Television news is already a form of virtual reality. The hypnotic flow of stories, the elite anchors with their easy air of knowing and authority, the absence of context, the bald lies, the false sense of unity/community between viewer and broadcaster.
But it barely scratches the surface of the potential of the technology.
The addiction of the viewer is a mere shadow of what it will be when he can live, for an hour a day, inside the news, selectively inhabit the environments, and experience what a non-human simulated anchor “knows.”
That will no longer be television. It will be a full-on tactile ride in the river.
The pixels of the virtual anchor will be built from the ground up, imbued with an “inner sense” of utter conviction, just as the perfect android is programmed to believe in the psyop called reality.
Viewers will feel all the artificial emotions of this anchor, as they experience what he synthetically “experiences.”
What about rebellion against the Virtual?
Let’s start here. The lid on rebellion is sealed through the distribution of pleasure.
Force works, but in the long run pleasure is the greater method of control.
Science fiction novels describe futures in which citizens access virtual experience to an extraordinary degree. The video games and holograms of today are stone wheels bumping along a dirt road by contrast.
In the years ahead, people will plug in and see, know, explore, and most importantly, feel synthetic worlds.
You want to be a star among star athletes? You can inhabit the mind and body of one. You can play the game as he does. You can live inside his body. You can feel what he feels, move as he moves, catch the overdrive of his extra reserve of adrenaline.
You want to struggle to the top of Mt. Everest? You’re plugged in. You’re there in the cutting wind and snow, you feel the oxygen running out, hear the ice cracking, strain to peer through the fog, inch your way forward with every quantum of effort a human can muster…and finally…you arrive in triumph. You’re there, at the roof of the world. While you’re in your crackerbox apartment.
You want to sit in a richly embroidered carriage, as slaves carry you through the cacophonic sights, sounds, and smells of a crowded marketplace in Bombay, all the way to an emerald palace, where you suddenly find yourself in the dim high-ceilinged bedroom of the most famous and beautiful creature on Earth…
You live it.
A million different ways.
Today’s technocrats strive and search to build the ultimate immersion event.
Living in a time when this is possible, the overwhelming number of people will opt for pleasure, regardless of what happening in the outside world, regardless of who is running the world or how.
Because they believe they are on this earth to choose pleasure over pain. That’s the pragmatic goal. Everything else is secondary.
They’ll no longer need to imagine the life they want. They can choose from a full deck of virtual threads and live this one or that one in the blink of a connection.
The actual planet and what it offers will become merely the default interlude between expertly simulated excursions.
Eventually, some people will be able to enter these holo-experiences in a boiled down fashion. They’ll bathe in a ten-second “trailer” and absorb all the sensation and feeling in a flash. When they come back, they may not remember what took place, but they’ll still bask in the afterglow.
No thought required.
Pleasure wins over pain.
That’s how the formula will be presented to the mind. Choose one or the other. Nothing else exists.
No principles, no basic freedoms.
The familiar scene in a thousand TV shows and movies, where the suspect is arrested, and then the cops offer him an immunity deal to roll over on his bosses? On the level of the nervous system, this is the deal that is struck:
Gain immunity from pain and confusion by the simple act of rolling over on yourself and choosing pleasure as your single ambition.
This is what Pavlov was after in his experiments. The conditioned-reflex human. The missing piece he needed was the human’s assent to “a meal of pleasure” as his sole and overwhelming choice. After that, everything follows.
In his masterful 1986 novel, Count Zero, William Gibson describes an immersion in virtual life: “The JAL steward offered her a choice of simstim cassettes…She put the plastic trode set on, jacked it into the seat arm, sighed, and slotted the cassette in the opening beside the jack. The interior of the JAL shuttle vanished in a burst of Aegean blue, and she watched the words TALLY ISHAM’S TOP PEOPLE expand across the cloudless sky in elegant sans-serif capitals.
“…Now Marly found herself locked into Tally’s tanned, lithe, tremendously comfortable sensorium. Tally Isham glowed, breathed deeply and easily, her elegant bones riding in the embrace of a musculature that seemed never to have known tension…[It] was like falling into a bath of perfect health, feeling the spring in the star’s high arches and the jut of her breasts against the silky white Egyptian cotton of her simple blouse. She was leaning against a pocked white balustrade above the tiny harbor of a Greek island town, a cascade of flowering trees falling away below her down a hillside built from whitewashed stone and narrow, twisting stairs. A boat sounded in the harbor.
“‘The tourists are hurrying back to their cruise ships now,’ Tally said, and smiled; when she smiled, Marly could feel the smoothness of the star’s white teeth, taste the freshness of her mouth, and the stone of the balustrade was pleasantly rough against her bare forearms…”
And here is a brief exchange from Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel, Brave New World:
“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?”
