Virtual Sick

It was almost 20 years ago now.  I was chatting with an Australian while I was down there building a big e-mail system.

“You know, in the future, we will be able to share things electronically.”

“Yes,” I said.  “That’s good.”

“We will have virtual world to enter from anywhere.”

“Yes,” I said.  “That’s good.”

“And eventually, they will be 3d.”

“Yes,” I said.  “That’s good.”

“And we can have jacks into our brains and sense the experience completely.”

“Yes,” I said.  “That’s good.”

“Then we can get rid of our bodies completely!”

“Wait,” I said.  “I think that may be going too far.”

“You bloody old-minded luddite!  Can’t accept any progress at all, can you!” he retorted.

I am sick of the virtual.  My entire life for the past decade or so can be stored on a 700Mb CD-ROM, the notes, the essays, the mails, the chat logs, the web sites and so on.  It’s all freeze dried into text, all filtered though a keyboard, and what wasn’t stored may as well not exist.

This viruality may be a good way to express the eternal — after all, from the moment we are born our flesh starts to die and our story starts to grow, and when the flesh dies to the world, all that is left is story — but it’s not a good way to live a life.

Somehow, when the requirement in the world of flesh is to try to play nice, to meet expectations to get what we need, that can often channel our unpleasant feelings into the world of the virtual.  In that world, we don’t have to be considerate and gracious, don’t even have the range of feedback to see the cues, context and nuance that others convey to us, and that means we can vent and spew venom without caring about the effects of our actions.

Since the virtual world so clearly exists in our own head, something that the metaphysical teachers also say about the so called “real” world but that we find harder to remember, it’s easy to think that everyone else’s actions in that world are about us, and not about them.  In theory, this distance, this lack of bandwidth could allow us to be more considerate and gracious about our choices, but in practice, as most of us have found out, it usually means we can be more selfish and self-centered in our posturing, dismissal and attacks.

I have been virtual way too long.  And it means I am off the real-world grid, not getting what I need, but getting others own virtual drama, often detritus from their own life and pain.

And I’m sick of it.

One thought on “Virtual Sick”

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