Monday, July 19, 2004
All reality is virtual
"Virtual" is a word that has come to signify a certain class of reality: one that exists as an electronic map. Virtual reality is one step removed from that which it maps and when well-conceived is a good reproduction of the real world of the senses. But according to Plato, the reality of the senses is itself a secondary, and therefore a virtual reality. It is a shadow of the real. We would have to have primary vision to see beyond the sense impressions to the originating level. But even if we could, who is to say that primary reality is not virtual too? Why should it ever end? Furthermore, who is to say that sensory reality, or its shadow cyber-reality, is not authentic enough on its own terms? A second-order reality or subcreation can possess integrity. Read The Golden Bowl by Henry James or Ulysses by James Joyce. These are self-consistent realities worthy of respect.