One thing I have in common with a close friend of mine in SL is that neither of us want to mix Second Life and our real lives at all. I’ll say more on this another time, because it’s what my friend said next that feeds this blog entry. She said she didn’t want to do anything to disturb the illusion.

The word “illusion” felt funny to me, but it seemed like a completely fair word. I mean, while in one sense I’m wearing a formal green gown, flapping my wings, and hovering in a boutique that sells dance animations, I’m not physically there. I’m not … really there.

Except I am too, aren’t I? In real life we have touch and taste and smell along with the sight and hearing we have in Second Life, and it’s true that Second Life is created by sending electricity through microchips, but does that mean the experience isn’t real? If I laugh when I’m flying through a storm of soap bubbles in Second Life, isn’t that real joy? If I spend time with someone, and care about how that person feels, and share experiences with that person, isn’t that a real relationship?

But it’s not what I’m used to thinking of as real. The *emotional* part of it is real: joy, annoyance, eagerness, love. It’s just all the trappings that are appearance. But then, real life, while much realer than Second Life, is a little like that, too. What we see on the outside isn’t necessarily a true indication of everything that lies within, and when we touch what we feel is our electrons repelling each other–meaning my atoms and your atoms never really come together in real life, either. But our hearts can … whether we’re talking by making vibrations in the air with our vocal cords or by making pixels on a screen with our keyboards. Love is always real.