Reality sucks. We know that, and from time to time we feel the need to escape from it to be happy, but if we start living increasingly in a pseudo reality, our chances to overcome hardships of life would be difficult. The Internet has made it possible for us to escape reality, reality which is often painful; if not for us then for the people around us. This escape has been gradual, but at this juncture, where we can literally put on a VR (Virtual Reality) headset to escape our surroundings, we are in trouble.
When I see young men and women holding this small device we call a cell phone, my investment in imagination as an artist starts wavering. They play video games, slay monsters, chat with a friend, exchange selfies, and a lot more in a public space with little awareness of their surroundings. Is going so far from reality so often healthy?
Young men and women often complain about the problems they are facing in life, but when I compare their problems with the problems of my generation, I have an urge to laugh. The line of the chaos of the past (wars, migrations, genocides) goes through the ceiling. Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. My coffee maker starting on its own in the morning without the need to push a button is immensely gratifying, but do I want to live my life around it? Of course not. And I do not want to live my life around my cell phone either. But it is with me at least twelve hours, often more, and provides me a means to escape my reality—my problems at home, narcissistic colleagues at work, the guy who cut me in the traffic today, and yes, my regrets in life. I end up relying on my phone to escape my frustrations. And so do the young men and women who started using technology in their cribs.
But it is not just phones. Most of our educational institutions believe that technology is the panacea of falling educational standards. They keep increasing digital interaction in their courses and the role of the printed word is decreasing day by day. This has been exploited by the companies who can provide digital textbooks to make as much money as possible. It is done sometimes in the name of the environment or to provide cheap textbooks. But digital copies, though cheaper than the unaffordable prices of paper copies, are seldom cheap.
Virtual reality is becoming our inner reality in which we are heroes that enslave monsters, slay our enemies, live on a new planet, comment on a friend’s clothes without offending her, ride a dragon, and get the nicest gadget. But what happens when we are unable to escape the true reality? When we lose Wi-Fi or worse our cells. And it seems that in this new virtual reality, many people are sadder when they lose their cell phone than when their intimate partner or a friend breaks up with them. I pray that you would be sad and grieve for a while on such a breakup. It makes you human and it makes your ex-partner more than an object.