Tuesday, January 02, 2007

With the advent of the 5th generation video game consoles (older generations consoles can also be included in this) the line between real and virtual is becoming more and more blurred. A person can be a tennis Pro without ever having picked up a racket, a guitar Hero without ever striking a cord, a dancing Celebrity without ever stepping foot inside a studio, or even have a license to kill without ever actually handling a weapon. Our lives are becoming more and more virtual, and yet we don’t hesitate to indulge in these “realities” until what is real no longer exists in our minds. Way back when, in my senior year of high school, a friend and I were in a science knowledge competition at Millersville University (just call me super-nerd) with dozens of other high schoolers from across the state. After all the tests were scored and awards handed out there was a guest speaker who was a futurist and spoke on how things would be years from now. While I don’t recall a tremendous amount of data from his talk, I do recall him discussing the virtual realities that would invade our being and become our lives away from life.

The speaker talked about a device that every person would own. We would all go to work as our real self and come home and spend the rest of our waking hours in a virtual world where our lives were exactly what we wanted thanks to this giant machine. Step inside the box and instantly you were a rock star or singing diva. The line between what was real and what wasn’t, no longer existed as true reality exists only in the mind. If our mind preserves it to be real, then it is.

Just recently while performing open-heart surgery on a patient with my trusty nurse Angie by my side I found myself completely absorbed in my work, completely oblivious to the physical world around me. The only down side to this is that I am not actually a surgeon and I was merely playing a video game. What did I care though? That reality was nowhere to be found and my alter ego Dr. Derek was large and in charge.

So the futurist may have been right after all. Will there come a day in my life when I walk in the front door of my house after an exhausting day of work, climb into my “Other Reality Chamber” and finish off the evening at a club in LA as a 23 year old blazin’ hot boy toy and have a nice little one night stand with some blazin’ hot chick? I guess the up side of all of this is that STDs should start to diminish if people can get their kicks and not actually make true physical contact. But then if our minds can create reality that we perceive as physical, what would happen if we ever got killed in our real virtual world? If we could experience pure physical pleasure there, what would keep us from experiencing pure pain or death?

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