Ready Player One: AR Gaming Meets Transhumanism

If you are looking for the accompanying TNET article about Steven Spielberg’s new movie “Ready Player One”, you will find it here.
 

[ARG6 Order of the Inner Court]

This post is the last in a six part series, links to and information about which you can find below. Be here, ready to refresh this page when the timer below reaches zero, and – if you have read the six articles carefully – then you may see a door open…

[EDIT: Timer now lapsed. Your QueSt begins in the Black Room. Look behind the easter egg.]

Welcome to a Rabbit Hole for TNET‘s March-April 2018 Game Event.

The following piece is FRActal MEtafiction (FRAME); a Futurist Arts & Culture paradigm which draws upon the concepts of Culture Mining and Gamification, and is inspired by artists such as William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Joseph Cornell, Andy Warhol, and Marcel Duchamp, in addition to Postmodern theorists such as Jean Baudrillard.

 

[21 9622] The Intricate Sun
[from “The House of Asterion” by Jorge Luis Borges]

Another ridiculous falsehood has it that I, Asterion, am a prisoner. Shall I repeat that there are no locked doors, shall I add that there are no locks? Besides, one afternoon I did step into the street; If I returned before night, I did so because of the fear that the faces of the common people inspired in me, faces as discolored and flat as the palm of one’s hand. the sun had already set, but the helpless crying of a child and the rude supplications of the faithful told me I had been recognized. The people prayed, fled, prostrated themselves; some climbed onto the stylobate of the Temple of the Axes, others gathered stones.

One of them, I believe, hid himself beneath the sea. Not for nothing was my mother a queen; I cannot be confused with the populace, though my modesty might so desire. The fact is that that I am unique. I am not interested in what one man may transmit to other men; like the philosopher I think that nothing is communicable by the art of writing. Bothersome and trivial details have no place in my spirit, which is prepared for all that is vast and grand; I have never retained the difference between one letter and another. A certain generous impatience has not permitted that I learn to read. Sometimes I deplore this, for the nights and days are long.

Not only have I imagined these games, I have also meditated on the house. All parts of the house are repeated many times, any place is another place. There is no one pool, courtyard, drinking trough, manger; the mangers, drinking troughs, courtyards pools are fourteen (infinite) in number. The house is the same size as the world; or rather it is the world. However, by dint of exhausting the courtyards with pools and dusty gray stone galleries I have reached the street and seen the temple of the Axes and the sea. I did not understand this until a night vision revealed to me that the seas and temples are also fourteen (infinite) in number. Everything is repeated many times, fourteen times, but two things in the world seem to be repeated only once: above, the intricate sun; below Asterion. Perhaps I have created the stars and the sun and this enormous house, but I no longer remember.

Every nine years, nine men enter the house so that I may deliver them from evil. I hear their steps or their voices in the depths of the stone galleries and I run joyfully to find them. The ceremony lasts a few minutes. They fall one after another without my having to bloody my hands. They remain where they fell and their bodies help distinguish one gallery from another. I do not know who they are, but I know that one of them prophesied, at the moment of his death, that some day my redeemer would come.

Your position and role in the universe is to some extent a matter of perception. Perception can be altered. Some alterations are forced upon you, some creep up on you, and others can be chosen or cultivated… how would you alter your own perception, given the opportunity?


[22 3852] Magical Consciousness
[from “Pop Magic!” by Grant Morrison]

Magical consciousness is a particular way of seeing and interacting with the real world. I experience it as what I can only describe as a “head-click,” a feeling of absolute certainty accompanying a perceptual shift which gives real world transactions the numinous, uncanny feeling of dreams.

Magical consciousness is a way of experiencing and participating with the local environment in a heightened, significant manner, similar to the effects of some drug trips, Salvador Dali’s “Paranoiac/critical” method, near death experiences, etc. Many apparently precognitive and telepathic latencies become more active during periods of magical consciousness. This is the state in which tea leaves are read, curses are cast, goals are scored, poems are written.

Magical Consciousness can be practiced until it merges with and becomes everyday consciousness. Maintained at these levels it could interfere with your lifestyle unless you have one which supports long periods of richly associative thought.

Again, this is a matter of carefully cultivated and designed perceptual awareness. Humans have been doing this for as long as there have been humans. Tailored perception will be an extremely important part of the Transhuman future.


[23 2908] Nothing is Either Good or Bad
[from “The Conspiracy Against the Human Race” by Thomas Ligotti]

This is the great lesson the depressive learns: Nothing in the world is inherently compelling. Whatever may be really “out there” cannot project itself as an affective experience. It is all a vacuous affair with only a chemical prestige. Nothing is either good or bad, desirable or undesirable, or anything else except that it is made so by laboratories inside us producing the emotions on which we live.

And to live on our emotions is to live arbitrarily, inaccurately—imparting meaning to what has none of its own. Yet what other way is there to live? Without the ever-clanking machinery of emotion, everything would come to a standstill. There would be nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to be, and no one to know.

The alternatives are clear: to live falsely as pawns of affect, or to live factually as depressives, or as individuals who know what is known to the depressive. How advantageous that we are not coerced into choosing one or the other, neither choice being excellent. One look at human existence is proof enough that our species will not be released from the stranglehold of emotionalism that anchors it to hallucinations. That may be no way to live, but to opt for depression would be to opt out of existence as we consciously know it.

As history confirms, people will change their minds about almost anything, from which god they worship to how they style their hair. But when it comes to existential judgments, human beings in general have an unfalteringly good opinion of themselves and their condition in this world and are steadfastly confident they are not a collection of self-conscious nothings.

Most people learn to save themselves by artificially limiting the content of consciousness.

Ligotti is correct, of course. What he presumably doesn’t see or appreciate, however, is that technology will soon afford us the opportunity to tailor our own perceptions and emotional content with a heretofore undreamt-of levels of control and precision. Or, perhaps Ligotti intuits Transhumanist potential perfectly well… after all, he correctly notes that we already survive this terrible “existential gap” (between happiness and understanding) by artificially limiting our day-to-day awareness of such things…

At the deepest philosophical level he will only have been proven more correct, but that deep fact of conscious awareness will be less of a problem. We will view depression as an easily altered “glitch”, a ‘problem’ comparable to brushing lint off one’s shoulder rather than a debilitating illness, and those who insist upon suffering from depression will be deemed to have made a lifestyle choice, for good or ill. Of course, in a world of trivially accessible happiness, we as a civilization will have to be very careful not to lose touch with reality, or the need to do certain kinds of work in service of the culture that makes such easy happiness possible.


[24 2396] In Your Own Flame
[from “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche]

But the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caverns and forests. Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?

I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: you have still chaos in you. I love those who do not know how to live, except by going under, for they are those who cross over.

To “burn yourself in your own flame” suggests using all of your energy and resources to create a transforming “fire”, and to emerge from it unscathed and improved, freed from all that was “burned”. What would you burn, and what would you use that transformative heat to become?

Thoughts to frame@zerostate.net or in comments below may be rewarded with ARG info. Conversations held elsewhere and linked back to that address or comments below will definitely win clues, hints, & info.

 

ARG1 Zone of Nothing

ARG2 Twenty Thousand Years

ARG3 Cataclysmic Renewal

ARG4 MONTSALVAT

ARG5 Houses of the Outer Court

Ready Player One: AR Gaming Meets Transhumanism

 

About Ámon Ásentir