This question really intrigued me, perhaps it interested the computer nerd part of me more than the English nerd. I was very interested in the idea of how the race for perfected technology is still in full swing, even inside virtual reality systems. The idea that the virtual world would mimic the real world up to the point of having virtual reality systems programmed into them is starkly unsettling from an existentialist mindset. It makes me think about our own thirst for knowledge and our own race for technology, isn’t the definition of technology somewhere along the lines of, tools that make our lives easier? That would make the goal of creating technology to automate every physical need we have leaving us to create a virtual world to satisfy our social and mental cravings, a world where we can do everything we want as our programmed houses kept us alive by pumping us full of the nutrients we need. If that is the overlying goal of technology then what would the point of having technology in a world that is supposed mentally challenge us? This idea blew my mind as I read this chapter. I had never thought about the fact that when I go past a computer terminal on a computer game, it was skirting a paradox.
The redundancy alone is silly, but the idea behind it is scary. Allow me for a moment to apply the possibility of virtual reality distributed and applied largely across the world. Now assume that the underlying social and psychological issues that people suffer are still in full swing. Try to imagine how immensely terrible it would be for, let’s say, a latent schizophrenic to experience a virtual reality system inside of a virtual world. If that isn’t enough to bring out the first fragmentation of the mind, I don’t know what is.
This entire idea makes even the most grounded person question reality in some ways. I think you had us read this specific chapter because it really brought into question the idea of the “virtual world,” and that term can certainly be applied to the world created by literature and the author. It is hard not to think about the power that words (and technology) have over the mind. And how easily it can be swayed.