“I don’t know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”
The joys of endless shopping, buying, and consuming are merely an introduction to a far more extensive pleasure dome of the future, in which the notion that there is anything else becomes absurd.
From an unfinished novel of mine, The Magician Awakes, here is a State medical doctor instructing his patient:
“It’s like a drug, Carl, but we don’t need chemicals. This is electromagnetic adjustment. You want well-being, so you’re going to feel it at the cellular level. Synapse, neuron, transformed. Just relax. No need to do anything. You’ll perceive you’re smaller for a few minutes. It may be unpleasant, but you’ll get used to it. A certain amount of shrinkage is necessary. We’re smoothing away the rough edges. You’ll come back in a marvelous cocoon. You’ll feel supported. Your present sense of isolation will disappear. We can delete that. You’ll see Wisdom all around you. Things as they are will make more sense to you than they ever have. You see, in World One, the world you’re in right now, desire always leads to suffering, as the Buddha taught. In World Two, where you’re going in a few seconds, there is no desire. You’re liberated.”
The dynamics of mind control in a pleasure-oriented society are built on channeling pleasure and making it more absorbing. The “shrinkage,” as mentioned above, doesn’t have to be radical because people have already brought it on themselves. They’ve glued themselves solidly to the five senses.
Past and present US military experiments, using electromagnetic stimulation, to create soldiers who can function at high levels over an extended period on very little sleep, are just the rough beginnings of a technology that will be applied to civilian life.
What is the best antidote to the addiction to virtual experience?
The designers of the dystopian future are enlisting a small fragment of a human being’s imagination to put him in an externally fashioned simulation.
“Give us just a bit of your imagination, and we’ll do the rest for you.”
What’s called the suspension of disbelief in the theater is an imaginative act on the part of the audience: “Yes, what’s on the stage is real. Yes, I’m here and I’m involved.”
This is a clue to the titanic force that inherently exists in every human. Already, in 2013, we see it massively sacrificed on the altar of entertainment. They give us drama and we buy it.
As opposed to inventing realities ourselves, full-bore.
Imagination creates reality. The only question is: whose?
Reality in modern civilization is a straight psyop. It surrounds us, even though the technology, by future standards, is primitive.
The hook has been sunk; it needs to be removed.
The psyop says: “Experience THIS; feel it; then ask yourself whether you have the power to invent a more convincing world; the answer is no, isn’t it; so just sit back, relax, and take it all in; you can’t approach what we can do for you.”
The stakes are high. If you believe you can’t exceed the power of the Reality Manufacturing Company, if you keep postponing the day when you become the artist beyond and against the System, then you’re already prepped for the simulacra of the virtual future.
The world is largely populated by the “IS” PEOPLE. These are the humans who accept and surrender, on many levels, to what already exists, without realizing that it comes to them as a package.
Here is the conclusion to the above section of The Magician Awakes:
At his post-treatment checkup, the doctor asked Carl, “How are you adapting to the changes? Any problems?”
“Everything’s good, Doc,” Carl said. “I had headaches, but they went away after a week or so. I can look at things longer now. Do you know what I mean? I can sit and watch a flower for an hour and it doesn’t make me jittery. I could never do that before. The only thing I notice is that the birds don’t sing.”
“Yes,” the doctor said, “we’re working on that. It’s apparently a cross-canceling sequence in the software.”
“As I told you, you’re in World Two now. It’s a different landscape. It looks exactly like World One, but your responses are linked to it.”
“You mean it’s a single loop?”
“I wouldn’t put it exactly that way, Carl, but yes. The world comes to you in a way you’re prepared for. We’ve achieved an integration, an overall connection.”
“What was happening in World One then?”
“Well, in that situation, there was disharmony. It was basically caused by what you wanted. What you wanted and what the world was were out of sync. We’re teachers of acceptance. But we can back it up with science. We can give acceptance to you.”
“So I’m good?”
“Yes, you’re good. You’re in a state of equilibrium now. For the first time in your life. This is what seekers have been after, for thousands of years. This is what the sages spoke of.”
“When will the birds sing?” Carl asked.
“A few months. That’s what we’re hoping. We’re working on it.”
“I especially like the mockingbirds.”
“Don’t worry. They’ll sing.”
For a moment, Carl thought he should feel sad about the mockingbirds, but he didn’t. Sadness wasn’t there. He went to the old place to find it, but it was gone.
“As you know, Doc,” Carl said, “I was a sculptor.”
“Yes, Carl, we know. We’ve seen your studio. People have been there. They cleared the place out.”
Carl thought this might be shocking, but he didn’t feel shocked.
“You don’t need to worry,” the doctor said. “You would have gotten rid of all that work yourself. It was a reflection of your dissatisfaction. All that’s gone now.”
“Yes,” Carl said. “It is gone.”
He felt a wave of relief. A burden had flown away.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com