Hello there!

A very naive Gwyn wrote the following nice lines in late July, 2004:

A very primitive GwynHi there! If you’re seeing this page, I guess you’ve looked me up somewhere in Second Life – either in the game itself or in th forums.

My name (in Second Life at least) is Gwyneth Llewelyn and I have lived in Uli for almost 10 months or so, a very peaceful neighbourhood, where most residents are artists – either texturers or builders or simply creating art. I loved living in Uli – it has its own charms, unlike many of the "heavilly crowded" regions, crammed up full with malls and bars and casinos and whatever…

In Uli life is quiet and we hang around chatting and visiting each other’s homes. Yes, we had some private parties, and get-togethers like anywhere else. But it’s not a hectic quarter of the world.

Recently, I’ve been renting some space from Eloise Pasteur in her many plots in Io. This is a pretty old sim – that means that the sim computer is pretty slow – but allows to keep me in touch with one of my best friends in SL 😉

I set up this page because I’m fascinated by Second Life and have passed the stage where I’m not sure it’s a game anymore. The name was well-chosen – I still have some doubts on how to describe it. I guess that right now I would classify it between a mixture of gaming (in the sense that it entertains), 3d chatting (as one of the major features of the game are, well, real people behind the avatars), and something else. This "something else" is more difficult to describe. After all, what makes one log in every day, being online for a few hours (my record so far is 20 hours through and through…), and actually worrying how things are in Second Life? Why should you be sleepless at night thinking about a friend with his/her problems? (even if they aren’t "real" in the proper term) What makes you read things about Photoshop and learn how to use Poser, invest hours of your time just to grasp the bare bones of those tools, so that you can have some new clothes the next time you log in and look smart at the nightclub you’re going with your friends? What makes you bring a few snippets of paper with you and write ideas for some projects, lists of things to do and not to forget, just to have it ready for a presentation next time you log in?

Is this a game any more? I’m not sure. Probably in a few months I’ll have the answer. Right now it surely feels… strange.

After sooo many months, it still feels a bit strange, and I’m definitely sure it’s not a game, but a communication platform, with tools for creating an interactive, colaborative environment.

Well anyhow, beyond those philosophical questions, on this site I’ve started to put up some ideas and thoughts I got for each section of Second Life – object creation, scripting, clothes design and animation. Recently, however, I found out that discussing the technology of Second Life, the Metaverse, the economics and the social aspect of Second Life is much more fascinating – although I’ve included a "Beginner’s Guide" in this site, for all of you who need a few tips to get started in this "Brave New World"…

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About Gwyneth Llewelyn

I'm just a virtual girl in a virtual world...

  • Lotan

    It is sad that you have reduced yourself to a 1 and a 0. You are nothing more than a mathematical algorithm that is displayed on screen. Can you really touch, taste, see, hear and smell anything in your virtual environment? Yes you do see things but that is because it is being display on a computer screen. But are you really seeing true things or just a made up fantasy? Yes you do hear things all because of speakers. But are those sounds a real sound or just a sound bite that is played over and over?

    Have you given any thought to what will happen to your avatar when your physical body dies? You have a soul but your avatar does not.

  • Lotan, in essence, you’re asking what is reality, which, I’m afraid, is a bit more complex than you seem to indicate… after all, you perceive “reality” through your senses, but things are mostly made of… vacuum and a few physical forces that are interpreted by your senses (like “solidity” — a measure of the electromagnetic field — or “colour” — how photons are reflected on a surface — or “sound” — how mechanical waves are propagated through the air).

    This doesn’t mean that “zeros and ones” are “more real” to the reality created by your brain based on the perception of what your senses tell them. In fact, I would argue that the current technology is not yet enough advanced to give your brain the same level of perception. But it’s almost there. Computer screens are able to come close to 2000×1500 pixels of resolution nowadays; our eye can only perceive roughly 10.000×10.000 pixels, but obviously that depends on the viewing distance; once you increase the resolution level to the amount your eye is able to see, your brain will not be able to tell the difference between a computer-generated image and a “natural” image. In effect, the difference will only exist philosophically; both stimuli that reach your eye are just photons, either reflected by several surfaces or emitted by a computer screen. Your brain will process the same information in the same way.

