Thoughts about the negative effects we may well see from Apple's new Virtual Reality Headset that no one is talking about.
Someone recently introduced me to video on a YouTube channel by a guy who calls himself Moon. It's an interesting channel. He's a bit of a philosopher. Though we might disagree on some things, I believe that thoughtful opinions that are different than mine are useful "mental fiber."
Iron sharpens iron, after all.
Moon has a video (you can see it below, in this article) where he discusses the new Apple VR headset. I have to say that as I listened to what he had to say, at a point or two, I did have chills.
I think Moon is right about this, for sure: Apple knew they had a game-changer here. This thing has the power to change human history.
The commentators and reviewers rave about this thing as bigger than the Mac, bigger than the iPhone.
It might well be.
This headset claims to be the ultimate mixed reality (VR/AR) experience. It might be that, too. After all, they're boasting that they can recreate the world around you - in 4k, in real time.
So what is the problem here? What could possibly go wrong?
By the way....
This article you're reading now looks at how enticing virtual reality is as a dopamine addiction tool.
But if you're curious about where chat GPT sits on the "political correctness" scale, check out this article.
As Moon said in the video,
Throughout all of the noise, one question has stuck with me about all this is, "What problem is this solving?"
Fair question. In industry, if you can find a problem and solve it, you have a gold mine. So you might want to ask if Apple saw a problem and wanted to solve that problem? What problem would that be?
At first, it seems like they're just trying to solve the issue of virtual reality not being popular in the public but this is actually a problem? Does anyone actually want virtual reality to be mainstream apart from Silicon Valley?
I'm not sure most people outside of Silicon Valley have ever really thought about it. Most people are busy earning a living to be able to feed their kids and give them a warm bed to sleep in at night.
And if they're like most parents, they hope to have time left over at the end of the day to spend with those kids, nurturing them, enjoying their company and trying to raise them to be decent, responsible adults.
You want to raise them to be adults grounded in reality.
The real problem that the Vision Pro is trying to solve is that not everyone in the world can have everything they always want.
In fact, for the average person around the world, you have almost nothing you actually want or need. The despairing malaise that hangs heavy permeates from the fact that there is no sense of adventure in your life; no community, no freedom. You spend every day struggling to pay the rent, the bills, the debts, prices keep increasing, taxes keep hiking, your income is stagnating, a recession is booming.
The fact is that much of life for so many people is just plain.... dreary. Is that what Apple is trying to fix?
I wish I could be so optimistic.
Don't get me wrong. There is much in life to celebrate. But the world is, in many ways, for many people, a very dreary place, indeed.
We live in dystopian citadels with "in-transit" inhabitants where your only free time is spent being shuttled on grindingly slow, packed public transport through a dangerous urban sprawl with just enough energy left at the end of the day to mindlessly watch a drip, drip of a lethargic mountain of entertainment, where you then wake up in a gloomy claustrophobic tower block, with streets with grime and riddled with moss, provoking the moral decay of your atomized existence.
We also live in a world of broken dreams, shattered homes, and so many unfulfilled desires for significance and true intimacy.
And as bleak as this may sound, this is the average life for most people. But with the perfect virtual reality system, this problem is "solved."
As Moon says.
If the product is good enough, then the sad reality of your life just slowly fades out and a new reality begins. You can be crying of loneliness in your dark empty apartments. But then, when you put on the headset, your true reality just dissolves away. You're taken to see different friends, different cultures, different places, different memories.
More social media. More dopamine sucking videos, more games. More pleasure, in a way that you've never experienced before.
With the New Vision Pro, you won't ever need to pick up a phone or a laptop. You can just be plugged straight into the Appleverse with your eyes attaching your own Consciousness to your life, your business, your culture, your Society into a virtual world run by Apple.
Are there any benefits we might see from the Apple VR headsets? Of course.
Imagine surgeons being able to train in real-time, with models of the brain, with the tumor, and lots of practice runs at it to get it right before they ever have to crack open a skull.
Or, imagine your loved one with Alzheimer's disease, being able to relive memories with you. The possibilities are endless - for good and for bad.
The Vision Pro will change the world just as much as the internet has. But if left unchecked, there will be some serious problems.
How's this for a frightening prospect? If you think elections have been rigged in the past, with media interference and everything else, my bet is you ain't seen nothin' yet.
Moon makes some interesting claims in the video, and with good reason, I expect he is correct in what he says about this difficult matter.
At these social media platforms, they are picking the next president, the next Congressmen. They're literally picking. And they have the power to pick so they will be controlled by the government.
That's why Professor Reed explained, when talking about virtual reality, that "the ultimate aim is not just virtual reality or augmented reality it's mixed reality."
It's blending the digital and the real world together. And ultimately, this blend may be so good and so pervasive that the virtual and the real become indistinguishable.
Imagine the grabs for power, for control, for money.
If the entire New World - memories, life, and culture - is adopted into the virtual world, then who's actually controlling this world? The same company using sweatshops with suicide Nets in China? The same company caught spying on all of its users with iPhones? The same company that senses any political opinions that opens their ESG score? It's clear the VR world will not be as free as we think.
We're becoming attached to the virtual world on autopilot and it's already happening where our phones and computers are morphing into our second brains with all of our memories.
