Virtual Reality Is Creeping Into Our Lives—Why Virtual Reality Competence Is Becoming Critical
Facebook launched its stand-alone virtual reality goggles to make this new experience accessible to everyone.
On their website, they state that with their newest technologies, “virtual reality (VR) lets us explore new worlds, defy obstacles, and attempt the impossible.” And Facebook is not the only supplier.
The VR industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. It serves companies professionally to better construct products by envisioning the result, but it also has major impacts on our personal daily lives.
Facebook’s vision and application spectrum of VR is vast:
“You can explore outer space, step inside history, and connect with friends. And we can leverage this technology to drive meaningful social change. We’ve partnered with research institutions to better understand how VR can positively impact the way we learn, we’re working to improve access to VR in libraries and schools — and we’re just getting started.”
This sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? The truth is — it is not true. It is virtual. And as more of these virtual reality experiences will pop up, our level of awareness towards VR has to rise.
Otherwise, we will end up like in the movie “Inception.” The people in the movie use devices to flee reality and restart dreaming again in technologically constructed worlds.
Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Here are four areas where we have to raise our virtual reality awareness.
1. VR itself
Whenever you take off virtual reality goggles, you have to accommodate the “real” sight. It is different from what you have seen in the virtual world. Sometimes, the virtual world's images are so comfortable that you don’t want to leave the scene.
And who can judge you for this — you are in perfect company.
Based on crisis reports, people are fleeing into virtual worlds to either disconnect from reality as they seek distraction or to gain control over everything in this world— just like in a PC game.
Movies like “Ready Player One” have a big impact and influence on their viewers. It strengthens the fact that you can be anyone you want — in virtual realms.
Once you escape the gaming scene, you sometimes wish to go back immediately. In reality, there are no cheat codes available, and people don’t act like you want them to act.
One day, virtual reality might be so appealing and realistic that it will be hard to spot the differences. It might even go that far that one day the “real” thing will lose its attractiveness.
That day will be the turning point. You surrender your mind to machinery and a billion-dollar industry. A good future outlook is the fact that VR might already control your sexual drive.
According to some statistics, 60% of all VR-websites are currently porn-focused.
There is not much fantasy needed to imagine what this means for our sex-life. When you can construct your perfect partner in virtual worlds, why would you start flirting again?
You wouldn’t get hurt again, and you can carry out all your fantasies with your VR fantasy. There is no honesty nor bravery needed anymore.
This vision might seem dark and far away, but given the speed of technology advancement and adoption, it is only a matter of a few years. We are already close to the edge.
If you want to prevent it from happening actively, here are possible loopholes:
- Start meeting people in real life, and feel them again.
- Reduce the stress level and expectations towards the real world by making small steps, reading positive books, and speaking to friends (make the last point vis-a-vis).
- Try reading porn literature to create attractive movies in your mind that surpass the ones on platforms, and maybe try to live them in real life with your partner. You will know the real thing always bests the imagination.
2. Social media
The movie “The Social Dilemma” marked a turning point for many people in their social media behavior. The documentary shows the impact of social media and cellphones on our mental and physical health:
Everything changed in 2007 when Apple introduced the first iPhone. From 2009 onwards, one could see smartphones in almost any hand of younger and older people.
According to the “Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” this was the tipping point for “hospital admissions for non-fatal self-harm cases.” From 2009 until today, the number of girls aged 15 to 19 that injured themselves rose by +62%. The figures for girls aged 10 to 14 are even more striking: they went up by +189%.
While we can’t blame cellphones or social media platforms solely for these increases, the “false” images of perfect bodies, wealth, and intense social media use indeed have played a significant role.
Whenever you see consciously or subconsciously pictures of great looking people, wealthy beings, or alike — your mind unconsciously gobbles this information.
“It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behavior and perception that is the product!” (Jaron Lanier)
Someday, when you have consumed enough of social media, your subconsciousness takes over and compares yourself and your life to the images you see in your feed.
All images that come to your mind derive from your social media feed. Your ability to create your own appealing images or to trust your inner voice — your emotions — is crippled.
Possible loopholes — if used:
- Regain control over your emotions and images in your head through a daily mediation exercise. You may also want to think of happy moments in your life— start with 15 minutes per day. You will quickly notice it is not the time spend on social media that truly makes you happy.
- Develop your own standards of beauty, wealth, and alike that work well for you.
It would be best to be mindful of the virtual reality goggles you are wearing when watching, reading, or listing to media.
Media, in general, follows three basic rules:
- Media speaks about how the person reporting sees the world. It is always their perception of the scene, tinted with their own experiences, opinions, and life-lessons.
- Media reports about what happened — not about what did not happen.
- Media reports what is beneficial for the reporter, e.g., by gaining publicity, generating clicks and therefore money or both.
And when you are aware of these basic rules, you can digest media in a healthier way. The current crisis is a great starting point for a new approach towards our own media consumption.
You can analyze your emotional state before and after consuming media.
When you feel better after watching the media, then you don’t have to worry about anything. If you feel disturbed, angry, sad, or alike, you might want to reconsider your media consumption.
People need to get back into feeling their own emotions. When you are simply watching media or movies like a zombie — you take in all information without an awake state of mind.
And that won’t help to solve any issues in the real world.
Possible loopholes — if used:
- Reflect on your media consumption — follow the path of great emotions.
- Don’t condemn the media itself; it would be best to change your own approach towards media.
4. Real life
Even if you haven’t tried virtual reality goggles yet, you can now take off your own virtual goggles.
In some areas in life, you might see everything through “pink” glasses. Or you don’t want to see the truth at all. These areas are in desperate need of improvement. But you can only improve them if you start looking at them, and although it might hurt you to look at them, it is worth the effort.
You tell yourself that some parts are okayish. Or that you will take care of these aspects later.
But the truth needs to be told: how long do you postpone necessary decisions? Or how long do you want to look away? This is not the truthful life you deserve.
It is a virtual construct of your mind.
Thus, it is important to raise your awareness of the areas that were former dark spots on your mental map.
Otherwise, there won’t be any changes in your behavior. To break free from virtual playgrounds, you have to identify these playgrounds and move back to the real deal.
And following the advice on social media consumption, you can start by envisioning how your true world should look like and simply compare it with your current reality.
If it isn’t a match, you need to be true to yourself and change it.
- Start asking yourself questions that you have never asked yourself — how should your life look like when you take off your virtual reality goggles?
- Write down these positive aspects and, step by step, try to accomplish them.
Virtual reality has a lot of potentials, but it is the “how” we will use VR that needs to be addressed and mindfully considered.
- Disconnecting from virtual reality and regain confidence in meeting “real” people.
- Regaining control over your mental loops.
- Improving your media consumption.
- Taking off the virtual reality goggles in your daily “real” life.
And as always — enjoy the ride!