essay on virtual reality

BG 223 – Virtual Reality

Virtual reality, now almost exclusively linked to computers, due to rapidly advancing automation, is in reality as old as mankind. Virtual means fictional, imaginary, imagined – and you don’t really need a computer for that. When we had learned how to make fire and our distant ancestors told each other stories at bedtime about their own experiences and dreams and those of their ancestors, both the storytellers and their listeners used their imaginations to see before them and to empathize with what was conveyed with words. In rituals, shared feelings and interconnectedness were celebrated and strengthened.

Today, we mainly use our imagination while reading books and stories. As we take in the printed text, we create images, smells, sounds and other sensations in our minds. Recently, research has shown that the parts of the brain that normally light up on a scan with running, shouting, laughing, friendship and sexuality, for example, also light up when we only read about them. Apparently, we are able to experience things almost in real life in our imagination. Unfortunately, this is the case for fewer and fewer people.

Due to the lightning-fast development of automation, we still live with our bodies in the natural world, but with our heads a large part of the time in the virtual computer world. Our phones and other screens provide us with an abundance of ready-made, short, fast, and addictive stimuli, preventing us from concentrating on anything for long periods of time. Of course, this new world is very attractive, but it is a pity that we hardly read anymore. Because by reading books and stories and therefore by using our imagination, we learn valuable skills that we need in our lives. Such as: empathy, putting things into perspective, non-virtual communication, standing up for ourselves, care for our living environment, self-care, satisfaction, being able to be alone, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and resilience.