10 June 2007

Recapitulation Theory and Second Life

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny

Internet Timeline: everything pre-Mosaic can be considered to be proto-web...extremely necessary from an evolutionary perspective but just not that sexy (like a caveman in a Speedo).

Second Life Timeline: in the beginning there was Real Life and it was fine but we got bored and started creating MUDs and MUSHes and the like but our kids thought we were weird until we installed SimCity for them so they would stay off our backs but it backfired and we ourselves became obsessed with Godzilla laying waste to our hard work for a few years until there was no reason to limit ourselves to simulating a city or life or an ant colony, no, we could simulate ourselves and everything we hoped and aspired to be and those around us in The Sims which taught us all how comfortable we could feel in drag or engaged in virtual infidelity or strafing a city block while trying to steal the helicopter...wait, wrong game, back up...all of this kept us satiated until we discovered (drum roll followed by hush)...Second Life.


So we have First Life (to those of us who think that art imitates life) and Second Life (to those of us who think that life imitates art). The internet as we know it slowly evolved until it reached a tipping point, i.e. the creation and release of the Mosaic web browser. After that, to many, it all went spiraling down the toilet, what with the massively increasing onslaught of spam, porn, commercialization of something that was pure, etc, etc, etc.

I don't completely agree nor disagree with the idea that the Internet has devolved into something crass and no longer meaningful. What I find terribly interesting, however, is the way in which SL is to a large extent, mimicking the evolution of the Internet as a whole.

Porn, rampant capitalism, porn, spam glorious spam, porn, activism and/or terrorism, porn....

So, is SL ontogeny to the Internet's phylogeny?

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