The topic of this report is one that this writer has observed, participated in and encouraged, many times during our years of adventures in Second Life. To the uninitiated and the newbie, SL may seem like an alternative life, an escape from the real world, just another form of addiction, an interactive boob-tube. As we mature, with age, our attention evolves from self interest to finding useful ways to be of service to all. To be of service to others, we need a connection with groups of others. This "urge to merge" could be called the Gathering Principle and can be seen at all levels of nature, from sub-atomic particles to whole galaxies. After being on SL a number of years, your reasons for staying evolved from "what fun is in it for me" to "How can I make this fun for everybody". What started as an addiction evolved into devotion to an altruistic ideal. Creating gatherings in SL is a means of computer modeling different formulas, used to gather, to find that which best complies with the universal laws of nature,a.k.a., divine will.
Second Life answers nature's call to gather with countless venues for gathering. Most are based on real life examples, like arenas, Dance Clubs and recreational areas. Second Life also seems to be big on little gathering locations and furniture, such as gazebos, campfires and our favorite, cuddle baskets. The larger gatherings require advanced preparations and notices sent out, to get large crowds at their events. The clubs enjoy large groups, because it raises their position in search engines of best places to visit in SL. Gatherings, like all things in the worlds of form, contain a mix of yin/yang (male/female) energies. Because larger gatherings contain elements of pre-planning and competition (best in theme, best avatar mods, best jokes and puns, etc.), the energy leans toward the male, electric, radiant energies, like those of the central sun in a solar system. On the other hand, small gatherings lean more to the female, magnetic, absorbent energies and are like the planets in a solar system. Competition is replaced by a cooperative spirit. Instead of trying to be the best individual of the group, those in small, spontaneous gatherings tend to assist the others to become more group oriented, more skilled at modding and more light-hearted and joyful, all of which makes them better, more useful members of the whole, larger community.
Our interest in small, spontaneous gatherings is not new. We have been planning to write about them for years, in the hope that understanding and using them would benefit residents in both SL and RL. The impetus to sit down and begin writing about them was sparked by a spontaneous gathering, that took place about a week ago.
Before describing the unplanned gathering, let's rewind a bit and examine the thinking that led up to it. To do this, we will need to break with convention and introduce Sha's RL player, a Moonchild called Rick. As a design engineer, creating 3D parts for machines that test circuit boards, the Moonchild's dream was to develop the ability to use 3D animations that would enlighten the minds of viewers. Sha broke from her usual routine, for 55 days, to create a 35 minute HD video about her favorite community. Pretty awesome build, for a first timer. The Moonchild had dreamed of this for decades.
Getting back to our gathering story, it seemed that the finished video got no views or comments. We begin to feel like a sun with no planets, a lonely falling star. It was hard to begin writing again, not knowing if we had an audience. At this point, Sha logs in, late night, with little question marks buzzing around her head. Who am I, why are we here and should I pay my rent now? Some house cleaning finished, we seek a little company and notice some friends are at Cutlass. Flying up, we talk with Rita about the local "cum see cum saws" [Fr. this and that], and mention some space junk, floating above the castle, that needs removal. Rita and Sha fly up and clear the junk, then hover and continue chatting. We were soon joined by Felina and, around these parts, "three's a party". The party moved to Felina's new back yard deck, with fire pit and surround seating. Within minutes, others arrived, one by one and joined us around the fire, until there were ten gathered, including Bixyl. Because this gathering was late night and on a private sim, there is a feeling of inner circle sanctity. Everybody enjoyed the topics of conversation and Elders Rita and Sha each gave short lectures on handy ways of storing mods and outfits in inventory. The spontaneous gathering lasted to the wee hours of the morning. We left with feelings of being uplifted and connected to a community of caring individuals. For us, it cured our writer's block. We've got a big box of words here. Stay tuned to see which ones we pull out after our next gathering adventure.