22 Jun 2022

Mettaquette #VirtualTherapy #BetterWorld Q8

Weekly Q & A with the Doyenne of The metaverse.....Pooky Amsterdam 

With the explosion of the Metaverse, which does represent life on a 3D platform other than Earth,we bring our human selves to these shiny new shores.  Do we want these virtual worlds in front of us to be better than the one we have behind us? Is this even possible? Won't we be bringing all of our same traumas, fears, insecurities, greed, competitive and destructive patterns with us? Or are there ways the Metaverse can help us surpass our human limitations? 

Q7: Can the Metaverse make the world a better place?

There are imho two general ways to make the world a better place. For many people to rise up at once and realize they need to do more for their fellow humans, their children, the environment, even their country. That takes a big movement and most people are just trying to live their lives as best they can. In the checklist for avatar character traits, will you check sincere or snarky? It would be wonderful if we had a kinder and gentler Metaverse, but with so much emphasis at the moment on commercial enterprise, being a kinder and gentler avatar doesn't seem to be at the same premium level. I'm waiting for the Just Be A Good Person Metaverse, but I'm not holding my breath for that.

The other way to make the world a better place is for individuals to improve their perspective, heal their wounds so that they dont want to hurt themselves or others and find a better place within themselves. If he Metaverse can help heal or improve people's lives, and clearly it can,  the answer is yes. I have witnessed and participated in this on a first person, or first avatar basis, and yes the Metaverse has real strengths here, which I hope will be ported to the new ones. I am answering today's question from personal experience.

For example, thousands of people have passed through a sim in Second Life called Fearless Nation,  which is an avatar outpost for those surviving PTSD and other forms of abuse.  Watch the video in the link, all of the dialogue is taken from people's actual feedback on their virtual experiences there. Dr. Colleen Crary  has run it for 13 years helping thousands of people cope by providing mental health support on a beautiful pacific island with places for bonfires, gatherings and education. It is a safe space on abuse victims terms, they control it and so can rebuild their trust. 

Dr. Crary's presented her findings for her PHD thesis and found that people who had avatars and spent time in Fearless Nation gained feelings of safety and self-connectedness. Through the Proteus effect, this self awareness allowed for greater control over stressors and triggers, being an avatar in the safety of one's home environment allowed for creative experimentation. Also self-reflective processing and positive behaviors learned in the virtual worlds led to that actualization for real life behaviors. People gained interpersonal connectedness, relational engagement, and learned to socialize again!

The Metaverse offers community which does make us feel better plus community around shared loss or tragedy even, comforting us in a psychological way. Another example of this is the enormous community of cancer survivors and their families that populate the American Cancer Society's Annual Relay For Life, the ACS does improve lives. There is a virtual world outpost for this, a Relay for Life in Second Life which began in 2005 and since has raised over $3 million through micro-donations from all over the world. Because the Metaverse is a global platform, people log in from anywhere, anytime of the day or night and find those who understand what they are going through. I remember a conversation with someone who had cancer and couldn't bring herself to discuss her fears with her own family, not wanting to burden them. In Second Life she not only found people to talk to about her deepest problems, but also who helped her overcome her very real fear of needles! The Metaverse can help heal in remarkable ways, not the least because of the presence we feel in our avatars.

With the growth of VR, there is also its growth in treating PTSD and other damaging disorders and it has been one of the first areas VR has been used for. Here is a good article on VR therapy, which is immersive on another level than logging into a Metaverse or virtual world, but the tenants of being present and the identification remain very much within the same principles.

There was a great conversation with Linden Lab's Founder Philip Rosedale and it's new CEO, Oberwolf Linden that I caught yesterday. And yes Philip Rosedale did want to make the world a better place when he began that awesome platform, and still does. What he loves the most about this world he put into motion is that here people do collaborate, get along and build things together, work on things together enabling a greater experience for all. And the great ideas and camaraderie that begin in Second Life, or in the Metaverse can be exported in every one of us who has been there. Understanding ourselves, helping to heal with one another and grow in our abilities will make the world we live in a better place. 

If you have a question, please send an email to info@pookymedia.com with the subject line of Metaquette, it will be answered!

1 comment:

colleen3k said...

Take a moment to read Pooky Amsterdam's always engaging articles, this one of a series in particular. As a pioneer and legend (not to mention one of my dearest Metaverse colleagues), Pooky challenges us to think more deeply and kindly about our digital selves, how we behave as avatars and Metaverse citizens. A must-read! Great insights Pooky, you are and have always been a true Metaverse Visionary!