Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Of Gods and Men

It occurs to me that Second Life and ancient mythology have a lot in common.  I don't mean that SL looks like ancient Greece or Rome, although parts of it certainly do.  But in the world of mythology, the gods were known to come down from Mount Olympus and walk among mortals.  They were often disguised, appearing just like any other person.  But sometimes they revealed themselves, inspiring awe and fear.  Also, the ancients gave their gods the same failings as mortals.  They bickered and squabbled among themselves, they could be besotted or jealous, petty or petulant, angry and vengeful.  Above all, they could be capricious, and there was darn little the poor mortals could do except try hard not to come to their notice.

And so it is in Second Life.  Our gods are the Lindens, and they dwell in San Francisco, not on Mount Olympus.  We entreat them; we revere those who, like ancient priests, seem to have their ear.  We bemoan their capricious changes to our viewer, the Terms of Service, the Marketplace and the world.

The gods walk among us in Second Life.  Sometimes openly, such as the time I attended a Concierge party and Leo Linden showed up (as a lion avatar, naturally) and good-naturedly allowed the Residents to pelt him with bricks, anvils from the sky, and all manner of things.  Sometimes they wear disguises.  I was at the arrival point of Caledon Oxbridge University not long ago, greeting newcomers.  One newbie girl appeared, and I reeled off my standard greeting and offered to answer questions or provide assistance.  Then the girl opened an IM and said, "Hi Lindal.  I'm really Lexie Linden.  I'm checking out the newcomer spots to see how they're treating new residents."

Well, I was very glad I hadn't said something biting or sarcastic to her!  Here was someone who could end my Second Life on a whim.  Not that I think she really would;  Lexie was never anything but pleasant to me.  But you can bet I was suddenly very much on my best behavior.

Sometimes we encounter gods from other pantheons, too.  I remember the story one resident told about the man she met in SL.  This fellow seemed to be a braggart -- he went on about how he was some sort of minor royalty in Real Life, and had a huge mansion, and this collection of classic cars, and a yacht, yadda yadda yadda.  She didn't believe him of course; who would?  But in the end it turned out that the guy was telling the truth!

Be nice to your fellow Second Life residents.  You never know -- one of them could be a god or goddess in disguise. 

EDIT:  Glorf, were you thinking of this?


  1. Traditionally, you are meant to recognize them by their heels and the backs of their legs as they are walking away....

    Well, it always works in Homer, anyway. I'm not sure how that translates into SL!

  2. I've always been suspicious that Lindens are like gods from mythology, often spoken of but seldom seen. At least not by anyone still living. But, I have a question. How do you know it was really Lexie Linden? The Good Book speaks of false prophets in the Final Days. Without the telltale blue dot, can we be sure that it really is a Linden?

  3. Lindal, I am quite sure that is *exactly* what Homer had in mind!