My mother used to say the reason why healthy humans don’t live past their 80s, 90s or even to 100 years old is because when they get to that age they have experienced so many things and changes in their lives, they can’t wrap their heads around what the future holds – especially in terms of technology. It’s just too overwhelming.
This came to mind last year when a lovely 96-year-old friend died. She was a wonderful storyteller and talented writer. The last time I spoke with her, she sounded cheerful, but said, “Vera, I am no longer of this world.” I think that’s what my mother meant.
While I’m not even close to 80 yet, I am beginning to get that “Whaaaat?” feeling from time to time. Specifically, I’m referring to grasping the concept of virtual reality, or a metaverse. The metaverse has been defined as “a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality, virtual reality and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.” Still with me?
I recently read that someone paid $450,000 for a large virtual property next door to Snoop Dogg’s virtual property in the metaverse. This gives the buyer exclusive right to live next door to the famous rapper, party with him, play video games, enjoy exclusive concerts, build a mansion like Snoop Dogg’s and more – all virtually.
Who would do this? It’s not REAL! If you have that much money, why not use it for good which will, in turn, improve your REAL life. I don’t get it.
Maybe it’s me. When I was 15 years old, (Most bad decisions are made at age 15. Don’t believe me? Watch the news.) Anyway, when I was 15, I often hung out at a teenage club/music venue called The Hub. Someone at a party once talked me into taking mescaline (a drug comparable to LSD). Two hours later, nothing had happened to me so I thought it was a dud. The drug finally hit me in the car on the way home. I was seeing things that were not real and way out of proportion. When I got home, I could not sleep. I spent the entire night paranoid, with my eyes wide open and one foot on the floor to keep the room from spinning. It was one of the worst experiences of my life.
This was around the time that Timothy Leary, the American psychologist, was still being lauded as the guru of hallucinogenic drugs. He coined the phrase “turn on, tune in and drop out.”
In 1996, Timothy Leary died at the age of 75. According to britannica.com, he never regained the stature that he had enjoyed during the 1960s. He also designed computer software and was an early advocate of the potential of new technologies such as (drum roll, please) … virtual reality and the internet.
No, virtual reality is not for me. Besides, as the song goes, “Timothy Leary’s dead!”