“Virtual Reality Is the Real…” by Sarah Odishoo

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“In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth was without form …”
The Holy Bible, King James Version

“The brain stores something on the order of 2.8 x 10 to the 20th power (280,000,000,000,000,000,000) bits of information.”
Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe

1.

Could it be that the earth is a virtual reality and our bodies are virtual instruments by which to experience a preformed virtual world?

“In the beginning” means before form—in other words, in a physical sense, before the earth was even an idea; that is, the beginning is not physical. It is without form, without a visible shape or configuration.

“God created the heavens and the earth” out of his mind as an immersive multimedia simulated reality, forming an environment that simulates a physical presence in a perceived real or imagined world.

2.

Because human beings are each immersed in their own perception of reality, all perceptions are exclusive to the individual, and all experiences are uniquely interpreted “coincidences” of this physical world. There is no universal truth but that: Each human is immersed in his/her own body’s insight and discernment from what each “observes” and “smells” in the world. But no one can share what another knows, feels, senses, tastes, smells.

“Karl H. Pribram points out that when we look at a person, the image of the person is really on the surface of our retinas. Yet we do not perceive the person as being on our retinas. We perceive them as being in the ‘world-out-there.’ Similarly, when we stub our toe, we experience the pain in our toe. But the pain is not really in our toe. It is actually a neurophysiological process taking place somewhere in our brain.”

—Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe

We discover virtually ourselves and others through the language of the brain. And virtual reality is not a physical world but a language the brain receives and translates.

And if virtual reality is a language, and God created the world, according to the Bible, by speaking “It is good” to the formless turned “formed,” perhaps we and our universe are virtual realities of a divine verbal order …

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it is, but I am speculating. Since the beginning of this century, we have had enough discoveries that are now ubiquitous; it may be time to recreate our virtual reality …

3.

So what is virtual reality? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.”

Let me translate—“virtual reality” means then experiencing a mock environment through a computer simulation, a programmed set of experiences already written for us to be (fate) and to experience (choice). And then the individual is programmed to detect and adjust to the user experience as the player’s discovery that his/her own movements have consequences. That, in a physical world, is called “reality”—cause and effect. The programming is an important element because it is mostly invisible, unknowable, and consequential in all humans’ perception of physical reality.

4.

Imagine then …

The world as a three-dimensional image: mortal human …

—The head mounted at the base of the neck moves as smoothly as the body can move the head in real time; that head-mounted display (HMD) consists of two small screens in front of each “eye” and a blackout blindfold (eyelids) blocking all other light (sleeping and dreaming) and eliminating distractions from the “real” world.

—Now add stereo headphones and position sensors to detect exactly how the head and body are moving (position and orientation) and adjust and tune the picture and sound of the physical accordingly so that the body can both see and hear.

—Now using data gloves, hands with built-in sensors to touch or feel the way into an imaginary home, one can reach and touch the new world, exploring the “feel” of life in one’s hands. Is this how G-d did it?

5.

Virtual reality is a means by which we can begin to understand creation itself and our role in it: The soul … our self from the real world (the Creator’s world) substitutes real-life experiences with a computer-generated environment: a headset, our brain, one with high-performance computer programming that directs the body’s sensory equipment. But that headset is more than programming. The brain is capable of more than maintaining the functional uses of the body in a physical world.

6.

Requirements of virtual reality …

The world must be believable, explorable, interactive, and immersive enough to engage both body and mind. It needs to be stable, repeatable, somewhat predictable in sight, sound, and feel, and oh, did I forget smell and taste? The virtual world has to be interactive with your body, move as you move, and able to think. The body needs to be able to detect and adjust to the user’s experience according to the user’s movement. And most importantly, the entire user’s experience is done alone with its own computer programming.

That programming in the human then is different from our recent versions of encoding, ostensibly because our format allows us choices in some areas, as in evolution. Those choices, I think, have to do with the nature of human-computer simulation: In this earth’s environment, we are enveloped in a realm of opposites. And that allows for two soulful elements: conscious choice and freedom of self-determination. Based on those choices, we can choose to grow or to decay.

7.

