Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not Quite Reality

Clutched in the throes of an early morning fever dream, I could suddenly see clearly, lucidly, that computers are a huge lie.
Virtual Reality.
The use of the word 'virtual' is a cozening. Rather than saying fake reality, which would be more accurate, virtual suggests what the computer offers is just a little bit short of being actual reality. It's nearly there, a difference so small as to be hardly worth mentioning.
That difference, however, is an entire universe. Water and a rock have infinitely more in common.
The lie spreads, as well. The "Internet," the largest repository of information in the history of mankind, is largely unverified, unsubstantiated, and usually agenda driven. Navigation of this interlocked web of opinions, lies, half-truths and occasional substantiated fact is increasingly difficult. The basest of lies are couched in attractive professionally designed and executed pages. Failure to update and manipulate keywords and search engine optimizations can drive bona fide information into backwater pages that only the most diligent of searchers can find.
Before the advent of the internet, factual accuracy was substantiated in the pre-publication editing process. Now, factual accuracy is debated post publishing.
Perhaps it is not just the computer - but technology on the whole.
Text messaging has supplanted voice to voice contact. Text messaging is 'virtual' reality. All of the nuances of grammar and voice inflection are lost, pared down to a bare string of characters speaking in cliches.
Online gaming features teams in different parts of the globe fighting intergalactic battles without ever seeing each other, even the members of the same team, thrashing away in their darkly lit upstairs or basement bedrooms.
Thanks to computers and technology we have an entire generation losing touch with their basic humanity, socialization skills atrophying, yet convinced of their intellectual superiority because they have the internet at their fingertips and can find "proof" for whatever it is they want to think.
Computers are a calculator, television and typewriter rolled into one. They are nothing more despite our continued efforts to raise them up on some ungodly technologic altar.
What did we say in the 60s? Tune in. Turn on. Drop out!
Perhaps someone should be telling today's youth to Turn off. Unplug. Experience reality.

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