What if the exploration of virtual reality could teach us something about ourselves that is so important that it thrusts us more deeply than ever into ACTUAL reality? I say it can!
Virtual Reality is a weird and disturbing concept for some of us and an exciting tool for others among us - it's potential is vast but it's possible downsides are vast too. The most obvious problem with virtual reality is perhaps that it promotes disconnection from actual reality and with it also a disconnection from our body too. This can't really be a good thing... or can it?
Those who have read my articles over the years will know that despite me being very involved in various forms of technology, I also place a higher priority and value on internal human exploration and the increasing of consciousness. In short, if we don't make use of our own best 'technology' (our own being and body), then we should really be thinking about trying to escape into synthetic technology for any reason whatsoever! If we rely on calculators for all math challenges, then we will definitely lose the ability to perform calculation in our own minds. The risk with VR is similar, we could possibly start to lose our already tenuous connection to our bodies and the Earth.
I aim to take a pragmatic approach to such things, however, since we can't really understand the pros and cons of technology without using it. The benefits are the ability to use computers more efficiently and in inspiring ways. The risks, however, are pretty dire - so we need to be very careful as the technology evolves.
With the warnings out of the way, I want to draw your attention to a very interesting fact that I came across recently about VR. It turns out that similar to the way that amputees can sometimes 'feel' their missing limb as if it is still with them, it is possible for VR users to experience 'Phantom Sense'. This means that once immersed into the synthetic VR reality, a person can perceive (wrongly) that the objects they are perceiving in the VR world are conveying sensory information to them which does not exist!
For example, a person might think that they are feeling heat coming from another person in a VR world, yet they cannot be since there is nothing generating that heat in a way that their body could feel in the real world. I have noticed this to a limited degree in my own use of VR, but a recent video on the absolute cutting edge of VR technology really drew this to my attention.
The tech in the following video is the Varjo XR3 and it's a Vr headset that's priced at around $8000 USD (with $1000 USD annual subscription!) - it is in a league of it's own. In fact, it is so realistic that the guy in the video has real difficulties in detecting what is real and what isn't in his local space while using the system!
He gives an example of an app which places a mannequin in his reality and he starts to feel the 'phantom sense' that tells him that he feels warmth coming from it.
This is such an important topic, it is impossible to overstate it. The fact that our mind THINKS it senses things which it really doesn't is a problem that is effecting most of us most of the time and yet very few people ever really notice this. What does it mean if we are actually only experiencing what we EXPECT to experience, rather than what is really transpiring!? It means that we are stuck in perpetual delusion and completely certain that we are not. This is extremely perilous and yet few people even realise any part of the problem at all!
In simple terms, our consciousness and mental layers are capable of disconnecting from the sensory input and activity occurring in our physical body. Just as an anaesthetic enables a person to wrongly perceive that they have no pain at all during surgery, it is possible for our own decisions in life to lead to a situation where our cognitive perception 'overlooks' and denies the real, felt reality. When this happens, there is a gap left in perception and often our mind simply INVENTS data to fill in that gap! We essentially live in an expectation of what is 'normal' or acceptable, instead of actual reality.
This serious mistake can be seen and felt all around, with people putting up with all kinds of societal and social dysfunctions and seemingly oblivious to the need to change important parts of their lives to avoid their own suffering. Abusive relationships and tyrannical governments are just two examples of this among many. Often, people are unable to describe traumatic events and truths even when they have only just happened - their mind prefers to block out reality in favour of something more comfortable.
Fasting As Dissolver of Delusion
The act of extended fasting is one of the most enlightening that I can think of to recommend to anyone. Once you stop eating deliberately for around 4 days, you stop being hungry. This continues until you reach the point where you really, really need to eat or you will come to harm. Most people can survive 30+ days without eating anything because we have stored reserves and the body is able to safely dissolve parts of itself that we are carrying but don't need, such as fat or even tumours.
The most powerful lesson for me in having done extended fasts was the same that has been taught by experts in the field for over 100 years. Namely, that our 'regular' sense of hunger is NOT HUNGER! We are mostly only experiencing a mental EXPECTATION of hunger and we imagine we feel hunger when we do not. Most people have actually never experienced real hunger - they have only felt a simulation and a prediction of what hunger might become if we were to stop eating for an extended period.
VR Before it Was Cool
Essentially, this means that most people are living in a virtual reality of their own making, with or without any VR technology! Despite the scariness of this, it invites an amazing question - What exactly IS 'real' reality? I can tell you that it is far more amazing than our limited delusions would have us think! Once we are in touch with our real feelings and actual realities, we are far more capable of understanding the causes of things in life and making the called for changes when we need change.
With this in mind, the risk of VR becomes a reflection of the risk of our own internal denial. If we ask the right questions then the sensory exploration of VR can actually yield great benefits for our evolution. That is not to say that we needed VR to learn these lessons, since we can discover the pitfalls in our own sub and unconscious selves through meditation, fasting and other means. However, it seems VR can absolutely help some of us to make important realisations about the nature of our own existence!
While the amazing quality of top VR systems is impressive, it is not as impressive as ACTUAL reality. It is our own desensitisation to life itself and our own feelings that has left our world often seeming boring and so limited. Being made conscious of the degree to which we have been fooling ourselves with denial for so long is key to reclaiming lost glory.
With the right intentions, virtual reality could very well be powerful step towards leaving virtuality and embracing fully the ACTUAL reality - which so many have rarely even glimpsed! However, the window may be small for the benefits to be gained - let's not get distracted by endless virtual reality sessions that make Facebook rich and have us overlooking our own human potential!
Wishing you well,
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