Words, Words, Words…

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The last few weeks have been about words for me in both our fair Caledon and the world beyond, more so even then normal in many curious and unexpected ways. The way they inform, the way they obscure, the way they can help or hurt depending on who speaks them and more importantly, who hears them…and especially the way they shape our sense of community.

Several instances both within the Metaverse and without have served to illuminate and in some ways perhaps change the way I view this essential part of our intellectual and emotional worlds. This in turn has led me to a slightly different understanding of what we call Caledon, hopefully a more insightful one.

Over the last fortnight I have been quietly watching the power of words create, shake and in some cases redefine communities, be they in Second Life, other online venues, or in real life. As examples, I cite the following:

The accusations and ultimate dropping of charges against the Duke Lacrosse Team.

The sudden spotlight on the long standing problem of verbal attacks, often gender based, in the Blogosphere.

An attempt by major figures to create a consensus Code of Conduct for said Blogosphere and the resistance to that.

The firing of a major radio personality known for his objectionable comments for absurdly racist and sexist remarks, and the groundswell of support he received.

The minor confusion and controversy in Caledon over the epithets and courtesy used in our charitable war.

The curious joy that posting my random thoughts and nonsense to this blog has brought me, as returning to writing after a hiatus due to injury and ennui has filled me with a great sense of well-being.

All of these are situations, ranging from the mortal to the sublime, where words have had consequences to their respective communities far beyond the intentions or wildest dreams of the participants. In fact, I would be tempted to say that community, and our understanding of such things, are created almost entirely of words, as if the sense of belonging and shared purpose that surrounds the best communities were a finely woven net of words.

That is one of the reasons I treasure our Caledon so deeply. The way that the vision of one man expanded to be the vision of a handful…and now is a thing developed and nurtured by an ever expanding number of us. It is a prime example of a powerful and thriving community created and sustained almost completely by words and their power.

With very little said formally, a flexible and generous code of behavior and conduct has risen amongst us to preserve the vision and friendliness of Caledon, and more then that, a powerful understanding of one another. Many of us were confused by the fact that our war taunts were causing pain to people since we knew, in our bones, that they were meant in jest. We understood that implicitly as we understand our Caledonian neighbors, and could not understand why an outsider did not see that as well. I know I was certainly guilty of that misunderstanding.

We expect and assume civility, grace and intelligence from our Caledonian neighbors. I had the privlidge some days back to have a conversation in Tanglewood with Mr, Whittlesea, Miss Tombola and Miss Lightfoot as we all remarked on the fact that civility and good spirits were the norm in Caledon, so much so that when someone DOES seem to be “cantankerous” it is out of place and a bit jarring…like a soprano singing flat.

So much of what we take as a given on the mainland is unheard of in Caledon, due to the power of our community and the words that support it. I truly believe that what has been created here in this dozen or so Sims is quite unique in the Metaverse, perhaps unique online.

These last few weeks, as I have watched ill spoken words tear apart communities, it has reminded me all the more so what a treasure we have in Caledon, and how we must be careful with the words we use within it, even towards our so called enemies. Words can preserve and extend all that we love here, or bring it slowly crashing down around us, yet another failed experiment.

The choice between those two fates rest with each and every one of us, and the next words we may speak.

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2 Comments

  1. Well spoken, my Love.

  2. What your love in life said.

    While I may not attend another ball for some time (I keep forgetting), I adore wandering Caledon, in all its multiple manifestations. Even should I wander in in clothes–hrm–unbefitting to a lady?–the most that has ever happened is some kind gentle pointing me towards Silver Rose’s charitable dress box.

    I think it’s a far cry from even my beloved Rivula, where I have been shot in the face.

    Twice.


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