5 Apr 2023

Metaquette #Metaverse #Empathy #FutureoftheMetaverse #Humanity #Allinthistogether

Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with.........Pooky Amsterdam 

One of the great benefits of our modern times is the ability to share information across the world and in real time. A recent discussion on a Telegram thread created by the awesome Remco Sikkema called See You In The Metaverse  😎🚀 has sparked this blog. There was mention of bullying and toxic behavior on Discord and other platforms by someone who has first hand experience with those who create such destructive havoc. Remco said, "Somehow I hope the Metaverse brings back a form of personal safety. Because the internet cannot provide it in the end." And it got me thinking of the future, and the future of The Metaverse.

Q: Can The Metaverse bring back a form of personal safety?

That which enables people to harass, disrespect and harm others during our very short time on Earth is problematic. The moderator who was talking about this kind of egregious behavior made note of mental health issues, which makes sense. Crossing those kinds of borders where "I" think it's okay to anonymously push "you" around is not all right. This point was brought home in a conversation with a friend, who I greatly respect. He said, "'You' have no idea who 'I' am until you have walked a mile in my shoes."  

Which made me think of how the Metaverse can help people understand one another more, and if we understand each other more, maybe we will not be so ready to inflict harm. Because if I hurt you, I hurt myself. And so this is part of the Empathy Trials which The Metaverse can accomplish in ways that any other platform can not. What do I mean by this? Here is an example:

One of my friends in The Metaverse was male irl, but played as a female avatar, for a variety of reasons, he said the shopping experience was much better for one. He also noted to me that before he played as a female, he had no idea the amount of catcall and intimidating type behaviors women and girls are subjected to. His experience as a woman, informed him in ways that just being told...women are harassed on the street, could not. He had an Empathy Trial so to speak, and in that learned something very valuable.

Imagine in the future, as part of the Human Contract with our lifetime, we had to complete a form of certification which showed we understood how other people lived, and how other people felt.  Because if you knew how my life was, and that it had hardship, danger and troubles just like yours, it might reduce any need for aggressive behavior. If you could really feel what I was going through, that is.

In the Metaverse we can take on an avatar of any color, race, sex and / or religion. We could live in an area where our beliefs were not shared by the majority of others around us.  We would have to get out of our echo chambers. We could virtually live in a ghetto or slum or trailer park. We could see what extreme poverty was like and also examine how vulnerable we felt in a variety of different circumstances. Or as a man / male-identifying, one could play as female / female-identifying and vice a versa. All this could help demystify the differences between us and bring us closer together as a human species, for we are more alike, certainly physiologically in so many ways, than we are different.

And we would need to exist in this form for a certain amount of time, a time in which we might begin to identify with that other person, one whom we might not have had any sympathy for otherwise. Imagine we would learn to hate less, and hopefully begin to see ourselves as a part of a greater humanity. These Are the Empathy Trails we could offer in The Metaverse. 

The great Nonny de la Pena has created these kinds of situations virtually, with her Emblematic Group which is a triumph of immersive storytelling. Through her work, people have experienced what it is like in Gitmo, The US/ Mexican Border, Bombing in Syria and Hunger in Los Angeles, for examples. Would we not be better people if we had to face what our horrified reactions are,  how we wanted it to stop and how living someone else's life makes us feel? This opens our eyes and hearts to the "other" among us. And it has helped heal wounds, because if I can help you, I can help heal myself.

Wouldn't it be amazing if in order to go further in a game, or platform we had to participate in some kind of virtual community service as part of the TOS? Or to level up? Or as a consequence for bullying another player in the game, we would have to take on something of their persona for a while, or be banned? 

Clicking a mile in someone else's virtual shoes IS possible in the Metaverse. This should be something we desire to learn, it would make us more rounded, caring, human and less afraid. We have seen what hate, uncontrolled behavior and violence does....tragically. Both anger and fear limit greatly what we can accomplish in our very short lifetimes, we need to embrace the Family Human in all our manifestations. Let us feel better about ourselves and others through The Metaverse.

Bring on The Empathy Trials! 

If you have a question, please send it to info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line and it will be answered.