Metaverse: The Writing is on the Wall?

(Adapted) Photo by Sandor Viczian

Umberto Eco’s apocalyptic and the integrated have fought like Tom & Jerry, or like cats and dogs, before each new advance of mass culture. The integrated ones have been benevolent about the benefits of the novelties, quickly capturing the symbolism and integrating it into reality. The apocalyptic, on the contrary, saw a certain malevolence with the changes, seeing in the new events and first fruits, agents of destruction of individualities and intellectual domination of entertainment-consuming sheep. Integrated tend to ride the wave of innovation with their boards. The apocalyptic wet their feet with the water from the shore. They both enjoy themselves in their own way and tan on the beach, the former screaming out loud, the latter smiling with conformism.

In the Metaverse Coliseums, apocalyptic and integrated such as sand and sea, opposites and favorable, will converge, but virtual reality and real reality will also meet. The rumor of the sea in the background will lead to philosophical and/or metaphysical statements about the existence of earthly things and the most basic transcendental beliefs. The monotheistic religions (religion means to rejoin or tie with intensity) that for centuries grouped the bond between men and God from the physical approach of the faithful in real reality, the weekly congregation in a specific place and joint participation in the rites they could undergo further exoduses. The new virtuality could further increase the postmodern rejection of the real universe, and its real creator. There will be perhaps few irrational people who will not choose the shore or the waves but will sail out to sea or retreat to the deserts.

The intricate complexity of the metaverse in the making could increase distrust in a superior, loving and controlling being who can do everything, who seeks and yearns for silence and encounter, whatever it may be! These scruples will be the consequence of the vanity, the murmur and the self-sufficiency that could multiply in this new “unreal” virtuality. Or, perhaps on the contrary, it could multiply the desire for that very real reality behind the real or virtual reality that so much dizziness, mental and psychological invasion will bring. If having fun is “pouring out”, the next generations may have countless laughs and apparent virtual happiness, but in reality, they could be empty inside. Will there be limits to separate the fake from the authentic?

“Connecting with real people in the real world is far better than anything you can do in an online fantasy and imaginary world,” is the final lesson of the movie Ready Player One. “Loving people in reality, you shall love your neighbor as yourself” is the oldest and newest lesson of our still unique reality. There will be voices that will shout from the shore, with their feet wet, against the anomie or apathy that the Metaverse could generate. Possibly they will be vehemently silenced by the noise of the waves or by the howling of laughter. But this will not appease the desperate cries of those who will feel themselves being drowned by the swell. Those will possibly break the glass ceiling of immanence that separates the virtual from the real. What will happen to the fledgling zombies?

The kings of the Metaverse, of games and virtual parties, drunk and unpunished, will seek to celebrate their victories by desecrating the most sacred: the vital time of people. They will, but then their knees will shake, and their faces will change colors, to a pale cadaverous.

The transcendental cannot be eternally debased, neither in real nor in virtual reality.

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