Mar 5, 2014

Age of Enlightenment

The Revelation of Persona & Person





George Bernard Shaw, (better known as GBS), was a genius of the 20 Century.


He looked at life different.


He was not a conformist.


So he could better the world.


His views and opinions on matters were different from the conventional thinking and belief. He was widely criticized and enjoyed.


It is true that all great things begin as blasphemies. The truth that the earth is round was a blasphemy when it was first told. Many great inventions were criticized as tools of the devil. In olden times, the church looked suspicious of all scientific theories.


Still, truth prevailed.


Jesus Christ was called a blasphemer by the Jews of the time, and if I were to point out that the man represented on the cross today by whom countless Christians call “Jesus” was not Jesus at all... well, I’d be pointing out the truth which is often inconvenient and widely frowned upon. 


Truth is always truth. No truth can be hidden or destroyed.


Truth need not be conforming to the present beliefs. Truth is not governed by beliefs of man. Truth needs no approval of man.


Truth is that thing which does not go away despite opinion.


So all great truths begin as blasphemies. We like to shoot the messenger and ignore the message. Time proves them the truth, and others blasphemies.


Some of my heroes in life are modeled after this thinking. Of course Bill Hicks who was a dark satirist, but he absolutely made his point and told the truth. Then there is Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who was often full of biting sarcasm and wit in life, constantly critical, but still told the truth...


It may come to pass that the reason he was so beloved was for his books, of which his best and most candid work was only authorized to be published 100 years after his death on account of him essentially being 100% truthful and blunt about things, and he really couldn’t be bothered to deal with the backlash of popular opinion versus that truth when it seemed incomprehensible in a logical mind to deny it. So he ordered that manuscript not to be published until 100 years after his death so that it could be taken into consideration for what it was and not biased by popular opinion at the time of it being written.




However delightful his stories at the time, one thing that is little known is that his sarcasm, wit and blunt honesty got him dragged into countless duels in which somebody took issue with the truth and wished to defend their honor in the only way they knew how – by legally trying to kill him.


In the case of Bill Hicks, who if you’ve read the prior post, I honored by writing an entire post in his style. Some didn’t get that part, even when it was spelled out in the beginning... and I’m not sure whether I should be flattered or offended about those whom would confuse me with Bill Hicks in personality.


I choose to see that as a compliment, however skewed and warped by aggravation and teeth gnashing by the public.


The point, however... is this:


Just like Samuel Clemens, I keep a persona to write/interact in the style of. That persona is modeled after my heroes – Mark Twain, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, etc.


That is not to say that they are different from the “real” me. It is to say that Aeonix Aeon leans toward the caricature of that thinking and emotion as an outlet for the sake of my general sanity and to honesty convey the thoughts which traverse my mind openly. Which means that, just like any persona, it is a part of my overall person.


Spend enough time around me in person or get to know me over a longer period of time in real life (which I encourage anyone to do), and quite a few are puzzled that I am not a ranting lunatic 24 hours a day but more often than not helpful, laid back, intelligent and humorous and at times I can be the blunt, sarcastic and contentious person you see here in the blog.


Over the years (since 2005) as I’ve written in this blog, I’ve watched that play out in that this is likely the first (and only) time I’ll explain that what you read here is that dark satirist, sarcasm, Bill Hicks-esque scathing worldview to cut to the truth and never sugar coat things.


It’s a worldview that comes from being ultimately exhausted by the perpetual gerrymandering and worn down by the repeated rhetoric for twenty years.


Those that do not know history are doomed to repeat it.


Yes, this is representative of part of my overall personality... but that is nowhere near the entirety of it. Which is to say that my biggest pet peeve is simply a low tolerance for bullshit.


It comes with the territory.


What I seek isn’t opinions, or public consensus. Like my heroes, I simply seek truth and avoidance of bad things by pointing out that if we repeat history then the bad things are going to continue... just like before, and just like they continue to do so today much to the oblivious nature of those which continue to perpetrate that reprise of historical failure.


The frustration and aggravation that comes of that stems solely that I’ve been doing this for twenty years and things continue to repeat across the board... right down to how the community itself behalves and operates and even extending into the resurgence (again) of the mantra “VR is the future!” which has been the mantra for twenty years now...


