Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality

Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality

Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality

Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality

Synopsis

As the technological phenomenon known as the worldwide web permeates civilizations, it inevitably alters them, creating some cultures and anticultures and destroying others. In this pioneering book, philosopher Thomas Langan explores virtual reality -- an inherently contradictory phrase -- and technology's effect on our very being. In our present-day high-technology environment, making simple, everyday decisions is difficult because the virtual world we've created doesn't necessarily operate according to reason. To retain our intellectual fitness, we should, Langan urges, consider some essential questions: If virtual reality is, in fact, real, what is this life that we are caught up in? What is being within the context of virtual reality? How can we establish a system to assist us in distinguishing truth from fiction?

Although technology minimizes the distance between people and the information they want, it simultaneously blurs the line dividing fact from falsehood and real from virtual. The individual's,intellectual survival is threatened as each technological advancement challenges our collective definition of reality. As reality shifts and changes around us, it becomes more difficult to distinguish true reality from the virtual reality we have created. Because much of the information that is presented as fact simply works to fulfill a certain agenda, we cannot accept as truth everything that appears on the internet or in the media. To survive, we must learn to manage our lives and resources amid the flood of information we are bombarded with daily.

Expertly interweaving the worlds of technology and philosophy, Surviving the Age of Virtual Reality pushes the analysis of thistechnological and human phenomenon to new depths. Written in a style that will appeal not only to the philosopher but to the general reader as well, this book furnishes a clearer idea of our world.

Excerpt

You Are in the HTX and Did Not Even Know It!

As we get ever more swept up into the brave new worldwide society, even some techies are concerned that it may be whirling out of control. (And they started to feel that way before discovery of that millennial warning from God, the Y2K bug!) This world system is so new and powerful—growing exponentially as the population explodes and interconnectedness expands—and so unprecedented, and hence unpredictible, we do not even have a name for this new kind of planetary social phenomenon.

Or we didn't, until now: Welcome to the HTX! This new social phenomenon has roots as old as man's first technical inventions; no one can establish a border for it, there is no moment when modern industrial society became the HTX. But our research group of techies (philosophers and even a psychiatrist) after struggling for several years to describe it, drifted one night, under the influence of low-tech Chardonnay, into calling it the HTX: HT for High Technology and X, meaning “No Name.” And, we realized, it “X's out” cultures and civilizations. It roots no one in the soil, rather it obfuscates our natural roots, hence it is not a cultura. And while it spreads its net out from many urban nodes, it is no civilization, for it is not now bound to a city, or even cities as such, indeed, again unlike civilizations, it has no center. It is penetrating old cultures and transforming great civilizations, especially the modern European from which it issued, interacting with them in ways that reverberate back on, and thus alter, the HTX itself (the Japanese are forced to be more American and Americans more Japanese as the HTX transmits profound influences from both). Now it is even being accused of forming an entire generation, “Generation X”!

It is not a culture, not a civilization, so what is it then?

Answering that question is actually vital to your personal prosperity, for the HTX, whether you like it or not, forms the context in which you live (and invest). A proper knowledge of it is necessary for your survival (and prosperity) and crucial to the maintenance of a civilized . . .

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