If you can have anything you want, do you really need God?

Yeah, I said that.  We’re headed into some really interesting and revolutionary times.  There are some who resist things like technology on face value, much based on fear.  There are fuddy duddies who just resist change.  Plain and simple.  There are some who are excited and not only embrace innovations, but look forward to all the things the future and technology has to offer us.

Then there the rest of us.  The majority I might add.  We sit around and we see what comes down the pike and we eventually acquiesce since there’s no use fighting the future.  We’re the late bloomers who finally got on Facebook in 2012 after our friends trickled in over the course of the previous decade or so.  I’m not suggesting we see the problems associated with tech in advance and resist it halfheartedly.  Quite the opposite.  We simply don’t join because we’re not comfortable with it yet or we’re too busy to care enough to take a stance.  Don’t think for a minute we have thoroughly considered the many possibilities and arrived at a crucial decision.  Not at all.  We embrace change slowly and especially that of tech change…

We get there eventually though.  We find a reason to enjoy it.  We find a reason to bitch about it.  We find a reason to use it a bit and much like a tumor, it grows on us.  Is it funny that of all the parallels I could have communicated, that I chose a tumor?  It was no accident.  What if you could see the tumor was going to be aggressive and malignant well in advance though?  Then what?

If you find yourself wondering about that, then you really need to embrace a couple things quick, fast, and in a hurry.  First, if it’s coming and you can’t stop it, then you need to make peace with that concept.  Second, you need to prepare.  Right?  There’s life during and after cancer.  We know this to be true.

What if I told you that a virtual reality world is literally around the corner?  Kind of neat, huh?  I think so too.  But…  There are certain and dramatic pitfalls if we don’t understand our history and don’t prepare in turn for our future.  So let’s delve in.

Mark Zuckerberg Just Signed a Death Warrant for Smartphones was the title of an article from futurism.com that caught my eye the other day.  I read through the article with some excitement.  I was thinking about all the possibilities that could stem from a true virtual reality experience.  It goes somewhat to show how I’m wired in reflection of the first things I pondered.  For example.  My kids are little, so what we’re conceptualizing now might be daily doodles to them in the not-so-distant future.

Will they actually attend college in person, or may they have a virtual reality college class experience?  I mean, after all, if my daughter can set in front of professor in real time, with a class full of other pupils, do I need to send her across the country and incur monster expenses for the same experience?  Nope.  Will my son experience West Point and basic training in virtual reality, or physically be onsite for that interactivity?  It’s a very real possibility at this point.  What about a family reunion with distant family you’ve never even met in person before?  Imagine being able to meet up with them on a virtual beach together in the warm sun, then blink and find yourself in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria New York, only to be lead around the city on a virtual hover bus tour of the best the city has to offer, only to be whisked away on the space shuttle to cap off the family reunion by planting a flag of your family crest with four dozen of your cousins on the moon’s surface?  Quite a busy day, huh?  …And you never left your couch.

Think about all the “good” experiences you can have.  Not to get too deep, but did you actually have them?  The more you ponder that question, the more blown your mind may become, so let’s keep it in perspective today, if only for today.

I thought forward quickly into the possibilities.  I thought of fun and interesting things that involved family and items like the positive experiences and education of my children.  What about others though?  What if you wanted to live the life video games portray for example.  What if you wanted to live Grand Theft Auto via virtual reality?  Let’s say you wanted to steal cars, shoot cops, blow up pimps, have copious amounts of virtual sex with hookers, and snort blow of their naked rumps?  When we ask for innovation, we should be careful, or we’ll get it.

I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg is the devil.  There are many who do.  I think he’s just a sharp guy and he wants his ideas to be shared.  The problem is, we’re sharing the ideas on his terms and not ours.  He provides the platform, which means he scripts the options and the outcomes.  If you haven’t figured out Facebook for having better face recognition software than most multi-million dollar casinos and law enforcement/agency computer systems, you’re nutty.  They’re harvesting more data about you and others than you can possibly fathom.  I’d go so far to say that if you compared a dossier complete from weekly therapy sessions with an instinctive counselor over the period of many months, it wouldn’t tell you as much about yourself as the thorough and quantifiable data compiled by facebook.

I’m right about that by the way, and if you don’t believe me, go talk to a smart counselor.  You’re far more likely to be reserved to a counselor than you are the pseudo-anonymity of facebook, where many use far less inhibitions in terms of what they say, subjects they read, the amount of time you spent lingering over this photograph and it’s contents as compared to the 217 others you skipped that same afternoon, and so on.  With that thought, ask yourself just how far you’re willing to go and what you’re willing to experience if it’s not really real?  If you kill somebody in virtual reality will you go to jail?  Nope.  So what’s to stop you in VR from doing anything awful, beautiful, and so on?  …Just you.

In a near reality where you’re not punished for wrong doing and void of encouragement for right doing, and you can go back and do it again and again, time after time, day after day, can you see where problems might eventually occur?  The facts are simple.  We know if you experience something enough you become ‘hardened’ to the shock or awe associated with that particular thing.  So while you and I might recoil in horror over being on the deck of a battleship during a WWII battle littered with carnage and the worst kinds of deaths someone can imagine, what would you be thinking after having experienced that a few hundred times?

Our minds will make that real for us.  So like the good we can experience, the bad will be ever present.

I could easily see a person being envious or even addicted to a VR world.  Life is rough, but in VR you can do and become, in essence anything you want.  Want to be the Queen of England?  No problem.  Want to travel through the cosmos?  We got that.  Want to plunder, rape, and pillage as a pirate?  Sure can.  You can leave behind the real world for the one you opt to experience or make.

Inhibitions?  In VR there won’t be any true needs for them, right?  I’m describing to you a scenario where consequences are placed on hold.  With a steady diet of that, how do you think our culture will fair?  Better or worse?  Well, if used improperly, we know the answer for that.  But…  There’s light at the end of the tunnel too.  Instead of devolving into thugs, we can also listen to Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 I. Molto allegro, from the front front row as he conducts it.  We could also set in the audience of Paul as he addressed the masses in Tarsus.  We could see and feel what it was like for Job to experience all his suffering.  …And we could even be present in the crowd for the crucifixion on Jesus.  If you’ve experienced The Passion of the Christ in theater, just imagine what it would be like in VR.

VR like any ‘tool’ will be used for many benefits.  I’m reminding us to make sure we prepare ourselves, our kids, and others to resist temptation.  If you don’t actually kill someone in VR, but think on it, act on it, and feel it in your senses, have you not done so in your heart?  We have to separate man’s law from that of God’s.  You better get ahead of the curve on this one and make the ethics pushed forth by adherence to the Good Book part of daily life, or you’re at great risk.  It would be extremely easy to get caught up in a VR world and lose your way.

This is coming.  This isn’t the whim of Zuckerberg any longer.  The money people are behind it now, according to this article I read in Fortune Magazine.  How you approach this and what you do with it, should be on your terms.  Facebook DOES NOT provide things on your terms, only theirs.  You sign a 82 page long document about the ‘terms’ of service.  Were those yours or Mark’s???  That’s right.  You see on your screen what facebook hands you.  They aren’t serving your interests, but rather, theirs.  Be cognizant of that at all times.  This will amplify exponentially in VR, especially if provided by folks like Zuckerberg.

In VR do we need God?  Now more than ever friends.

James 1:12 – Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Be salt and light my friends…

 

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