And what about the dopamine rush that they can feed with instant access to temporary "fulfillments" of all our unbridled passions, divorced from the realities of love and commitment?
Personal taste, secrets, hobbies, music, conversations all get stored into a virtual Cloud. But once we actually live inside the virtual world - when our entire society and culture exists in this virtual world, that's when we need to be concerned.
Because if the Vision Pro succeeds it will be bigger than the iPhone and this leads on to one of the biggest problems.
In the Apple VR lie, augmented reality will remove the last few seconds of time between the impulse to further destruction and getting the dopamine rewards. They will push the digital world of distractions right into people's faces.
And this final war between us and the digital world is crucial. Instead of having adverts and notifications appear on your phone, they'll appear directly in Your Vision. With augmented reality, technology will become even more demanding of your attention and your time.
And apple will use this to their advantage, plugging you into their addictive data harvesting system 24/7, giving them an untold wealth of information to sell. But it goes the other way as well
Big Tech will have even more tools to predict what you'll want.
Next time, they'll be able to tell exactly how long each thing they show you keeps your attention and what draws you away; what cites distract you, what colors light up your brain.
And this will complement and work in tandem with the real world web meaning that your every desire will literally be at your fingertips.
And it's in this way that augmented reality and the real-world web brings us far closer to Nozick's experience machine.
So what, exactly is Nozick's "experience machine?"
This is a classic thought experiment of a machine that offers you the best possible existence: complete bliss and pleasure. The only cost that comes with this is that you won't want to ever be unplugged. It detaches you from reality itself.
Will there be people who won't accept this? Will there be people who don't want to be plugged into the machine? Well, as Moon says,
Even though it's literal Heaven, lots of people won't accept being plugged in as there's a value in reality
that's unattainable from a simulation. Or, at least, that's what the thought experiment suggests. And this is exactly what the Vision Pro offers: happiness and a world of information and entertainment at your fingertips.
But we've already seen that this isn't bringing people happiness.
As Moon says, it is actually doing the opposite.
I mean, the majority of people in the west have access to luxuries that the Lords and kings of history couldn't even dream of. Hot showers, a diverse and delicious range of food and drinks, entertainment at a moment's notice.
But we're never actually happier. We're more miserable, lonely and empty every single day because the happiness that augmented reality and the experienced machine promise is false.
The whole idea of this philosophical concept is that happiness isn't something that we should value above everything else. It's fleeting when it's provided through distractions and Hedonism.
Happiness isn't the end result of a process. Instead, it's a byproduct of the process as a whole. It's the journey, not the destination; the hard work of achieving your goals in life, both big and small, is where happiness really comes from.
The problem with the Vision Pro is that it promises to get rid of all the obstacles that make the journey in the first place, pretty much removing the journey entirely.
And this will kill the small amounts of happiness left to take on the world. Paradoxically, pursuing happiness as the final goal, as "the solution to the masses problem" means that people will never actually find real happiness.
Therefore, Apple isn't really solving the issue that it's trying to fix. Outside of helping you to do a specific thing in a specific case, it will only serve as a distraction, just like smartphones already do.
It will reduce your attention span and make you easily distracted and less determined.
It's a procrastination machine that will leave the masses more addicted, more distracted, more dopamine-deprived than ever before.
The type of content we consume will always be changed to reflect the shortening of attention spans. Short form content has become so prevalent that we now have to have AR headsets to fill the holes instantaneously.
They already play on experience. Most short form content tries to provoke a single emotion in the quickest way possible.
Just imagine political Echo chambers that come into reality and manifest themselves in your living room.
Or a world of Instagram models, influencers and adult entertainment stars that will look more real than real, without taking off your headset or unplugging from the system. And you'll be under the illusion that everyone looks perfect.
Your dopamine will be fried and any addictions you have to attractive girls on Instagram and other sites will only be doubled.
This is the future we're rapidly approaching and Apple's Vision Pro is the first step in that direction: a new, virtual world that will strip you of your privacy, discipline, focus, freedom and authenticity.
So long as our culture continues to offer nothing whatsoever of substance, authenticity or meaning, nightmarish trends like The Vision Pro will only continue to proliferate.
And the sad fact is that the majority of us will jump in without even a second thought.
I have a final thought after this, from what I believe is the best Christian perspective on this stuff and how we need to see this, and how we need to respond. But watch the video. It's jarring.
A final thought from Cogny Mann here.
It seems like the perfect rabbit hole. But the problem with all of this, like most everything else, is that there is no easy answer.
Perhaps you know yourself well enough to know you'd be fine with it.
But just remember that Nietzsche only got it partly right. He was right that real life isn't about pursuing happiness. He was right that happiness is a byproduct of the pursuit. But what, actually, is the pursuit supposed to be, anyway?
The fact that happiness isn't the end goal, but should be about the byproduct of the journey, is true.
Happiness might come as a byproduct of your ultimate pursuit. Or it might not.
The reality is that we live in a broken world. You are here for a reason and you have a purpose.
Be one of those people who strives to leave the world a better place when you leave it than when you came into it. Be brave. Be Intentional.
Seek to make a positive mark in the lives of people around you. Even if that requires self-sacrifice, or if it comes at the price of being misunderstood.
Find out what it is you believe in, and LIVE FOR THAT.
What do I live for? What is my purpose? You'll just have to explore the site to figure that one out.