In a world that has been taking humans by storm like rarely before, change has become the only constant. The boundaries are being more blurred everyday both within the material world and between the latter and imagined utopias, or maybe dystopias.
And we are left to adapt or resist, jump on the bandwagon or miss the train to the next virtual hotspot.
If the everlasting pandemic has accelerated our ability to travel from the comfort of our living room, and date behind our screens, it has also disrupted our ways of anchoring ourselves in our surroundings, of being in the “here”. Spiritual leaders and healers from across the spectrum have been hammering harmony-seekers with the importance of being in the now, of overcoming the melancholy of the past and detaching from the anxiety of what is yet to come. If being present in the now is of essence, how do you anchor yourself in your actual physical space? For the sake of the exercise, let’s pretend that we have indeed mastered the ability of being in the now. What about the “here”?
How can we be fully present if we are holding meetings in the metaverse or having our avatars do so, touring museums on our phone, pretending to be the next super soldier on gaming platforms, choosing our next outfit in immaterial luxury boutiques, dealing with a virtual currency to land the next surreal art piece, or buying a house that will never really be our home?
Alternatively, how can we still enjoy our living room when we have just toured our dream house on the metaverse? How can we go back to being a finite human when we have spent our Friday night in the shoes of an omnipotent CEO? How can we still negotiate terms and conditions of self-freedom when we have been given a chance to show up as anything we ever dreamed of, albeit for a few hours, in a virtual world. If the younger generations seem to navigate the boundaries between physical and immaterial spaces with more ease, some of the older ones are having difficulties wrapping their heads around how expandable the world has become. And it is indeed uncomfortable.
We were raised in a world where boundaries were meant to keep us safe, in line, predictable. Some might advocate that the real world has become too dull, too narrow. Isn’t it why we have, from time immemorial, found escape in art, literature, travel, music, astrology, psychotropic experiences?Isn’t it why the world has collectively validated the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings’ parallel universes?
So who is right? And is there even a right and a wrong? Where does it end, and should it end? How do we connect with the self when we can be a zillion other selves?
Probably be recognizing that there are no straightforward answers. By admitting that the back-and-forth to and from virtual realities is a reality in itself. By remembering that humans are social animals and as such will still need to have physical exchanges if only to embrace their vulnerabilities. And that in fine, it is precisely these vulnerabilities and limits that make for what the human race has best to offer.