The Metaverse is Flat: A Developing Saga of the Twenty-first Century

Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

When the Berlin Wall fell (November 9, 1989) that artificial sociocultural, economic and bellicose boundary between West and East fell with it. Suddenly the world went flat (Thomas L. Friedman, 2005) and the Cold War was left as a bad memory of near atomic bombs and near total destruction lost between Starbucks Coffee Pumpkin Spice Latte and The Hot 100 Billboard charts. Now the antithetical (friend versus foe) became a globalizing whole that found its main colonizing ally in the emerging World Wide Web: “May we all be the same!” The agglomeration of followers at the door of this new trend helped to expand it in a moment. Here we are sailing between its seas.

Today, 33 years after that differences-devastating-event another wall collapses that could disintegrate one of the most humane characteristic: the ability to distinguish between reality and fiction. The questions that arise could be: Is it necessary to distinguish between fact and fiction? Does the boundary between the inside and outside of the screens matter? Does the difference between the self and the self of others apply? For some millennials it seems like not! Or so Keanu Reeves recently revealed in an interview with The Verge (Verge Science).

The Matrix

In the trailer for the dystopian film The Matrix (1999) you could read: In an ordinary world you do your job, you go to parties, you pay your bills. You live as a slave! When they wrote “ordinary world,” were they talking about the world’s population that doesn’t have a job, isn’t invited to parties, and can’t pay the bills? Or were they talking about a limited group of people that they defined as an “ordinary world”? Neo belonged to that bunch of people who is not even remotely the “ordinary world” to whom Morpheus asks in the same trailer: How would you know the difference between the dream and the real world? The question does not lose validity nowadays. (Now comes a string of quotes): Neo (novus, the novelty) is “freed” from the “chains” of “reality” (the Matrix), a virtual world created by machines (and who created the machines?) where people live as slaves believing they live in “normality”. Keanu must go to the other world, to the “real” where humans are harvested for energy, because he is the chosen one to save it.

The filmic premise, based on dozens of philosophical nuances (Descartes, Sartre, Hegel and Plato’s Allegory of the cave, among others) affirms that Real Reality (RR) enslaves, oppresses, subdues, subjugates, chains, imprisons. Is this the dominant sentiment in the 21st century? What are the chains and who placed them? Can Virtual Reality (VR) free, emancipate, rescue and unleash so many human beings imprisoned from their situation and context? Is the Metaverse the expected new liberator that will free men from being sown as energy?

The path of the questions to find the answers unfolds in front of the curious. For now, the answers are kept at a distance, they do not come close to clarify the future panorama but the march must continue: “Without commitment, you’ll never start, but without consistency, you’ll never finish.”

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