The world has begun to move more and more away from the state of normal reality, as people become immersed in a different state of being, brought on by alternate realities. We have binging Netflix, extended online gaming and many options to recreate one’s self into different genders, forms and shapes and even species. We have started to create alternative ways that we can see ourselves and interact with other people.
Our moods have changed together with our personas and emotions. Moving between each of these states and returning to normal has become an emotional and physical challenge for many. It is always easier to ‘upgrade’ your life as you immerse into a reality where you are richer, fitter, slimmer and more popular. A place where you have had to define the rules of engagement and who your friends and family are. A place of fantasy and pleasure. But having to turn off the computer, put down the phone or turn away from the television, requires an instant ‘downgrade’ back to the reality that is real. For many, this change is an emotional kick in the teeth that is fronted by an emotional mood dip, evident by depression, anger and non-compliance.
I want to introduce and start a conversation about a new term IR: Interrupted Reality. This describes the change over from one state to another as our realities are interrupted and changed. The time that we need to reconfigure who we are again and how we need to behave and act towards others. This IR is accompanied by a recalculation of brain, body and soul as we fight the emotional tug to stay in a reality that has the better options for us.
Actually, this is nothing new. Each morning when we awake from a good dream, it takes a few seconds to ‘find yourself’ again and transition back into the reality of being awake. Similar to reading a good book, where our minds become engrossed in the different characters and the plot. When we stop reading and put the book down, our mind takes time to readjust to those in the room and a different reality.
But now the distractions have become more engrossing and more immersive. Netflix has enabled us to binge for hours at a time as we pause just 4 seconds between episodes before we dive once again into the series and its characters. Facebook and other social media platforms scrolling have a similar effect. The longer you scroll, the harder it is to stop. There is just one more post that needs to be seen just below the screen edge that beckons you for attention.
Then online gaming adds teamwork and the risk of virtual death if interrupted. Spurred on by our teammate’s voices in our headsets we become totally absorbed into the game’s reality. Similar to these, yet not so violent are platforms like Minecraft, where projects and outcomes become just as addictive.
Taking this one step further are the platforms and apps that allow us to rebuild ourselves into a different persona. Second Life gives us the chance to become and look like anything we want. We can buy and build ourselves into different genders, sizes and species with just a few swipes of a credit card. Then we can walk, run and even fly through a world of make-believe, but so real and filled with recognisable brands to make us feel at home and comfortable. Our IR takes a huge knock when returning to normal from a world where we are better than we believe we are in real life.
With the introduction of the Metaverse that promises to encircle all these platforms and allow us to transition between them with ease taking our virtual assets with us, allowing us to stay and escape for longer periods, how will this start to affect us all emotionally, mentally and even physically?
Interrupted Reality is and will become a real physical, emotional and mental transition that we will have to deal with multi times a day.
How do we begin to cope with real bodily functions whilst living in a different world? Who feeds us, cleans the home, takes out the trash? Do we begin to seek out places that can do that for us? Maybe some form of a cocoon that can put us into a state of semi-sleep and feed us intravenously so we can spend more time in the reality we choose. What if we could give ourselves totally over to a system that submerges us in an oxygen-rich liquid that will nurture and feed the body and then connect us to this web of realities via an imbedded connection directly into our brain or spinal cord and allow us to just live in this alternative world. Interrupted Reality or Matrix? You decide your own future.