Something I frequently observe in virtual reality is transformation. Of ideas, personalities, opinions, and minds. Today I’m speaking of how my mind’s conception of reality has been severely distorted by my virtual experience.
Prior to my Second Life experience I viewed reality in the conventional way: things, people, molecules and matter arranged in an intricate manner. But mostly I viewed the world as a place of things. Houses, people, plants, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.
Then I entered virtual reality. For a very short while I viewed the virtual world as I do the real world: as a place of things. Shortly thereafter I learned how to build virtual objects. After a few weeks of virtual construction (of mostly incredibly bad newbie-oriented flotsam), something weird happened in real life.
I had previously visited the virtual encampment of Canadian telecom carrier Telus. At the time they had (and may still have) a virtual store that appears very similar to their real life stores. The colors, styles and layout were nearly identical, as was no doubt their intention.
The next day in real life I happened to walk by a true, real-life, made-with-Actual-Molecules Telus store. I saw the same colors, structures and layout as existed in virtual reality. I saw that they had rezzed the real life store with a stretched prim cube along the top, and had textured the desks in a slightly transparent green.
Wait a minute...
Prim? Texture? Rezzed!!!
Those are virtual concepts, not for use in real life. Even so, my then-virtual-oriented mind was mentally decomposing the real Telus store as if it were made from virtual prims! This virtual bounce-back effect continued, as it seemed everything I looked at was no longer a “thing”. Instead real life had become “objects” made of Real Prims. I had transformed. My world view had permanently changed as I then saw real life and the virtual world in the same way. I continue to perceive reality in this way.
More recently during a quick trip to humanity’s Capital of Extreme, Las Vegas, Nevada, more transformations occurred. First, I happened to bumble into the lobby of the astounding Bellagio hotel (which, by the way, has a virtual counterpart). Just off the lobby is a giant greenhouse in which amazing displays of horticulture sprout on a regular basis.
I stopped dead in my tracks as my gaze rose up to see Huge Flowers! Flowers so tall they were Not Possible In Real Life! That's NPIRL, a term I've heard elsewhere of late.
Amazing yes, but much more so than most of the Bellagio’s patrons realized. Not only was real life similar to the virtual world in components (prims), but here they were similar in Things. As I walked among the titanic plants, cow-sized butterflies and gaily decorated giant snails large enough to ride upon I felt just as I would floating through a sim with such monstrous flora and fauna. The real world is not only made of prims, but also contains Strange Impossible Things, just like virtual reality!
As if that wasn’t enough, a final incident at the pool sealed my reality confusion. A woman beside me suddenly got up to chase her young boy, as he had galloped off toward the menacing water. As she stood, I saw the boy’s sandal attached by Velcro to the lady’s behind! Evidently the real world also has the “shoes up your ass” bug.