Created February 24, 2023
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
Isn’t it all virtual? “Virtual” refers to light – and Wheeler made it clear with an equation how light is bound into matter by channeling energy from distance movement into spin movement. We are already living in virtual reality then. Nevertheless, a new layer of it is coming.
In this week’s post, sharing with you the first chapter in my new novel Revelations: Live To All Minds in the Agents Of Cosmic Intelligence series. The story assumes that about thirty years from now we still haven’t wiped out the whole planet, and are still inventing things, and kids are growing up faster than ever.
A haptic suit is a VR device enabling tactile sensations. A Gibson is a tiara-like object which enables augmented reality to be seen as reality, by modulating the gestalting function of the brain.
Danny Rabella was alone in his room, his favorite way to be. His father Rudy, known to all as The Chief, was at his nightclub leading his band and MCing, like every night except Mondays. Danny liked the club but didn’t get to go there often, being only two years old, despite seeming much older. His mother Sophie was in her studio upstairs, painting. They lived in a duplex in Sutton Place.
Danny put on his haptic suit with its built-in Gibson, sat down at his desktop and powered it up. Having taught himself to read, he could have used the keyboard, but chose to give voice commands for simple things like going back to bookmarked locations. “Psycho,” he piped in his little boy voice. The room around him dissolved and he was in a much larger nightclub than his father’s. Kids were not allowed here but he had taught himself how to hack his way in lots of places he wasn’t allowed. His avatar tonight was Alexander the Great, a tall handsome Greek. The bouncer at the door didn’t even blink as Danny passed him going in with the rest of the crowd.
The virtual nightclub scene seemed totally like reality. This did not surprise Danny as he was used to such things. He liked being at eye levels with all these adults, whose avatars looked to mostly be in their twenties. Danny knew that not many other children could pass for adults getting into adult websites and he briefly exulted in this difference and then caught himself in an ego state and controlled it away. He was swept along by the packed throng eager to get closer to the stage to see what was going on and maybe, if they had the guts, to get up on the stage. So far Danny had not tried that but maybe tonight would be the night.
As he got closer to the stage, where the crowd was even denser, it became hard to move, and he appreciated having inhabited Alexander tonight because he could see over most people’s heads. Another tall man was getting up on the empty stage and the crowd was electrified with excitement to see that another person was going to undergo the rigors of being psychoanalyzed in front of what could be millions of people tuning in. The crowd roared, whistled, stomped, and applauded, and the young man took a sarcastic bow. The Analyst appeared overhead as a giant diaphanous figure smoking a cigar and the crowd hushed.
“What shall I call you, sir?” The Analyst, looking a bit like Sigmund Freud, asked politely in his booming reverberating voice which filled the giant club.
“Tony,” answered the man simply.
“How can I help you, Tony?”
“I want to see myself more clearly, doctor.”
“You’re in the right place, Tony. Tell us about yourself.”
“I’m a very successful man and I’m 24 years old. I have my own schmatta business on Seventh Avenue. I’m even better-looking than I look in this avatar, which doesn’t quite capture my sex appeal.”
“He’s a garmento!” a male in the crowd yelled good-naturedly and other people in the same line of business cheered.
“Yeah,” Tony agreed, “but I’m thinking of selling the business and maybe going to Hollywood, or something.”
At this point Tony levitated a few feet off the stage and split into three Tonys floating in the air about ten feet away from each other, and the crowd gasped as they always did when the psychoanalytic process started this way. Danny admitted to himself that he loved this part. He had learned from his earlier visits to Psycho that the avatar in the middle was the actual person, and the other avatars that looked the same were partly controlled by the person, but also partly controlled by The Analyst, which was an AI that could rapidly look up everything publicly available about a person in less than a second, what they presented in social media being a main source.
“But you don’t know if you can act,” said the Tony on the left.
“I act all the time,” said the Tony in the middle. “I pretend to like my customers and my suppliers, and I know they are acting too, they don’t like me any better than I like most of them.”
“So you and they are not really fooling each other?” The Analyst asked.
“When you act in a movie you have to be believed by the audience,” the Tony on the left cautioned.
“You all believe me, don’t you?” asked the Tony in the middle, and the crowd yelled a mix of yes and no. Many of the yesses were in female voices and the Tony in the middle smiled smugly.
“Then maybe he can succeed in Hollywood,” said the Tony on the right, “he’s already fooled you all into thinking he’s successful. He’s actually a junior person in the business with a big ego and megalo dreams.”
“Maybe you are the part of me who is that way,” huffed the Tony in the center, but my real self is a good guy.”
Another Analyst appeared next to the first one, and this one looked a bit like Carl Jung. “These are all you, my boy, and you have to learn to integrate them all,” the second Analyst said.
“It’s okay to have a big ego,” the Tony on the left said, somewhat mockingly.
“Not really,” said the first Analyst, “the ego can work against the self, as we now have proven scientifically. The self has to take charge of the ego to become one integrated individual.”
“In our case,” the Tony on the right said, “the ego has taken charge of the self.”
“All too common, unfortunately,” said the first Analyst.
“I’m the self,” declared the Tony on the right, “You are my ego,” he said, pointing at the Tony in the middle, who seemed baffled by the situation. Inexplicably, the audience began thunderous applause.
“Then who am I?” asked the Tony on the left somewhat plaintively.
The first Analyst puffed his cigar, causing billowing grey clouds to form overhead. “You would appear to possibly be the internalized voice of his mother, eh?” The first Analyst looked at the second Analyst.
“Or possibly his father,” the second Analyst mused. “Which parent was more critical of you?”
“It was my mother!” the Tony in the middle blurted, and the Tony on the left now started to oscillate its appearance back and forth between looking like Tony and looking like his mother, a stern matronly woman.
“Do you have more internalized voices in you, Tony?” asked the second Analyst in a kind way. Other Tonys drifted out of the central Tony and the stage became filled with Tonys. “Did you know you had all these different sides of yourself, Tony?” asked the first Analyst.
The Tony in the middle was now quite upset and embarrassed to be unequal to the situation in front of so many people. He realized that this could ruin his life if he let it.
To be continued.
Love to all,