I sometimes need to sit back and regroup, and try to remember that the reality that my animator lives in is the same reality shared by the animators of all the avatars I see around me.
I have made it my habit, and will continue to make it my habit, to treat my fellow avatars exactly as how they appear. I treat a woman avatar as a woman, even when I know that the avatar’s animator is in fact a man. I treat a dog avatar as a dog, a child avatar as a child, a dragon avatar as a dragon. This is my reality, as it is theirs. The physical world shared by the animators of these souls matters little to me. It is that part of the soul that the animator has placed into this world that I deal with.
At the same time, there is a danger in taking this thinking too far. The very existence of an avatar in SL says something about the reality of that avatar’s animator. To create an avatar, an animator must have a computer of some power (or at the very least work at a job that gives them access to a computer of this power). They must have high-speed Internet access. They must posses a reasonable level of computer literacy.
In other words, few of the, “unwashed masses” are here in SL. The animators are not children who are starving in Bangladesh, or homeless men starving on the streets of Chicago. There are many wounded souls here in SL, and widely varying levels of emotional maturity. But, while there are also many levels of income among animators, it is reasonably safe to assume that very few live at the poverty level.
Which ties to another perspective that is easy to lose…the value of the Linden. I am currently charging L$1500 for one of my paintings. I originally charged L$100 for the same work, and even then felt guilty about the amount I charged. I did this until some art friends of mine reminded me that, to the animator of the avatar, L$100 was only about 37 cents US. One would be very hard pressed to find a candy bar for this cost in RL. My L$1500 work of art is less than $6 US. Art of ANY quality is not available for this cost in RL.
When I charge this much for a painting, I am not keeping the underprivileged masses from possessing it for the underprivileged masses are not here. I merely say that this work is something of value, not something to be tossed into a freebie box and put up as an afterthought into some McMansion. The work is there for all to see; no charge is made to view it. To posses it requires merely requires a touch on animators’ bank account. For less than the cost of lunch at Denny’s, one can possess a work of art that both avatar and animator can enjoy for years to come. I should not charge more than what the market will bare for the work, of course, but neither should I undervalue it just to make a few extra Lindens.
An item of value should be treated as such, otherwise an item of value will not be recognized as such.