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Reality

The Wolvog bought himself a virtual reality set-up.  He has wanted one for a long time, and the price finally dropped on one that would work with his computer.  He researched the equipment, tried it out first-hand, priced out the whole thing on his own.

We negotiated an addendum to our screen contract with specific rules governing VR, which set time limits (one hour on to two hours off), types of games (no shooters or multiplayer online games), and a “carbon offset” clause which states that to counterbalance screen use, he needs to read a books like Chade-Meng Tan’s Joy of Demand or Mo Gawdat’s Solve for Happy or listen to the new Science of Happiness podcast in order to train his brain to be equally happy in the non-virtual world.

This decision to bring VR into the house filled us (and by “us,” I mean Josh and me) with equal parts pride and dread.  I was excited that he found something that made him this excited.  He blisses out when he talks about VR.  It is cool to see someone find something that consistently brings them this much happiness.  And dread because… well… there is something a little isolating about VR.  How can reality compete with the perfection and wonder of a virtual world?  It seems ripe for creating sadness.

But the equipment arrived and he took so much care setting it up, passing it around for everyone to try.  Is it emotional to stand in the virtual White House and look around, feeling as if I’m in the actual space?  Yes; I cried watching a VR movie with Obama and let out a long string of wonder-laced expletives seeing China.

And at the same time, it has been a first-hand lesson in tempering expectations.  There were set up woes where he had to troubleshoot things that he hadn’t expected to have to troubleshoot.  There were unexpected lags and flickering that he didn’t see when he tried out the equipment in the store, probably because he was trying it out with a newer, more powerful computer.  We had warned him that it might not work as he wanted it to work, and he was dismissive of facts when they didn’t fit what he hoped was true, but he has slowly been shedding the disappointment over expectations and fitting his brain into being satisfied actuality.

And maybe that’s the best lesson learned from this; that initial disappointments or frustrations may melt away over time because humans are excellent at realizing actuality is sometimes okay once expectations are dropped.  In fact, actuality, in this case, still makes him pretty damn happy.

2 comments

1 Lori Lavender Luz { 02.11.18 at 7:07 pm }

This sounds so cool. And a little scary.

2 Mali { 02.12.18 at 5:28 am }

That does sound cool. Though I can’t imagine it comparing with reality. There’s something about actually being there that is special. Which doesn’t mean I dont want to try it!

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