    But this is into the real of philosophy; you’re welcome to discuss what is real and what isn’t. As you probably know, all Oriental philosophies have long ago (millenia ago, in fact) simply declared that the universe is a mere illusion of our senses, and that the only constant in the universe is change. Surprisingly, since the advent of quantum theory in the early 1900s, scientists cannot explain the universe in any other way. The question of what is “real” is still an open one; you can either “believe” in Oriental philosophy, or choose to accept what contemporary science tells you — or you can refuse both, philosophically, and provide your own answer.

    What happens to my avatar when my physical body dies is about the same: both will disappear from the face of the Earth, but my self will remain alive as long as people remember me. Immortality on Earth is simply memory — you endure as long on Earth as the memory lasts. Your soul, however, may (or may not) continue beyond our current Universe, and that is open to speculation in metaphysics. I’ll not pretend to have an answer to that; or even if I do have one, I have no reason to believe I could explain it to you, since the answer is pretty personal.

    I can give you an analogy, though. When you turn your computer off, your avatar disappears from the face of the virtual world. Is it “dead”? No, since everybody knows that when you turn it on again, you’re able to interact with people (through their avatars) again. “Death” in the virtual world is “temporary” in that sense — and this is clearly explained because the avatar, by itself, is not a person: it becomes one as long as there is a human being (a soul, if you wish) behind it, animating it, connecting and communicating with oher human beings. However, your soul — the essence of what makes you human — certainly goes on with your disconnected computer: you simply go on and live on a “higher” plane (what we call the “physical world”). In my mind, physical death in the physical world is nothing more than that: you cease to communicate with your fellow human beings, but the essence of what makes you a human being (the ability to communicate, for instance, or to interpret the signals from your senses and process them) might still go on on an even higher plane. But this is naturally pure metaphysics and definitely very, very arguably, and I’m pretty sure I’m unable to explain it any better than countless hordes of philosophers and theologists have done in the past six millenia of recorded history.

  • Being a newbie, there are many things I need to understand to get the best of SL. But for the time being I am not very much concerned about that as I quickly found my focus within SL: Meet interesting people to share my ideas.

    And what amazes me is the way we reveal ourselves to the others. Like there were no barriers and feeling we’ve met those people hundreds of years ago.

  • Burgundy Jewell

    What a great discussion! I love that Gwyneth’s comments made in 2004 are still being discussed and are highly relevant. If one engages in a virtual world with an open mind, it is very fascinating what we can learn about ourselves as individuals and our relationships to other people. The human interaction element to SL is extremely powerful. I ask Lotan, did you have an emotional reaction inside your physical body when you read Gwyneth’s post and responded questioning the validity of virtual interactions? I bet you did, in fact, you used the word sad. I bet there was also a rise in blood pressure! And what about the feeling of empowerment that comes from questioning and speaking your mind on this two dimensional virtual reality forum, www? We accept the potential for social discovery and change from the www because of the exchange of information and ideas. The same potential lies in virtual 3-d worlds, with added dimension. I challenge anyone with questions like Lotan’s to really go into SL, and find people with common interests and starting communicating with them. It can challenge a lot of beliefs. And what better way to have a discussion about the value or ethics of something than to educate yourself on what it is about. So far from what I can tell, it is about connecting people. In my book, that is a good thing.

  • I just love reading this old take on your life. And baby, look at ya now!! I concur wth so much of what you say. As of 2008, I will use the phrase Physical Reality. For me, it’s virtual, or physical, but it’s all real.

  • I wonder if comment posting works on Google Chrome… gosh, so many web browsers to try and figure out if they work at all!!