Trouble 9/5/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

So I just purchased a VR headset.  This makes me an expert, even though it’s still charging and I haven’t used it yet, but I have one and you don’t so there!

Kidding.  And besides, you very well may already have one.  But having something doesn’t make you an expert.  For me, this is a fascinating look into what is to come, and frankly I’m hoping they’ll improve upon it.  I have used it long enough to get an account set up with it (that is, to hook it up to my wifi), but that’s about it so far.  One of my favorite classic games (Myst) is available on it (or so I’m told), so I’m very excited to immerse myself into that world.  If you’ve never played it, Myst is actually a puzzle game, but it centers around a nightmarish world.  It’s like solving puzzles in a horror film.  You’re not fighting demons or anything like that; it’s just all puzzles, but I really liked the way it was laid out.  It’s a game of magic and mystery and in VR I imagine it will be just that much better. 

Recently I’ve read that it has a severe impact on the psyche of some people.  Apparently, playing it too much makes it difficult for some people to separate the virtual world from reality.  I find this intriguing since I grew up in an era where Tom Hanks played in a made-for-television movie expounding on the dangers of the game Dungeons and Dragons, intended to put the fear of the game into the minds of parents as one of the players eventually drops out of reality and believes the entire world is one of the adventures.  I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons for years, and I can tell the difference between reality and fantasy.

I think.  I mean, seriously, maybe I’m trapped in a medieval dungeon somewhere fantasizing about writing this blog.  How would I know?  Oh, the evil dungeon beast is meowing at me.

From what little I’ve seen so far, it seems like it’s being surrounded by a huge computer screen, kind of like going to one of those surround movies where the screen is all around you.  The difference is here I can look up, down, left, right and so on.  It’ll be fun to see how it plays.

Technology is amazing these days.  I wonder what it will look like tomorrow, but today there is distinct feel that we are in the golden age of technology, just as the Renaissance was the golden age of science.  But be careful not to say that “we’ve developed everything we can”.  I recall hearing that at one point the Holy Mother Church tried to outlaw science claiming that all that can be discovered has been.  I suppose that if you limit your knowledge to what is in the Bible, perhaps that was true, but today, of course, we know so much more.  They even had Galileo Galilei for having a first and last name that sounded too similar.

Yes, that was a joke.  His sin, of course, was to have the audacity as to claim that the Earth is not the center of the universe.  It’s just as hard to imagine where we would be today had scientific inquiry actually stopped, just as it’s hard to imagine where we will be in the future.  Today we have wireless communication around the world, and we’ve taken the cables off of the phones and put them on the television.  Okay, that snarky joke aside, the science and technology today is astounding and would have seemed like magic just two hundred years ago. 

Now, the only thing holding progress back is the time it is taking for my game to download.  Okay, maybe that’s a good thing since it is giving me time to write this post.  Some things, however, have withstood the test of time, and I pray they will continue to do so.

My piano, for example, is a beautiful instrument.  With an electronic piano (and very high quality indeed) occupying the same room, the sound and play of each is unique.  Unfortunately, interest in the old-fashioned pianos is beginning to wane, as often these gifts from our past are free for the taking (provided the taker pays for the moving cost).  This is actually my second such piano, the first being lost as I could not afford to keep it after my divorce (meaning I could not have afforded to have it moved).  Modern technology will not stand the test of time.  Even these VR glasses will be replaced by smaller, lighter and easier devices in just a few years.  But I’m glad I got them.  They’re definitely fun.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a nightmarish world to enter.

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