Am re-posting this speculative musing I had put up a couple years back. This here Rebbetzin found she has many pokey-manna to gather…
NEXT STOP IN REALITY –A REBBETZIN TEACHING IN AVATAR LAND
This article addresses avatars and virtual reality worlds — and the billions of dollars spent on this world. No, that was not fake dollars I was talking about being spent. That was cold hard cash (or credit). Let me back up and explain to those as of yet uninitiated readers. There are folks who feel bad about who they are and what they do in life. They, therefore, make up a fake self, creating a digital body on their computer which is called an avatar. This fake digital body lives in a fake, virtual world that is hosted by the worldwide web. The real people dreaming up and manipulating the fake avatars spend money on doing this. Lots of money. Billions of dollars of it!
In an interview in Time and Life Magazine, Reuben Steiger, who owns a virtual advertising agency, said, “It is unbelievable. People are spending more and more money on items that aren’t real.” Hmm, what universe is he talking about? The unreal world I live in has the same problem. So there are now two fake worlds, one that is real with lots of fakery, and one that is just really fake. I’m beginning to think of opening a learning center in the virtual reality universe, the really fake one.
I have a dream – if Martin Luther King was entitled to his, I thought I’m entitled to one or two of my own. Being a modern person, I decided to have a dream that is “with-it” for the times. So here is my virtual world fantasy.
It takes me a while to figure out where to rent a pretend building in the virtual reality world. I finally find a trendy spot within the pixilated universe. I also figure out that with the exchange rate being an average of 260 linden to the dollar, I have to hustle in the “real” world to be able to afford my little fake storefront center in the virtual reality world. After doing much work in the “real” world, I take home a paycheck, go onto Paypal and switch my dollaroos into lindenbacks. I put up a fake fancy storefront and send out flyers in the fake neighborhood with headlines screaming, “hear ye’ hear ye’ a Rebbetzin will be teaching a Torah class.” Then I wait, staring at the screen of my computer to see what will happen next.
Suddenly I spot movement on my screen. An avatar walks by, and I see her swivel her fake coiffed head in my direction. Her curiosity gets the better of her and she walks in to my fake storefront. “Hi, I’m Lila, and I’m wondering what your place is all about.”
“A place for you to learn how to differentiate between reality and virtual reality (or should I say unreality).”
“I never thought of that,” says Lila Avatar as she tugs at her fake miniskirt. “I got so caught up into buying my avatar clothing, I never thought what the meaning behind my identity could be.”
“See, just sign up for a class and all will be clear.”
“What class do you recommend?”
“Here’s one for you: Avatar: Going Beyond Surface Looks to Who You REALLY Are.”
Lila Avatar strolls into the lecture room, her high heels clicking as her digital legs are manipulated to walk. With a few movements of a mouse somewhere in the Midwest, Lila Avatar’s ankles get crossed so that other avatars strolling in get to see those shoes. After all those shoes cost Lila’s creator many a linden.
The lecturer enters. Gasp. She so doesn’t look like an avatar should, thinks Lila. She isn’t shaped like a body that had liposuction and tummy tucks (I mean really, if you are going to pixilate your fantasy you, wouldn’t you make yourself into some supermodel?). Her clothing must have come from another universe – Lila had never seen anything like it in any of the Avatar stores – covering every curve in this woman’s body. This lecturer does not look like she belongs here in this avatar land. There is something too real about her, even in her fakeness. For a moment. Lila wonders if she has somehow stepped out of her pixilated universe into another fake universe on the web, perhaps she had stumbled into another avatar universe, and with some bend of her mouse ended up in another dimension?
As the fake room fills up with buffed up avatars, the lecturer avatar gives a digital wave and begins. “Okay, folks, “says the lecturer. “why are we here, existing in this avatar universe?”
Nervous giggles around the room. True all had created themselves, but did they think why. Did any of them ever probe why they were so vastly unhappy in the “real” world that they had to escape into imagination and build themselves imaginary lives?
Lila Avatar raises her digital hand, “as an expression of individualism.”
So goes the evening, with Avatars beginning to feel the stirrings of reason within themselves, trying to figure out the meaning behind their personas. As she steps into the night after the class, Lila has to blink her eyes. It’s as if she is suddenly aware of her own self behind her avatar body. Lila, or is it Lila’s creator, passes a hand over her forehead, as if trying to massage her brain into really grasping reality.
My fantasy continues. I can get Lila, along with many of the avatars, into seeing beyond the fake-fake bodies and presentations. I might get them to finally disconnect from the avatar world and come into a real Torah class. And then, there’s no telling where the next layer of fakeness being ripped away will take them. My fantasy ends when the world finally blinks fully, seeing real reality. “I have a dream when there is no fakeness in the real world and no real fake world at all, when all will live in full reality, acknowledging the purpose of Creation.”