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* VR/ META is NOT THE DEVIL*

July 16, 2023

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“We’re heading downhill”, “FB’s forcing us right into a matrix-like dystopia”, “This is the falling of civilization” and many more headlines showed up today as I scrolled through Fb’s platform.

I feel it necessary to remind you that Virtual Reality is JUST technology – and whether it becomes edifying or destructive is a PERSONAL choice.

Not merely because you are handed a very sharp knife you should imagine and conspire all the possible ways and places in which you could cut yourself and blame the person who sharpened it and handed it to you.

That’s victim mentality: to consider yourself so powerless, compulsive and void of conscious, discerning choice that you would be at the mercy of whatever is being offered to you, and the agendas of those offering it.

To believe (and live as if) you are nothing but a result of what happens around you is a guaranteed path towards chaos, resentment, fear, anger and impotence.

Technology does not determine the quality of your life experience, it just enhances and maximizes whatever is *already* present.

When I was going through university, scrolling through instagram felt like a mix of lifestyle competition, judgement of self and others, and soft porn.

Right now as I scroll through my feed, the option to compare, compete and lust after others is still there, yet that is not my experience anymore.

I see people embracing their gifts, sharing their realizations, including others in celebrating their life, accomplishments and their experiences – and sometimes their challenges too.

I’ve used social media to raise thousands of dollars towards starving indigenous communities, sexually abused and abandoned children, mental health institutes among other.

Some use social media to hurt themselves, to feel inadequate, to fuel further separation (from self and others.)

Yet with the same technology that you can feel worse about your body or financial situation, you can help someone out and call your grandma.

So let’s get this clear:

You are NOT enslaved to technology (and if you are, perhaps that’s the place to start from before you dare point any fingers)

You are a free, sovereign human being that gets to choose whether to surf consciously this upcoming wave of technology, or kick and scream complaining, spreading fear, and worrying endlessly about it.

When I first tried Virtual Reality (Oculus) a few years ago, my friend thought it’d be hilarious to show me VR immersive pornography (and it actually was, we laughed a lot at the ingenuity of it).

I found the technology amusing and got myself a headset.

Then a few days later I spent hours upon hours playing Tilt brush, which is beautifully coded 3D art creation (sculpting on steroids basically)

I played games that take you on meditation journeys..

There was even one game called “Notes on blindness” in which you are taken through a journey of what it must be like to be a blind person.

I cried my eyes out by the end of it..

Beautiful!

And the highlight for me was a game in which you could walk around in an office and touch, move and explore every part of it.

I was sooo captivated by checking the books in that office, the pictures within them, touching and looking up close the virtual designs somebody had carefully elaborated, noticing every corner of the virtual room I was in…

And then I took my headset off..

And I felt this renewed sense of wonder.

I inquired why I’d be so attentive and present to a game and not to my life, which had far better graphics and faster loading speeds ūüėÖ

That experience in the game nourished my attention, involvement and appreciation for a big chunk of life I was already taking for granted.

See my point?

If you are concerned about Meta being destructive for the world, I’m not stating that it won’t be.

Any technology in the wrong hands becomes harmful..

Even breathwork, plant medicines and yoga done unconsciously and without the proper introduction can cause severe damage to one’s system.

Our energy, however, is wasted in fighting, demonizing or judging the inevitable changes that are coming.

A smarter alternative is to direct it towards asking ourselves how we are going to leverage it consciously.

And if it’s others we are concerned about:

1- Let’s stop looking down at people and seeing them as vulnerable, incapable and unfit to make their own (good) choices and therefore in need of saving (saviour complex red flag right there)

2- Let’s focus on our fraction of the world. On educating, nurturing consciousness and creating real-world, inviting and alluring spaces and experiences so that, when given the choice, our community will still choose real presence over virtual one.

And when choosing the virtual, they’ll do so in a way that is nourishing and not destructive.

3- Let’s stop spreading fear and victim narratives.

The fact that YOU think VR is the devil is only a reflection of your own projections, compulsions, attachments and aversions.

For a sharp knife is only scary in the hands of those who have no idea how to use it, or what it could be use it for.

Cook yourself a meal, sculpt a piece of wood or chop yourself into pieces – but do not pretend that it would be the knives’ fault

PS: What are your thoughts / experiences with the upcoming Metaverse and virtual reality visions?

Nicolas Canon
Nico Canon is an artist, writer and dating coach. His art and writing are about reclaiming our right to be seduced by our lives and relationships. Through his work he explores the links between people and their deepest and rawest desires, opening up a bridge of self-expression and acceptance.

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