imaginable, to her physical beauty, to her personality, her intellect, her creativity, and to the person I am when I am with her. I want to be a better man for her, not a better avatar…a better man. I love her with my feelings…yes – but I’ve also made a conscious decision to love her, and to willingly act in that way. I choose to stay in love her, whether the tide is high or low this day, it no longer matters.
Otis Redding wrote and recorded one of my favorite blues songs 3 days before his death in 1967. While many different interpretations of the lyric’s meanings exist, I think they fit in the context of this topic. In it he sings,
“Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ here when evening comes,
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch them roll out again…”
So, my love…I am here, sitting on the beach with you today, and I will be here for all the tomorrows to come. As long as you’ll have me, I promise not to allow any sand into your synthetic sandwich.