Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Celebrating 100 Blog Posts: The state of the union - VR and other electronic drugs.

The state of the union: VR and other electronic drugs.

“The young today cannot follow narrative but they are alert to drama. They cannot bear description but they love landscape and action.—Marshal McLuhan, Letter to Harold Adam Innis, March 14 1951. From Essential McLuhan.

  Studies indicate that the new VR experience, can result in a deeper appreciation for the content, and message, purely due to the immersive nature of VR environments. We are dealing with complex alterations in the ratio among our senses.

One thought i wanted to express here concerns the similarities between the VR experience, and the psychedelic experience. In doing so i especially want to draw attention to what Dr Timothy Leary described with the words 'set and setting'. 

If you are under the influence of VR, your body brain system, may indeed be more open and receptive to new imprints than without being under the influence. Thankfully there are thousands of experimental designs for creative tools that hold the promise of delivering the user into a learning space, not just another world of crime, destruction and hollywood drama, a creative studio.

The same has been said about every new advance in technology, use it for the betterment of humanity, teach practical skills using television etc. And almost every time the new technology is degraded by mass consumption. And a return to revenge themes, violence and the predictable. The equivalent of alcohol, when compared with the psychedelic VR high, or heightened sensory awareness.

There will be therapy, new fields of virtual psychoanalysis, interactive explorations of the unconscious, with the goal of discovering more about oneself and the greater Universe. There will be crime scene investigation applications, law enforcement and new kinds of artist reconstructions. There will be sculpting, architectural modelling, visual geometric chemistry, physics, painting. I wonder, will there be much writing you think?

There will be torture, on many levels. Both high grade, full on US military, strapped to a chair with electrodes wired to your knackers, torture. Watch the movie Brainstorm again, and please heed the warning. VR is obviously a powerful tool to expand the goals of cruel psychological warfare operations, and usually when you follow the money trail for any hi-tech clobber, like the new VR technology, there is a somebody in the military sniffing around, looking for ways to weaponize the new breakthrough. Like the difference between the MK Ultra experiments with L.S.D vs. what the Merry Pranksters did with it. You dig?
”When technology extends one of our senses, a new translation of culture occurs as swiftly as the new technology is interiorized—Marshal McLuhan, The Gutenburg Galaxy.

  On the one hand, i hope that each individual gets as much enjoyment as he or she can get from VR worlds, however enjoyment is quantified? some people like to be scared half to death, other erotically aroused. If it makes you high in any sense, and brings wonder and a deeper connection with whatever you wish to connect with, then i say that both VR and psychedelic drugs, are useful tools in exploring unreality together. Each dissolve boundaries. And let's not forget that one of these tools is deemed illegal around the world under the United Nations psychotropic substance act. Boooo.

On the other hand, we are fools to ignore the warning label, a word to the wise that it ain't going to be pretty. Immersive news reports, celebrity updates and shoddy adverts will certainly dominate the medium of VR once it gets a foothold. But, we do not have to worry about the squares, let's get a move on, develop shared tools that enable individual expression, shared communication for all, and a message to care for the precious real-world-reality of our global ecosystem. Charitable causes. Bloom not doom. A funny love trip, not a violent horror, or better yet, a fair and balanced blend of tragedy and comedy? Art and truth are funny things these days.

And when using the two together, both VR and psychedelic agents, be careful, or extra careful, mind your heads and have a fun trip. Never force anybody else to do what you might choose to do with your VR stash, and, do not allow yourself to be bullied into any chemical experiment or VR environment against your will.

As a closing statement i would add that perhaps those with experience navigating the inner spaces of psychedelia, would stand less chance of being hoodwinked by a truck load VR sweeties, due to a built up tolerance of the weird and strange new dimensions encountered while tripping. There is a strong connection between media technology and how the human brain-body system works. And we are in uncharted territory with the latest 360 VR gear.

McLuhan, Leary, Robert Anton Wilson and other media theorists and futurists, Philip K. Dick...have already laid out a solid foundation for better understanding both reality and unreality, yes i wrote 'unreality', to mean the staggering phenomenological realms of the unchained imagine-nation, emerging in 2016 through a range of new VR experiences.

“The inner trip is not the sole prerogative of the LSD traveler; it’s the universal experience of TV watchers.—Marshal McLuhan, Playboy Interview.

--Steve Fly

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