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Monday, June 17, 2024

The Coming Sexual Revolution - Virtual Reality, Hope For Nerds, Dorks, And Losers

Everyone seems to be worried about Artificial Intelligence (AI) but the train has left the station and in a few generations no one will be able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality.  Much more importantly, they won't care.  Who would exchange the woman of their dreams for spotty, shaggy Louise from Accounting?  

When complete computer-brain interface has finally become seamless, we will be able to wander through the gardens of Versailles with the Duchess of Nantes, drink the finest wines in the vineyards of the Loire, sample the delights of a geisha from Kyoto, all without leaving home.  Brick and mortar will be things of the past, cloddy things left far behind. 


Scientists have already begun to decipher the complex electronic circuitry of the brain and link impulse and synapse to particular thought. Elon Musk has reported that his scientists have deciphered enough of the human brain's electrical code to enable a quadriplegic man to move a cursor with his brain only - to think its movements.  It is only a matter of time before the electronic language of the brain is understood, enabling a mind-computer communication and an opening a limitless virtual world. 

Once vocabulary, syntax, and grammar have been mastered and employed, the symbiosis will be complete. Our thoughts will be mediated by the computer thus enabling us to access the billions of bits of electronically-stored information in cyberspace, to manipulate it, and to create our own personal virtual realities. There will be no ‘mediation’ required by the computer. It will be the human brain and/or vice-versa.

These advances in Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are particularly significant because once this symbiosis between mind and machine is complete, there will be no reason to simply rely on the ‘real’ world for stimulation or satisfaction. A virtual world which is indistinct from the ‘real’ one and of infinitely more possibilities for interaction will replace reality.

Much has changed over the last decades. Interactive virtual reality in the form of super-real video games is but the precursor to advanced games where there is no manipulation of a gadget, but a seamless interaction with the characters within one’s mind-environment.  More and more data are being digitized.  

Stimuli of the real world – the scent of jasmine, the taste of briny oysters – are being disaggregated into their component parts and then recreated. There is no mystery or some cosmic pleasure in eating an oyster.  Soon, thanks to this disassembly and virtual recreation, the gourmet diner will be able to ‘eat’ Olde Salt, Apalachicola, Hood Inlet, and Wellfleet oysters every day; or fresh foie gras; or the finest Sonoma Flowers pinot noir. 

Image result for images hood inlet oysters

It might take some getting used to, this replacement of the ‘real’ by the virtual; but soon enough the distinction will disappear altogether.  In fact, once we realize that virtual reality is better than the real thing, thanks to the infinite personal adaptations possible within a virtual world, the easier it will be for us to drop our archaic notions of what is.  In other words, if one cannot distinguish between the ‘real’ and the virtual, then they are both equal in value.

Herman Figgins was a slow thinker and could not have understood the first thing about such a metaphysical issue even if he tried.  For him fantasy and reality were already so indistinctly separated, that even if he had heard about the cybernetic revolution, it would have made no sense and made absolutely no difference. 

This is not to say that Herman was psychotic or schizophrenic.  He knew well enough when he transported the lovely Nancy Blythe into his daydreams, she was still in Virginia somewhere; but that made no difference.  He had no chance with her in reality, but every night before he shut his eyes, he travelled with her, dined with her, danced with her, and made love to her.  

A real life with her would have been impossible - he a stumbling dummy and she a beautiful, blonde thing who came across the river to work on the seventh floor, all bouncy and delightfully sweet - so daydreams would have to do; and the more time he spent with Nancy in his fantasy world, the less he wanted her in reality.  Fantasy was far better. 

Which of course was the whole point of virtual reality.  It trumps the real thing every day of the week.  The steaks in a virtual world will be juicier, the oysters more briny and succulent, the colors and fragrances of a rose garden more intense. 


As a child Herman loved fairy tales, and even then was able to completely immerse himself in fables.  He was the knight in shining armor, the hero who won the princess.  He was the boy in the meadow, the Prince Charming wooing his lady.  In his dreams he was always rescuing a maiden in distress, slipping into her bedchambers and placing a wreath of lilies-of-the-valley on her head. 

Now, in today's clinical, solve-all world, Herman would be thought emotionally retarded, a young man unable to adjust to life's demands and forced to retreat into a make-believe world to compensate for his inadequacies; but he was no such person.  In his own instinctive way he realized that not only was there really no difference between fantasy and reality but that he could manipulate one to enhance the other.  Virtual reality was made for him. 

This rather unattractive, clumsy young man was actually a metaphysical giant - someone who intuitively grasped the essential question of what is.  Without being able to articulate it, to explain it in Kantian terms or even to intimate what he knew, he was far ahead of the curve.  He got it.  Reality was not all it was cracked up to be. 


Of course the glitterati thought they had it all, and sniffed at the idea of a virtual replacement for their arm candy, yachts, and homes in Biarritz and Rimini.  Only dorks and nerds squirrelled themselves away reading girly magazines and watching sex tapes.  While they were right, their vision was myopic. In the arrogant assumption that they knew it all, that the actual blue waters of the Mediterranean and lovely Corsican women were the be-all and end-all of existence, they missed the point.  

Soon, with or without them, everyone would be able to enjoy not only the same pleasures but far more exciting, sensuous, and satisfying ones - personally crafted fantasies derived from the deepest reaches of childhood desire. 

And so it was that Herman Figgins, metaphysical giant, man well before his time, lay back in bed and dreamed of Nancy Blythe.  Where would they go tonight, and how many sweet, luscious kisses would she give him?

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