“Evolution can then be viewed as a spiritual process in that it creates spiritual beings, that is, entities that are conscious. Evolution also moves toward greater complexity, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and the ability to express more transcendent emotions, such as love. These are all descriptions that people have used for the concept of God, albeit God is described as having no limitations in these regards.”

—Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind

8.

The soul …

“… and there was in the body of Adam the inspiration of a speaking spirit, unto the illumination of the eyes and the hearing of the ears.”

—Genesis 2:7, Rabbinic understanding of Genesis 2:7, Targum

Soul: (nephesh, Hebrew): “the term nephesh is used … to refer to the throat as if it relates to breathing and eating … where ‘the thirsty’ is literally ‘the dried out throat.’ The throat is also the instrument for breathing … the word expresses the idea of life and desire, and other uses of soul appear to be derived from this concrete one.”

—Biblical Institute

“… the totality of the person as a center of life, emotions, feelings and longings that can be fully realized only in union with God.”

        —Biblical Institute

“… a person “does not have a soul, but is a soul.”

—Brevard Childs

9.

So what does having a soul say about humans? What are we here for and why?

“One of (David) Bohm’s [Bohm was instrumental in the early development of the holonomic model of the functioning of the brain] most startling assertions is that the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really a kind of illusion, like a holographic image. Underlying it is a deeper order of existence, a vast and more primary level of reality that gives birth to all objects and appearances of our physical world in much the same way that a piece of holographic film gives birth to the hologram.”

—Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe

10.

With that kind of equipment, that is, space suit, our bodies, and headset, our brain, and the world, a computer-generated environment, the world becomes an imaginary home and our bodies the sensors for detecting and adjusting to a computer-generated physical experience of that reality that was and is “created” for us to block out the “real” world we came from—Love/God.

(I am using both the words “Love” and “God” as ubiquitous nomenclature for the mystery of our being and of the unknowable cause and reason for being, the real source of life, one which is beyond our capacity to generate or produce the living source of all being.)

Body then is virtual hardware, the head-mounted display to see and hear, the gloves to feel, the blackout blindfold (closing one’s eyes) to eliminate distractions from the original world from which we came and must return: the soul.

11.

Virtual reality then raises questions about human identity …

Who are we? Why are we here?

We are here to learn to choose “rightly” that world from which we came and to which we are here to learn its language. We had to be born into the physical in order to learn to discern the differences of the opposites, the “breath” of language that holds meaning beyond meaning … to be able to distinguish, discriminate, and determine what in fact is spiritually real, actual, and genuinely meaningful to our lives. And only in the opposite choices does the reality of the “real” become discernible. All religions of the world know the mystery of an individual’s life, and only when that mystery is revealed, do we know the best course one’s life can take.

Because language is not a three-dimensional image but sounds that carry meaning, it can inseminate another’s being … ideally, through love. Four of the “L” words are not virtual but the real … love, laughter, language, learning, and in that order from birth to death. That is what we are here to experience, and the ones who do it well are our saviors, from the beggar to the holy man (many times the same). They understand the riches this virtual reality offers: sovereignty to choose that which will let you choose to love, laugh, understand, and learn the value of your being.

12.

Oh, virtual death … we return to our source, having been immersed in a world of visual experiences with complex detail of our selves on a grand scale, a better player, hopefully, with love as a compass, simulating an imaginative world that will drive us closer to our source with the sensory equipment of our bodies and brains, programmed to return to our conscious reality in our real lifetime …

“Indeed, as we now look inside the brain and decode its mechanisms we discover methods and algorithms that we cannot only understand but recreate… Humans already constitute spiritual machines. Moreover, we will merge with the tools we are creating that the distinction between human and machine will blur until the difference disappears. That process is already well under way, even if most of the machines that extend us are not yet inside our bodies and brains.”

—Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind


Sarah A. Odishoo is a poet and writer who teaches at Columbia College Chicago. She was nominated for the Best of Net Anthology for “Euclid’s Bride,” published by diversevoicesquarterly.com. Most recently, “Red and Wolf: A Fibonacci Sequence,” was published by crackthespine.com and nominated for the Best of Net Anthology 2015.


Image by pallina60 Loon.

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