A gift

I am sitting here crying my eyes out into my keyboard. I guess it took one act of kindness and generosity to tip me over the edge into this state and that one has come from Truthseeker Young, who has just given me a present. And what a present it is too: The Singularapture is Near will soon start to live in the Black Mountains of Syncretia. During the past week (while I was away) Truthseeker went there and apparently liked Syncretia enough to give me this gift.

I met Truthseeker through that piece. I wrote a blog post on it for the NPIRL blog, during the time that it was up in the garden. While I was writing that I contacted the artist and we hit it off almost immediately.

And I am just now realizing something quite extraordinary as I am writing this: I am not sure if Truthseeker is a man or a woman! I had never thought about gender in connection with Truthseeker until this moment, since the neccesity to do so had never really arisen before. But now suddenly here I am, confronted with the issue of whether I need to refer to this person as a he or a she. The name Truthseeker does not really convey gender and would you believe it that I have never felt the need to ask? I do know that Truthseeker has a young daughter, who nibbles at his/her heels while he/she is at the keyboard and that he/she is absolutely crazy about this little mite. I do know that they live in San Francisco (at least I think they do?). But other than that, all I know is an avatar – a truly exquisite one (>>>); but again one that does not really convey gender. (It looks more male than female but I also happen to know that Truthseeker was a woman in a previous Second Life and besides this avatar does not look all that masculine to begin with anyway – it is a very slender mythical creature of vaguely Egyptian/ MesoAmerican descent I think). Also a truly beautiful home up in the sky over Extropia that I visited back in early June during the time when I was writing for the blog post. I took many many photos back then, that I have been remiss in uploading onto flickr and in the meantime Truthseeker has already reworked his/her home. 

What I do know is that this is a person with great amounts of imagination, narrative, kindness and humor – and that is all that I need to know. And this remarkable absence of curiosity on my part is, I guess, what defines this as a truly virtual connection. I really do not need to know more, you know! I mean, just look at these, will you:

We usually chit chat sporadically with long in-between silences via IM when we are both working at our respective places and we have this standing plan that we will get together and hang out, which for some reason never seems to materialize. Is this a friendship then? The intensity of the emotional dynamics that are inevitably involved in a friendship always touch me to the very core and in that way, what I call a friendship is really a very very rare thing for me. For now, Truthseeker and I are colleagues more than friends I think. Nonetheless, the connection is real. Really virtual colleagues? Or virtually real colleagues?

Soooo… The gift comes at a time when I feel quite vulnerable and lost. In fact, Truthseeker’s presence in my Second Life comes at a time of considerable vulnerability altogether. And that is why I am crying. These are tears of gratitude: Through the gift, Truthseeker has reaffirmed for me a much needed sense of belonging, of being connected into my Second Life. 

The Singularapture needs quite a bit of terraforming so that it can flow into the earth the way that it did in the garden. Truthseeker will need to do the terraforming and then set up the piece him/herself at Syncretia.

Has Second Life made us become the first generation that is rehearsing these new modes of connection which seem to transcend the need for the recognition of gender, appearance as well as many other outward signifiers of identity then? Connections that manage to go past all of that superficial malarkey and straight into the heart of the matter –  the imagination, the creativity, the innermost being of that person? After all, our presence in Second Life is so very different from that of the participants of MMORPG’s and those multitudes of chat/web 2 thingies in that it is so intrinsically based upon our imagination, our creativity and our inner child…

Future generations will doubtless have guide books, self help material and all kinds of other wonderful aids to show them the way in forging virtual relationships. We, poor things, have to muddle along as best we can in a sea of unknown possibilities as well as a sea of potential blunders regarding virtual etiquette. Truthseeker is the first truly virtual connection that I have made: I have absolutely no idea as to the background, the gender, the appearance of this wonderful person. And yet, here I stand with this amazing gift in my virtual hands and tears in my real eyes… Way way way more than I have received from many a real connection in this, my real, my first life.


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