Monday, August 4, 2008

In and Out of Character Or: Musing on Our Metaphysical Nature

Some SL residents are largely in character – Dr. Mason, for example, spins an ongoing saga of great complexity and is so completely in character that his rare exceptions are so noted. (OOC aside: Hey, Doc: our typists are practically neighbors, at least on the global scheme of things!) Similarly, Janus, Countess Carenduna’s butler, has no other persona that we know of, so complete is his devotion to character.

At the other extreme, some draw little distinction between their lives and those of their typists. For example, ISC chat will have people discussing their typists’ children, spouses, unfortunate household accidents, job commitments, beers tasted, and so on – merging the personalities of typist and SL character.

For most people, it seems to me, there’s a distinction between the role and the actor behind the role, although the lines between the two often blur. I think most people are comfortable with roles that are consistent with their underlying personalities. That is, the helpful person does not stop giving advice, the garrulous person does not suddenly become shy, and the populist does not turn into an elitist.

At the same time, this is not to say that the character is the typist. We can amplify positive characteristics and downplay the negative. Perhaps each adopts the role he or she wishes to have. Others choose to explore avenues that are not innate to the creator (perhaps that's wishful thinking, but I shall continue to hold this point of view until proven otherwise): the Gorean role player, the Evil Scientist Bent on World Domination, the Fetishist, and so on. Still, my admittedly limited experience has been that even Evil Scientists turn out to be quite nice when one talks to them. I'm not sure what that proves, but there it is.

I assure you, Gentle Reader, that this does not mean I will start a Twitter account and regale you with what I ate for dinner every evening. Some things are best kept to one's self. Whichever self that may be.


Frau A. S. Lowey said...

While there are similarities between us, the out-world-agent (that horrid woman who laughs at me as often as my brother does) is a separate entity. There are varying degrees of such throughout the world, not just the local environs. Though a typist who is terminally shy may feel less anxious in company through their avatar, and an avatar may take more risks than the average motivating spirit, I think your analysis is sound.

And regarding the Twitter - is useful for a short comment, when one has something to say that would not necessarily require complete dissection by journal posting. There are some who labor under the crush of the Full Blank Page, feeling unable to fill it. Much as the haiku is an excellent exercise in distilling to the essence in poetry, the Twitter entries can be entertaining non sequiturs.

Rhianon Jameson said...

I agree completely, Frau Lowey. Indeed, my typist is terminally shy - and just look at me! :)

I wasn't disparaging Twitter - I find it quite amusing at times - merely observing that my dinner menu is probably not required reading on the Aether and, therefore, will not be displayed. Of course, I can be persuaded otherwise...