Coming of age in second life: an anthropologist explores the virtually human / Tom Boellstorff. p. cm. . cuses on sexuality in Indonesia (Boellstorff , ). Tom Boellstorff says about his book “Coming of age in second life” that “one goal of this book’s analysis is to argue for a rehabilitation and. Review: Coming of Age in Second Life by Tom BoellstorffThe movement from techno-idealism to disillusion is recapitulated here in accelerated.

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Life bring to me today a great opportunity. I founded on this book some times informations and ideas which confirm my apprehension, some time choices and ideas which I don’t agree with but in the end, it was a great benefit for me. Traditionally, the anthropologist use words to share the result of researches and inquiries and some time just a word can be topic discussion or even disagree.

The use of dictionary don’t help all the time specially when people have different mother language. But that’s the way, and it’s an interesting way for an anthropologist because word are created by human and maybe are the first step in the virtualization of the world.

Second Life/Boellstorff (2008)/Coming of age in Second Life and coming of age in First Live

For me this supra definition of virtual worlds can be a source of confusion. This confusion appears by the same way than we can say human is animal but we can’t say animal is human. I think that a mistake to focus the adjective virtual on the cyberspaces. Lot of things created by humanity are virtual and a danger can rise when people take a virtual thing like for example money for real in the philosophical sense.

But if we follow this French definition of the word actual: In the second live case, Tom Bukowski, the avatar of Tom Boellstorff only exists when the computer using by the author is connected with the virtual world. So, this logic show the situation inverse of the proposition of the author.

Also, second live never disappears so such the server that contain data exist and stay accessible. In regard of this, is that place virtual or actual? For a science fiction book there is no doubt, the answer is the book is actual and the story virtual but for what is occurring on the second live server?

Is it not actual? One can say, I’m speculating on words, that’s right, but words like concepts are tolls in anthropology and it’s important, I mean, to talk about most appropriated tolls for an appropriated understanding.

I just think than words virtual and actual aren’t adequate to indicate a situation inside and outside of second live. The ambiguous binarism virtual-actual thus don’t look very helpful in this anthropological field.

Based on these definitions, second live can be considered like a reality but not real in the French philosophical sense because second live don’t exist autonomously, and is a certainly a product of thought. The virtual is fully real in so far as it is virtual. So we are going in circles but maybe there is a way to avoid all ambiguities created by terms virtual, actual, real and so on.

Summary of Boellstorff (), Coming of Age in Second Life | media/anthropology

How might porosity and interchange, in what some might see as a paradox, work to shore up notions of discreteness, in Second Comibg and elsewhere? Also, I agree with the fact than a place like second live isn’t a game event resident can play inside but that a fact too that Human behaviors are strongly influenced by time and place. Mister Tom Boellstorff, Professor Tom Boellstorff and the avatar Tom Bukowski are the same entity and the behavior of boellstprff entity change according to the constraints and resources posed by time and place.


In conclusion of this part I would like to say, constraints and resources posed by times and places are more heuristically important than the fact that times and places are virtual, actual or even real. By this sentence extract from the part of the book dedicated to describe the everyday second live a new topic.

If in this case it’s used like an abuse of language that can also rise questions about hardware used to create and contain second live. Except in transcendental reflection like Plato’s philosophy there isn’t idea creation without brain. And in the brain ideas can also instantaneously disappear if there is no memory. One of biggest power of human is certainly the ability to create idea, what is one of most narcissistic distinction with animals, communicate ideas, what is more or less the condition boeklstorff culture, and extended memory support, what is maybe the origin of the gap cooming oral and writing culture in term of domination.

Aage what is second except a big storage of ideas located inside an interactive place. Of course memory can be encompassed in techne but if it boelpstorff part of techne, it is a very important part at least with respect to a place like second life.

In term of material second live indeed exist inside a big server composed largely of boellstoeff drives which is the computer memory. On this hard drives, resident’s and company’s ideas are stored like with a two letters alphabet on a big electromagnetic book.

Coming of Age in Second Life

What is different between the world of second life and a book’s boelpstorff like lord of the rings, that’s the opportunity to change and grow up the world and by the way the story, by bringing and sharing new ideas in a continue interaction between all residents. This interaction is only possible on a quickly modifiable and with the use off elaborated computer which translate a binary language in understandable human signs.

Create by this way a new world from two alphabetic signs is the fruit of a long technical evolution inside writing cultures.

That’s techne, and that seams incredible, but the universe itself would be made of a blend of three different particles. For me, it is not surprising that capitalism finds a place and flourish in virtual worlds because capitalism arose from the property and money which are all virtual in nature.

The money, for example, created to simplify and secure business transactions in an expanding commercial world, has become today the main means of speculation and manipulation that humans use in a game of power to exploit other humans. For several decades, money is mostly made up of computer data. All these data are virtual values which far exceeds currencies in circulation and probably also the real value of wealth possessed by humans.

All this money is created by banks and states with use tools of speculation such as coefficients of cash and leverage loans.


During this time, people manipulated by the dogmas of market and employability execute tasks to earn money to live. In this way and in a global network, people find themselves alienated by the need to earn money that will enable them to appropriate resources privatized by somebody else. This causes a real danger of self destruction when people in an endless search for money comes to destroy vital resources by polluting for example, atmosphere, water and soil, without thinking that this money is aimed precisely to obtain vital resources that they are destroying.

On sedentary writing culture like western culture the notion of propriety is very strong and in second world like in western world, ideas came intellectual propriety for the first who can fix it on a labeled support protected by copy right even he is not the thinker of the idea.

That can be problematic because propriety and by extension private propriety, can be defined as a set of goods that the owner can deny the use of or access to other people or others living species. But this privatization creates frustration, jealousy and imbalance. That require other people or living species that can afford, to get equivalent goods whereas in most cases, private good are standing by.

In bpellstorff case of manufactured goods, this requires an increasing manufacture and thus an exhaustion of resources that might be useful, today or tomorrow, to other causes as to other people or living species.

This concept of property may also give rise to selfish attitudes which derive poverty and indifference toward the poorest. This indifference creates at the heart of our cities as between nations many feelings of hatred and revolt.

Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human by Tom Boellstorff

Yet, it is often by chance than a person became owner of property. This chance is the one to be or born to the right place, at the right time, and to have or receive sufficient physical or mental capacities.

In conclusion of this work, I would like to boeellstorff than play with the virtual is maybe safer in cyberspaces than in other places.

In informatics this stay reversible when a backup is done boellstorfd like in the natural spaces. We are living right now a time of ecological and geopolitical crises that appear all around our planet, and I suspect this ability of human to believe on virtual things more than natural things to take a main part in the origin of all these crises. Now, History will tell us what will come out of ideological battles that are determining boeplstorff future of humanity like for example this battle between that occur today between the gift culture and the creationist capitalism culture.

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