Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The impact of immersive worlds on human emotional processes. Part 2 of a series

A true story*
Sue was born twenty-one years ago to loving parents. For the first seven months of her life every cry was soon answered with the love, nutrition, attention and interaction she needed.


On the first day of the eighth month of Sue's life, her mother found out she was pregnant again and sunk into depression. Sue's cries were answered more slowly. When her mother finally did walk through the door and pick her up, the eye contact and interaction were gone. Sue's loneliness and emotional hunger were diminished, but not extinguished.

When Sue's brother was born things went from bad to worse. The scant attention her mother could muster was focused on the new arrival. Her father took a second job. The stress took its toll on her parents' relationship and their fights would sometimes wake Sue from her sleep. She soon gave up hope, but the desperate longing remained.


After many months of suffering, something snapped within Sue and severed her connection to the excruciating pain. The terrible thoughts, emotions, memories and feeling were buried, leaving an empty space behind. The pain and longing were gone, but with them went feelings of love and connection. As Sue grew up, the events of early childhood faded completely from memory.

On her twenty-first birthday Sue logged into Second Life for the first time.

*A true story recounted to me as recollected through various psychological and meditative practices over a period of years. Names and other identifying details have been changed.

Stay tuned for part 3 as the story finally moves to Second Life.


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A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at http://fourworlds.tumblr.com