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second life for the world! by john s

second life for the world!  by john s

i wanta write to my peers that they have hope, inspiration, and direction. i wanta write to non-disabled world to give them insight, knowledge and to provoke them to action.  the internet offers so many tools now.  there are so many ways it can help.

right now i have two primary places i visit when i'm online, second life and our blog.  i've also used the internet to study countries and current events.  these days i'm eager to interact with the world in my small allotment of online time. second life and the blog are equally important to me for different reasons. they have both increased my personal sence of self worth. they offer channels to contribute what i have to offer to the world. everyone hs something to offer. my virtual self has the voice i've always wanted to have and in many ways it allows me to be the person i feel i was born to be.

i wish i had a computer at home so i could be online more. i also wish i had a staff who knew how to use it and would run it for me. infact i wish this for all the disabled who want a voice because of all its done for me.  we need more people who can lend themselves to drawing us out and assist us with technology, type what we want said, follow our directives, be our hands.  the world needs more people like my mascot who find joy in doing so.

if i had unlimited access to the internet and a computer i would begin investing my time learning, blogging, playing sl(second life), take a graphics class so i could create expressive artistic thngs, i'd write about my experiences, the many lessons i've learned, i want to share this with the world. 

some specific things i've gotten from sl and the blog. (not a complete list) i feel i have the chance to meet folk and potentially form quality friendships. i can create things i see in my imagination. i feel respected. its my chance to be seen and known. i feel like i suddenly count. i've learned new computer skills and feel it lets me get my voice out. its given me a way to give back to my dayprogram (helped get them the new computer). it gives me a chance to hear back from others how i effect them. i'm excited to speak to the world. i want them to hear and know. i'm hopeful for what it will grow into.

its like being rescued after drifting what seemed like a lifetime at sea. like a huge and heavy weight being lifted. i'm expectant and hungry for the more! like a door i've been banging on was finally opened, or like being born for the first time. it feels like what i imagine it would be like to suddenly be able to walk. or how i imagine an innocent man whose been locked up wrongly feels when he's finally set free. at times i just want to cry. i feel like an artist with a paint brush. i fill with excitement and wonder when i think of the future now.

it gives me a chance to call my own shots. most 32 year olds are allowed to do that without question. for me people are always talking about giving me choices and empowerment, but all too often they just take it away! then they expect me to feel good and put my seal of approval, my blessing on the process.

thinking of the future there are many things i hope will happen.  i'd like to see an exodus of people leaving the boxed in worlds we have known our whole lifes and migrating to the new world... the virtual world... the internet...  where they can know what i have known.  we hear that platitude that we are not our bodies.  using the internet allows us to not be only our bodies.  it feeds the soul and allows it to manifest itself however it seems fit.

i'd like to see more people equiped with both hardware to support their assorted needs, as well as train up caregivers who act like human interfaces as needed.  these caregivers looking into the heart and soul of the people they work with becoming their hands, their voices, operating their computers when necassary.  not just people who will cook for us and clean for us, but who see us inside of ourselves and assist us in being who we were born to be, and who ENJOY  it!

a personal dream i have is to see something simular to the brain computer interface technology released to the masses.  a computer chip implanted which we can use our very well developed brains (via brainwaves) to control a mouse, a keyboard, and be released to the world we've been imprisioned from.  the technology is out there and slowly, ever so slowly, it grows.  i yearn to see this for many. i want it so badly for myself.   i also want such freedom for others.   

i dream we are on the brink of a new time for people with extreme physical challenges.  i see the vast online world as part of the answer.  virtual communities like second life filling in the gaps that the physical world leaves gaping.  for me, and i can only speak for myself, its been the most transforming thing to happen to me in all my adult life.  the world should know.  others should profit too.  the time is now to move forward and leave this season behind.

Posted by group mascot on February 23, 2005 at 05:12 PM in john s's writings | Permalink


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you are gifted, you do count, you are artists. I love that technology can bring you a voice, creativity, respect, self worth, choices, hunger, excitement, freedom, wonder and dreams. the world definitely needs more mascots to assist you in being who you were born to be. wishes can come true.
love and blessings

Posted by: Anne Marie Bellavance | Feb 24, 2005 10:49:09 PM

John S... this was *tremendously* inspiring to me! I can relate to so many things you have said so well. I feel freedom too and it is yummy (in my case, tastes like watermelons). Some things I have not been able to communicate well before I can do adeptly on Second Life.

I myself find keyboards pretty clunky, especially because of the QWERTY layout, but not only that, because on the whole keyboarding is quite slow. I really am an advocate for ease of communication so that you can express yourself as naturally as you feel like.

Your use of analogies had me smiling a lot... because I like to use them to color language and get my points across in a humorous yet meaningful way. Like a dam breaking, once the water of your ideas flow, they can't be stopped! That being said . . .

KEEP MOVING FORWARD! *cheers you and the crew on* :D

Posted by: Torley | Feb 26, 2005 5:56:42 PM

John S., you've remined me once again of things that I tend to take for granted in my life. The internet is a lot more for you than just time at the computer . It is a way for you to connect with others & not be bound by the physical limitations to such an extent as before. Your personality, creativity and intelligence are finally getting the chance to shine! While I know they should have had that chance all along, I'm so glad it's finally happening for you now!

Posted by: elizabeth | Feb 26, 2005 8:37:43 PM

Simply wonderful. When people ask me "how can technology help people with physical disabilities," from now on I'm just going to point them to this post. It speaks volumes more than I could ever hope to explain. Thank you for sharing it.

Posted by: John Prototype | Mar 1, 2005 10:55:47 AM

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