The whole concept of “reality” has always fascinated me and amazed me millions of others. Several moons ago (and this is speaking of generations “a long time ago”), I eagerly devoured an evening philosophy course at what is now Saint Joseph’s University in my hometown of Philadelphia. The teacher was well liked and his late-night classrooms were always full and his students, both men and women, crowded around his desk after class to continue discussing topics he brought back to life, like — well — reality.
In those years, the topic was a philosophical football that was played for hours and used as the basis for term papers. You can enjoy this term because everyone knows what is real and, most importantly, what is not real. The term itself was not in question.
which was then. Now, enter “Virtual Reality”, “Augmented Reality” and all their sub-genres. Concepts have permeated our language, our TV shows, our ads, and yes, our lives — like it or not.
Rod Serling, creator of the old TV series “Twilight Zone,” today it would be difficult to create a series beyond what has become “normal.” I particularly remember an episode in which a man constantly visited a museum to see a particular landscape painting he liked, and in conclusion, escaped the police by entering the painting and disappearing. We now have the opportunity to do the same with the right equipment.
Google defines virtual reality as “a computer-generated environment with seemingly real scenes and objects that make the user feel immersed in their surroundings. This environment is perceived through a device known as a virtual reality headset or helmet.” An aside: Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for young people to have to take some medication to achieve a similar experience. An entire series of books written by the late anthropologist Carlos Castaneda on shaman training, which included stories about eating certain herbs and the “journeys” undertaken by the participant, sold widely – some eight million copies – and was published in 17 languages.
But I digress. The main thing we need to know is that today, here in 2022, we can enter a fictional “reality” without drugs. You can even buy (expensive) property in what is known as the “Metaverse”. There is a whole glossary of virtual reality and its attendant topics, such as cryptocurrency, which is the digital money used for virtual reality transactions. I know. I’ve already heard a lot. But, dear reader, bear with me a little longer as I cleverly relate this information to the whole concept of reality.
Decades ago, you might not have been able to buy things like artwork and real estate. But now, once this present moment, you can buy such things in a virtual world using a non-fungible token (NFT), a form of digital currency. (You can read about these currency terms on Investopedia.com, which gives a clear description as you’ve seen it.) For example, you can buy property in the US or other countries on Tiliaverse.com, from as little as $200 to more From 8000 USD. The site also provides information about the concept of this property. In my opinion, this is the Monopoly game that has been shown on the big screen; But instead of turning it on, you’re playing it.
Finally, we cannot forget the prevalence of “reality shows” on television. I think it’s fair to suggest that the term is an oxymoron, as it is with all other “facts”. The words “virtual” and “reality” cancel each other out, which I think brings us back to the basics – either thing is “real” or “virtual”, but it can’t be both, which is not to say that people can’t believe both things (But that’s another area of study, isn’t it?).
The late science fiction writer Philip K. I think that’s as good a definition as any definition of the concept, and it doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun along the way by expanding it. Just don’t go over “Go” and don’t collect $200. very funny.
Sandra Matushka of Tiverton is a freelance writer and columnist. Send feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o The Newport Daily News, PO Box 420, Newport, RI 02840.