I’ll tell you right now, this isn’t about the demimonde. So feel free to check out now if that’s your only interest.
I’ve had an article saved on my desktop for almost a year now, always meaning to write about it but it ends up being put farther back in the queue of Things To Discuss On the Blog. But now I’m finally writing about it! It’s an article from Discover Magazine posing the question, “Do We Live in the Matrix?” with the subtitle posing the question to the reader of whether or not we’d want to know.
As a technological advancement, I find virtual reality exciting. As someone who grew up playing video games, and will probably start again in the future as a graduation gift after I’ve completed my Master’s, I would love to get my hands on the frakin’ cool oculus rift. True to my masochistic nature, total immersion in a horror game would be time well-spent. Beyond gaming, virtual reality could open up worlds of possibilities for people with various disabilities and handicaps. Let’s hear it for the World of Tomorrow, right?
But then….but then there’s the possibly scary virtual reality as posited by the article. That we, you and I and everyone we know, are simulations. That we do not live in reality. The Matrix came out a few months before my high school graduation and needless to say, my 18-year-old mind was blown by the possibility that my reality wasn’t reality. It was all anyone in my graduating class was talking about. Being smart-assed teenagers, naturally, we tried to levy this new way of looking at the world to our advantage. “Well Mr. [insert teacher’s name], what if none of this is real? Do I still have to do my homework? Yeah, THINK ABOUT IT!” The reply was usually any number of threats about not graduating or attending prom or whatever the teachers felt would make us sit down, shut up, and fly right.
Would you want to know “how deep the rabbit hole goes”? I’ve never had much use for living in a daily fantasy. I’m much to straightforward and while I like creating sensual and ideal spaces, they’re still based in a reality that is mine…and yours if we’re sharing it. So, scary as the possibility of being bytes in a simulation, I suppose my answer would be “yes”. It wouldn’t change how I live as a person but I can definitely see how some people would just snap. That could be dangerous for the rest of us. Simulation or not, reality has always been what we make of it. I say “yes” to knowledge, always, but to be completely honest this is the type of knowledge that would keep me up at night.
On that note, I’ll end this post with a few “software updates” for the Matrix creators if we are indeed living in one: 1) Can you please do something about spiders, centipedes, millipedes and other creepy-crawlies? I understand their role in our fragile ecosystem, but could you replace them with something that performs the same task but doesn’t look as gross?; 2) Can you please do something about the general assholery in the world? You know what I’m talking about; and 3) On a similar note, please update human programming not to reject sex, sexuality, and sensuality, aka the things that make life worth living, and prevent such glitches from ever happening again? There’s no reason that the very process that ensures life and most of our pleasures should cause a 403 Error.