Virtual Reality

"Reality privilege"

Marc Andreessen, in response to interview question, "are we too connected?":

Your question is a great example of what I call Reality Privilege. [...] A small percent of people live in a real-world environment that is rich, even overflowing, with glorious substance, beautiful settings, plentiful stimulation, and many fascinating people to talk to, and to work with, and to date. These are also all of the people who get to ask probing questions like yours. Everyone else, the vast majority of humanity, lacks Reality Privilege -- their online world is, or will be, immeasurably richer and more fulfilling than most of the physical and social environment around them in the quote-unquote real world.

The Reality Privileged, of course, call this conclusion dystopian, and demand that we prioritize improvements in reality over improvements in virtuality. To which I say: reality has had 5,000 years to get good, and is clearly still woefully lacking for most people; I don't think we should wait another 5,000 years to see if it eventually closes the gap. We should build -- and we are building -- online worlds that make life and work and love wonderful for everyone, no matter what level of reality deprivation they find themselves in.


And then this actual advertisement from Meta: Old Friends. New Fun. | Meta Quest 2

But there is something infinitely bleak in seeing a company’s ambitions laid out as plainly and mercilessly as this. The world we’ve made is going to use you up, they say, but the next one might be kinder. It’s a lot easier to trust the first half than the second.


Brian Eno: "Evolutionary psychologist Greg Gregory Miller wrote a very interesting short essay hmm where he said, well look at the history of our society. Our human society, as soon as we're able to, we virtualize things. [...] the taste for sex evolves because it's a good idea that we procreate, otherwise we're not a species anymore [...] So the various things we do instinctually have an evolutionary history. But he says as soon as we can we virtualized them: [...] we don't have children we masturbate or whatever else we do that— we virtualized sex. And so he said perhaps the trajectory of societies is that as soon as they become technically competent enough to actually communicate with other planets they're too busy masturbating to do so. I mean I use that as a kind of blanket term for turning your attention inwards, you know, the fact—it's sort of what's happened to us you know we we were on the moon, a few years ago—"

David Graeber: "And then we came back, yeah. Yeah that was actually how I— that was my sort of vulgar materialist interpretation of post-modernism."


Compare the virtualizing instinct to the desire for metrics 1. Identify a "categorical imperative" (e.g. reproduction) 2. Incentivise fulfilment of "categorical imperative" (e.g. sex feels good) 3. Perversion / fetishisation of incentive as the new categorical imperative (e.g. masturbation)

Reality-based community

The phrase was attributed by journalist Ron Suskind to an unnamed official in the George W. Bush administration who used it to denigrate a critic of the administration's policies as someone who based their judgments on facts.[1] In a 2004 article appearing in the New York Times Magazine, Suskind wrote:

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [...] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.[2]

Wikipedia: "Reality-based community"


artangel-longplayer-2014 Graeber, David, and Brian Eno. 2014. Longplayer Conversation 2014: David Graeber and Brian Eno. [link] ↩︎ 1

niccolo-andreessen “The Dubrovnik Interviews: Marc Andreessen - Interviewed by a Retard”. 2021. “The Dubrovnik Interviews: Marc Andreessen - Interviewed by a Retard”. [link] ↩︎ 1