The future. A world where technology and humanity are fully integrated. A world where the human mind is not limited by this mortal coil. A world where the mind is able to act based on thought alone.
“Do you want to know what it is?” asked Regulus, the master of time and space. He has chosen to visit this earth on a future date, in order to instruct a new member of his Order.
“You mean the Matrix?” asked Tim, a teenager just out of High School and the master’s apprentice.
“No. This is the real world, not fantasy. In the late 20th century, something called the Internet became more and more mainstream. The world applauded its ingenuity, as well as the hope of a world united by information. Be careful what you wish for.
“As the years went by, the ability to search for information became easier and easier. It got to the point where books and libraries were no longer necessary.”
“Books? But I read them all the time,” said Tim.
“You don’t understand. I’m talking about real buildings, with paper books, on wooden shelves.”
“Oh. That does sound arcane.”
“Arcane? Anyway, as the early 21st century, the Internet inspired Social Media. The ability of humans to interact, to share what they were doing, what they were feeling, what they were looking for – all that became part of the Internet. There was a race to develop ways for humans to socialize, and to have these interactions recorded and quantified for commercial purposes.
“There was a tremendous push to make the Internet portable, and easy for all to access. Concurrently, there were attempts to make it easier to interact with data, touching screens with gestures instead of clicking on an 18th century-designed keyboard. Scientists developed ways for humans to use their mind to move objects on a screen. Eventually, skipped the external world, and were able to bring the world wide web internally, into their brains directly.
“Soon, whole economies were built around the notion that we as humans needed to be on the Internet for industries to thrive. Concurrently, robots developed in Asia reached the point where they could do all the mundane tasks that we as humans used to do.
“So, using the justification that the human mind was necessary to continue growing the economy – the mind needed to be freed from physical labors that machines were now performing, and at a much quicker pace – humanity, for the most part, slowly and willingly plugged into this world. This world that you know as your home.”
“You mean this isn’t real?”
“What is real?” asked Regulus. “If reality is defined by your brain’s interpretation of the responses from your five senses, then this world is as real as the world that your ancestors lived. However, if you define reality the way I define it, then no. This is not real. This world is a binary world, not created by God, but created by man. The real world is somewhere else, and you, unfortunately, are separated from that world by a firewall of humanity’s making.
“In this world, information is static. Humans, however, are dynamic. Humans give the information life.
“The Internet inspired the proliferation of Groupthink. In this world that developed, Groupthink has turned into a human hive mind. What you see all around you is the next evolutionary step, where individuals are forgotten, and what the group wants, the group gets.
“Borders are largely forgotten. Past rivalries are fought over on a vicious game board. The tolls of such game wars are small in comparison to the slaughter that war used to be. It’s to the point where you can call it a game and not feel guilty.
“Now, Tim, let me show you an ancient example of two people who were already caught in the new world that you live in, without actually being plugged in.”
Don’s point of view:
I dated Cindy like over a year ago. She went off on me, broke up with me, tried to apologize the next day, and I was done. I managed to get a friendship out of it, so she didn’t feel so bad.
Well, she hit me up with an actual FB friend request last week. I thought about it, and I agreed.
What was I thinking.
Next thing I know, she’s all over my wall, making comments on photos, friending girls I know, lying about me. I come off as defensive when I say something, or like some desperate former lover. It’s crazy. I feel like she just wants to destroy my FB network.
I had to go nuclear, and unfriend her. I don’t care how it looks.
Cindy’s point of view:
I don’t know what Don’s problem is. He’s so immature. I’ve never seen anyone take a joke so personally. His other friends get it.
First off, I believe in friending people I know and am on good terms with. Don and I were on good terms. We were friends. We tried dating, but it didn’t work out. No big deal. A man and a woman can be friends. It’s the 21st century for goodness sake.
So, I didn’t see any problem in friending Don, but I guess he thought differently. I guess he’s the kind of Facebook troll who friends people and doesn’t interact with them? I guess he expects people to just look at his wall of photos and comments, smile, and just move on? Whatever. I didn’t know his wall was a museum, and we have to observe SILENCE when passing through his thought exhibits.
So he unfriended me. So what? I can still see his comments on the walls of his friends who have friended me, and remain friended to me, I might add. I guess if he was right, they would have unfriended me yesterday, too. Oh, well. In the old days, you had to look in the mirror to face your problems. Today, you just have to look at your Facebook friends, and how they react to your outbursts.
“What’s sick is they were both caught in this virtual world and neither of them saw it,” explained Regulus after he and Tim watched the wabac machine data stream from Don and Cindy’s perspective.
“Like the Matrix, we now live in a world where humans are not born anymore; they are made. Unlike the Matrix, humans are made based on the interactions of real people living in this virtual world.”
“There are those that stay on the outside, who choose not to plug in; mind, body, and soul. However, these people depend on you. You, and those like you, who are plugged in to this unreality, rule the real world with your minds.”
“But you want to set my mind free, right?” asked Tim. “So, when do I meet you in the real world? How do I get out of here?”
Regulus chuckled and answered, “Set you free? I can’t set you free. It’s impossible.”
“What do you mean?”
“Once you become part of the network, you can never escape.”
“No no no no. I mean like the Matrix, you know? Unplug. Operator, I need an exit? Agents are coming to get me? Come on, man.”
“That’s science fiction. That’s the false hope contained in movies. In the real world, your body has shriveled up. Your teeth has fallen out. Your stomach no longer works. You are fed intravenously. Your muscles and bones have atrophied. You are very similar to the computers you have merged with. You cannot move. You are entirely dependent on electrical grids to keep you alive. Humanity has collectively given up on the body in order to live here, so that your minds can control the world, without physical constraint.”
Tim was disgusted.
Regulus added, “If you want to join my Order, you must accept the truth.”