Assassination Press

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday Editorial: Virtual Insanity?

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By James Knight (Assassination Press)



“Futures made of virtual insanity (now) Always seem to be govern'd by this love we have For useless, twisting, our new technology…”

“When things are big that should be small Who can tell what magic spells we'll be doing for us…”

Jamiroquai


If you had all that you ever wanted, what would you desire? If all your dreams came true, what would you dream of? Does something have the same value if you didn’t have to dream for it, plan for it, work for it, fuck for it, or find it?

If I was God and I said, “Fuck three wishes, I’m giving you an infinite supply”, what would you say? You’d probably be too busy kissing my ass to say anything. What if I then wave my invisible, but never-the-less, magic hand (unless it’s Sunday and then you will have to wait ‘till the next business day) and any wish your twisted little mind could come up with is granted. Would you be happily ever after?

Since the beginning of time, mankind has wanted to create a Utopia. For some, that Utopia was communal, for others it may have been individual. For some it may have been decadent, for others it may have been moral. Whatever a person or society’s ideal, whether imagined, attempted, or half-realized; the one thing all Utopia’s have in common is failure.

But mankind is persistent. You’ve got to at least give us that. Humankind is an autistic bunch of dumb-ass self-masochists. Got a wall? Got a head? Got a few thousand centuries? If we have the slightest inkling that something is on the other side of that wall, we’re going to beat ourselves silly for it. The great fairytale of Adam and Eve started it all and Adam set a precedent for the rest of us. We may be doomed, but God Damn it, we are definitely persistent motherfuckers.

Many ideals, once thought science fiction or insurmountable, have been realized. Perhaps with today’s technological advances our Utopia is right around the virtual corner. Our entertainment is on demand, our information is on demand, and any kind of pizza your heart could desire is on demand (which is pretty damn close to Utopia anyway). What is next?

We are probably only decades away from cloning ourselves (only the ‘best’ parts). But that will probably be flawed too. The copy is only as good as the original. Humankind isn’t exactly the best example to base a new super race on. In fact, it is pretty much guaranteed to be “FUBAR”. “DNA” really stands for Dangerous No-Good Assholes.

No, the only perfection possible is in something not human. Inhuman even. Those little wires, processors, and chipsets that are allowing you to view these words right now are going to allow you much more in the future.

I haven’t been watching “The Matrix” either. If anything, I’ve dreamt my digital dreams from the seeds planted by William Gibson’s cyber punk novels of the future (he is the person who coined “cyberspace”, among others). And how did Mr. Gibson come up with his ideas? He extrapolated on the reality of what was today. Take something, anything, and then extrapolate the possibilities by 100, 1000, 1,000,000. So, let’s take Mr. Gibson’s formula and apply it now…

What do we have today?

A computer, broadband connection, and a valid credit card can get you information, get you news, get you entertainment, get you video, get you audio, get you pictures, get pizza delivered to your door, and get you off.

What do we have in the future?

Extrapolate that by a million, billion, or gazillion, and you’ve got some flavor of Utopia (or at least some crazy fucker like Dennis Hopper in “Easy Rider” whispering in your ear, “Yeah maaan, it’s like, I’ll have mine with Pepperoni, Sausage, and some fucking Anchovies maaaaan…”.)

Some person, somewhere, at sometime, is going to find that magical little port into our brains and we will be jacked up to our own virtual reality. The clock is ticking; it’s just a matter of time. Bzzzzzzzzt. Goodbye to failure. Goodbye gasoline. Goodbye to that person who wouldn’t take your phone number last night. Presto! With the click of the hard drive and a few million neurotransmitters firing you’ve got yourself a free ride to anywhere and the best damn cybersex this side of Mars. Destination: Funky-town Baby!

The manipulation of our senses is not impossible. It’s just a matter of time before all our senses are plugged in, jacked up, and tuned into a virtual reality that would seem as real as the world you exist in today. Imagine a world where everything you see, touch, hear, smell, and feel is nothing but ones and zeroes designed to make your dreams come true. It’s hard to contemplate.

See, after you’ve conquered your virtual world, what’s left? You’ve sexed up the best there is to offer, been on vacations to every real or imagined place in your mind, spent more money than could ever be printed, and played with all the toys. What’s next? Okay, let’s say you “really really really” like sex (I know, it’s a stretch, but bear with me). Let’s say you “really really really” like jet setting around, spending money, and playing with all the toys you can dream up. You “really really really” like doing it so much, you do it a few million times. In cyberspace, that can happen in the blink of an eye. Time also has no meaning, so you could do it all in a heartbeat. What are you going to do with all your other heartbeats? Think about this now. Let it swirl around in your head for a moment. Anything your heart desires has been given to you. Not just once, but a few million times.

Would you start craving adversity? Would you start craving to work toward your goals and feel the reward that comes with achievement? Maybe you’d plug in and plug out a little bit. Just enough time to realize the imperfections of the real world and then go hide in your virtual reality for some “down time”. Maybe. But, shit, you’ve already done that a bazillion times. It’s old. Dennis Hopper, ala “Easy Rider”, is back and whispering in your ear, “yeah maaaan, you’ve been there, done that maaaan. It’s as old as your grandmother’s crusty underwear maaaan”.

Perhaps, just perhaps, imperfection is perfection. Sure, we all want a better world. There are some things that are just so fucked up that we have to fix them. But perhaps a world where the worst no longer exists, but the best is still a paycheck away is the most we can hope for. Maybe the 80’s band “Loverboy” was really sage and omniscience (versus just pop rock fluff) when saying, “Everybody is working for the weekend. Everybody wants a little romance. Everybody's goin' off the deep end. Everybody needs a second chance, oh…”

Definitely, these are things to think about. But for now I’m going to go find some cyber babes…


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10 Comments:

Anonymous ghetto philosopher said...

I think it was the part about the imperfections of the real world... I think i just had a real glimpse of my future as a crotchety old bugger who can't quite get a grip on the fact that he's never going to do what he could have done, and technology just ain't gonna cut it. Think i even had a glimpse of the feeling a person gets when he finds out he's going to croak of some human imperfection or biological failure due to his own personal neglect. But then again, I could just be feeling nihilistic. Think I'll Just read another blog and forget about the fact that we're all pretty well fucked up existentialist egomaniacs. And try to come to terms with the fact that I will probably never remember how to find this blog again and find out that nobody cares to respond to my little diatribe. That said, peace out.

5:02 PM  
Blogger dvius said...

oh my god dude! Such true words!!!! I know this sounds really stupid, but that just makes so much sense. I have been wrestling with these kind of things in my head and there you go nailing it!! and I thought reading other blogs are a waste of time... :p

Fukin good on u! I'm placing a link to that post on my site!

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