Monday, July 17, 2006

What Ever Happened to the Real World?

Seems like only a handful of years ago there was still a real world. Now it's all electronic. Inside this computer are all the thoughts and fantasies of millions of people who no longer go outside except to get into their cars. Even the ones who claim to be doing things outside soon get back to their computers to share their account of it with the world.

The weather is to blame. It's too hot and humid or it's too rainy or it's too cold and damp, or, increasingly rarely, really cold and icy. Screw it. Indoors we have air conditoning or heat, humidity control, a bathroom, a kitchen and electronic windows on a vast world more interesting than anything we could flop into through our own actual front doors.

And we have work to do. The future belongs to those who can manipulate ideas. Before long no one will actually have to make anything. You'll score all your points by demonstrating how your idea could be done. If you don't win the prize for elegant simplicity or utmost economy or artistic embellishment you could still come out on top just because you made people laugh.

Real things happen in other parts of the world. Real people walk real dusty roads. Real angry people shoot at each other over real old arguments that seem real important to them. Real backward nations make real strides forward to attain the level of unreality currently enjoyed in the developed world.

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