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Profound truths that don’t easily link to a person’s current conception of reality are rejected and forgotten and remain forevermore sunk into oblivion. This is an existential problem for our present moment in time because it appears that our public feels inundated with fake information. If we lose contact with belief in the natural reality that surrounds us and believe instead in the most pleasant dream that can be conjured up by motivated liars, then we will be led into slavery.

The various visual full-immersion media such as TV, movies, YouTube, and the various forms of internet reality can construct fully believable stories and we become warped into acting like those imaginary realities. I know this is true to my own experience because after watching a fully engaging show like Curb Your Enthusiasm I can see myself behaving like the actors for a while. Most of that effect goes away in a few minutes but occasionally I notice myself a day later nuancing a word or gesture like those pitiful characters. I suppose everyone who reads this will deny that it happens to them, but when I watch people on the street it feels like I can tell what media they attend to and which TV shows they watch.

Back in the 1960s, I was reading George Gurdjieff’s book All and Everything and one of the points he made is that nearly everyone behaves like automatons. After reading that challenging book for a while I would go for a walk and watch people on the street and it did seem that G’s words matched the way people were behaving. When he was writing his book in the 1930s the world was just entering the world of broadcast radio and people were just beginning to be subjected to artificial media. People were still getting most of their human interaction from face-to-face conversations, in places like school, work, church and occasional traveling stage shows. At age eighty-two I am old enough to remember that form of interpersonal relationship being the dominant mode of personality development.

Within a year we will begin to be subjected to virtual reality (VR) because the computers are now powerful enough at a price level for that medium to become fully immersive. That new VR reality will probably become all-consuming within a decade,  and because those people consuming that media will be cut off from the external world the effects will more profoundly control their behavior. What will be the truths these consumers will come to believe? It seems unlikely that they will even be recognizable to our modern conception of normal. Our present truths will be a quaint and odd view that is tucked into a quiet corner of their mental basement, laughed at occasionally and ignored.

Profound truths that don’t easily link to a person’s current conception of reality are rejected and forgotten and remain forevermore sunk into oblivion.

 

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