Saturday » Blog Archive » Log On, Rez In, Drop Out: The 60s of Technology

A week or two ago, I found myself describing the greater metaversapolitan area to a friend who had never heard of things like Second Life or, virtual worlds or massively multiplayer online games, and who had only passing knowledge of apps like Google Earth and the concept of mirror worlds. I told her about the little business boomlet the sector seems to be experiencing these days, and the potential such places and applications hold for not only increasing our knowledge of the real world and the ways we connect there, but for making possible new modes of being and richer ways of interacting. A great place to get your fantasy on, and you can pull down six figures there, to boot, or so the marketing goes. Regardless, I said, it was exciting to be a part of it, to see this new thing unfold before my eyes, to be reporting on it from the front lines, so to speak, and to ride along and see just where it might go — even if it’s headed for a fiery crash, as some would argue, or a more mundane sputtering thud.

Her reaction was interesting: “It sounds like you’re living through the 1960s of technology,” quoth she. This strikes me as pretty spot on.

The more I think about it, the more I like my friend’s analogy. A lot of the concepts that are associated with 60s culture and counter-culture are also showing up in the metaversal sphere. Virtual worlds often create a hallucinatory landscape (giant snail races, anyone?) that would not be out of place in the most colorful acid trips of the decade in question. Virtual worlds are also being used as new avenues of personal realization and empowerment. There, you can be anything and anyone you want — or so it’s said. There’s something very akin to a sexual revolution in the offing, and many people are also exploring new approches to what we think of as “work.”

There is also an explosion of creativity. Much of the various forms and examples of art and creation that is coming out of the metaverse is truly new and exciting — though as much if not more is not very interesting at all, of course. But the moment has sparked a new flame under the broad class of people known somewhat clinically these days as “content creators,” and has in fact radically broadened that class by giving people new tools (even if they’re crude, as yet), which they are now using to pry open doors that hadn’t even been perceived before.

The metaverse at the moment is also a place where the received wisdom of established rights and laws is being challenged on a daily basis, and where people are struggling to find new ways to organize their society, as well as creating new kinds of communities that attempt to exist apart from those already established. And, as eventually happened to 60s culture, metaverse culture has now begun to be adopted by “the establishment,” much to many metaversal citizens’ chagrin. » Blog Archive » Log On, Rez In, Drop Out: The 60s of Technology


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