And I’ve heard countless times how “This time it’s different because the technology is better!”... one must understand that you may as well be doing a re-enactment. I’ve seen the sales of “worlds” to parallel sales of “sims” later on, I’ve seen the hype bubble grow and burst a handful of times over twenty years for essentially the same reasons, and I’ve heard all about the future of the web being embedded virtual worlds...


Back in 1995 when people were making VRML browser plugins and using X3D and B3D (Blaxxun). I’ve heard about the hardware being the future and everyone is going to use it because it’s perfect for gaming and arcades... and arguably what we had back then was the pinnacle of technology just as Occulus VR is seemingly the pinnacle today.


But VFX1 failed for a reason... and it wasn’t technology. In the same light, another VR hardware company continued to succeed from 1997 onward to today... and that company is Vuzix. So why didn’t Virtual Reality continue to rise and support Vuzix hardware since 1997?


It’s simply because Occulus VR is riding a bubble of hype. A $100 million dollar bubble, and even Occulus isn’t even betting all of their chips on VR or gaming like they were originally doing. That should tell you something when they are desperately diversifying the use cases of their product before it gets on the shelf.


What I’m getting at is this – if we want a better virtual reality, we have to address the real issues and learn our history so we don’t repeat it (yet again). In order to really address the issues, it’s high time (and twenty+ years in the making) that we stop using soft language and ambiguous dodging.


Let’s just get to the truth.


That means we, as a collective, will have to bite the bullet and take the blow of acknowledging just how badly we’ve royally screwed up. To admit that we’ve been complacent and privileged. And of course... make the hard decisions about what needs to happen in order to transcend this black-hole we’re trapped in.


At the end of the day, I’m less of a cynic and more of a historian who has lived through it. I absolutely believe that you, companies such as Linden Lab, and yes even CEOs can (and absolutely should) hold themselves and the entire collective to a much higher standard. I absolutely believe it is reckless, irresponsible and ignorant to not understand the robust and well documented history of your industry in such a manner that situations which have been tried and failed before your company existed continue to be repeated, clear documentation of sociological implications of stratification and toxicity to your community go unheeded, and most importantly...


That the community behaves in exactly the same way with predictable results as every other time a user-generated open-ended virtual environment existed. Trust me, you’re not doing anything novel as of yet.


I hold the whole collective to task on purpose.


Because you represent the signpost of the industry. You’re the example of what virtual worlds really are today, and an indication to the other 6+ billion people on Earth whether or not it should be taken serious in the bigger picture.


They’ve heard the song repeat as well... that VR is the future of the internet. A couple of years ago it was the war cry of WebGL and everyone jumping on board trying to cram a virtual world into a web browser.


But few people use them, and outside of the pre-existing Second Life/OpenSim community... let’s face it – we’re nobody. It doesn’t hold context or relevance outside of our own little world. That’s why the community sounds like a bunch of crazed evangelicals trying to convert their friends, relatives, and anyone who will listen to the virtues of Second Life.


So how do we change that? How are we... as the pinnacle of virtual worlds (not pretending to be a gaming company) relevant to the other 6+ billion people on Earth?


Well if you want to insist on calling Second Life a game, then Second Life is immediately trying to compete side by side with Square/Enix and countless high-end game publishers and studios.


Which means in the eyes of gamers... Second Life is a horribly broken, half finished product by comparison. Immediately you’re screwed.


So let’s try this again?


Why be the half-finished, broken and busted “game” with no goals when you can be the world renowned leader in user-generated virtual worlds?


See.. there is always a reasoning behind my thinking.


More importantly, you got to be the leader of virtual worlds through initial innovations – so that’s exactly where Linden Lab should be. Back at the drawing board and innovating their flagship again to make it relevant to the other 6 billion people on Earth. Innovation is doing something fresh and new...


So let’s breathe some life back into this and give it a second wind.


In regard to myself and this blog, remember the words of Bill Hicks:


It’s only a ride.



If Second Life is the platform, what will launch from it to change the world?


I could answer that for Ebbe, and of course you (my dear readers), but I think I will wait until April 12th. Because Mr. Altberg may not realize it... but Second Life and Linden Lab could make Occulus VR irrelevant if it wanted to, and relegated to history before they got out of the gate. Linden Lab is, after all, sitting on a 100 billion dollar industry and has yet to capitalize on any of it over the past ten years.


In order to do that... it’ll take understanding and vision.



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