Whenever we see a 3-year-old playing with an iPad, or 8-year-old spending all his vacation inside a PlayStation, two conflicting thoughts come to our mind. The first one is of amazement — “Wow, we were playing with dirt at the age”. But the second one is of condescension — “These newbies are missing out on life!”
We are quick to compare their lives with ours, and think of the “real” stuff that we did while growing up: like making real friends, having real fights, and how these real actions are important in life.
But wait, if the newbies are actually missing out on life by not doing real things, then why are we grown-ups also going more and more virtual every day?
We do have the options to still go out, play in real and do other “real things” that we are so proud of doing as a kid. But no, even we would rather sit back at home, open our laptop, and binge-watch the same virtual people being fictional friends in some fictional “Friends” type series.
“But remember, it’s the newbies who are missing out!”
Let’s be real here. We chose to do “real things” as kids because that was our only option. After all, we still made the most of the TVs, Computers, and whatever other options we had. And to complete the irony, our parents or grandparents looked down upon our virtual time spending then!
Perhaps it is our human nature to regard whatever we do as special and necessary; and to throw anything that lies outside of that under the “missing out” category.
What’s interesting is, if we follow this backward trend, it is a fascinating journey of time travel.
The people from 1000 CE would look down upon us 2021 folks knowing their descendants live 16 hours of their daily lives looking at some weird screen. And then, the people from the Sparta times (around 430 BCE) would look down upon these 1000 CE folks for not going to some war with 300 compatriots against an enemy of million.
But even these brave Spartans wouldn’t be spared. Our ancestors from forests would look down upon everyone for not going into war with Lions and Leopards for mere survival. As you see the pattern here, this is a never-ending process that would go even beyond human evolution, and the only point this would end at is the Big Bang!
The reality is, time moves forward, and so does evolution and the changes around us. And we normally call this change progress.
With recent breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, it is obvious that people will live their lives — and more importantly, enjoy their lives — more than ever in the virtual world. Because remember, it is all still a choice. And people are accepting the virtual.
Maybe 100 years from now, people would pay for a Red Pill that lets them spend and enjoy decades of their lives in virtual worlds!
Of course, the thought might feel depressing to us now, the same way our lives would feel depressing to our ancestors or forest foragers.
But the reality is: if we were all there in 100 years —we 2021 folks, Sparta-time ancestors, and Forest-time foragers — we all would probably take the Red Pill too, along with our future 2121 folks!