Posted by steve on April 30, 2011
Perfect Paradise (PP) is virtual community in Second life (SL) focussed on learning about community and sustainability. I joined early on. My aim was to learn about community to be able to transfer the knowledge to my real-life (RL) community, now called Änggärdet.
Below is an account, written for the Island Newsletter, of why I joined and what happend during the first couple of years.
How I came to Perfect Paradise
For me, it all started when I read Dave Pollard’s blog suggesting that we needed to explore and develop as community beings (or that’s the way I read it.) His idea was to use the 3D role-playing platform Second Life to, in a safe environment, try things out.
For almost a century western culture has been becoming more individualist, material and money centric. We have been moving away from a culture of community, supportiveness, mutuality.
At the same time we have become mineral and fossil-fuel dependent, and despite the rise of pornography and laxer moral standards – less happy and less satisfied with intimate relations.
More and more people see the need to move forward, but the tricky question is how, when you are so entrenched in your daily life you need to find a temporary escape door. And I mean more forward to create a more sustainable way of life in the emotional, energy, economy and environmental.
Some people “get it”. These are the people to create a tribe with. When financial capital fails, and the bubble WILL burst in our lifetimes if we live to a statistical old age, when oil leaves us and it WILL in our lifetime, we need to be good at creating social capital. We will be at a point when we need each other like we have never needed people before. To me, if you “get” this, then you “get” PP.
At the same time I was working to establish a Real Life community, an eco village of the eco-unit type. I figured I could learn stuff in PP that could be applied to the eco-unit.
The parallels were amazing. The first thing was looking for land. I joined Harps and Mira on some expeditions. At the same time we were looking in RL for land.
The other parallel was the prospectus. Our little RL group got together to write one as an exercise in creating a common vision. Harps and Soj and I and several more started one for PP.
And the website of course. I started one on NING for PP and one for the RL group.
In terms of more social inventions the RL community introduced talking stick. We had some fun trying to get that to work in SL. We tried *passes the stick to Mira* and even wearing a Tibetan prayer wheel as the stick.
It was pretty amusing to see the parallels emerge in the two communities. Sometimes SL had come further, sometimes we had established more in RL.
One that sticks in my mind is the introduction of consensus. This was difficult in RL and equally difficult in SL. The material Harps and Sara did for SL though helped our RL community.
The other really difficult thing, probably still not resolved in either SL or RL is division of duties and responsibilities. I have heard complaints SL about “having to go and clear up prims people leave behind” and RL “why is it always me that gets lumbered with cutting the grass?”.
So here we are, three years on and PP is going strong, and our eco-village initiative has resulted in us buying land, forming a cooperative and starting to build an eco-house on it.
Perfect Paradise has been on the radio, and now our RL community has been featured in a radio programme.
There is a lot more to reflect on from my time in PP I will take a break here and leave you with some pictures contrasting PP and the eco-village.