How I Met the Metaverse

The year is 2000 and something. I’m talking about how cool The Matrix looks with my brother. Since we saw the announcement that the movie would air on TV soon, our childish voices and minds revolved around The Matrix. There was no better way to spend the quiet afternoons when there was nothing to do but wait around for dinner.

As the youngest, I constantly asked my brother what exactly The Matrix was. Good answers were hard to come by:

“Well, it’s The Matrix.”

“I know it’s The Matrix, but what’s The Matrix?”

There was a long pause, until finally:

“It’s like a video game. But it’s real and you don’t know you’re in a video game.”

I’m silent, but it’s clear I get what was just said. For dramatic effect, my brother continues, “In fact, we could be in The Matrix right now.”

The phrase virtual world didn’t yet hold space in our minds and we couldn’t even begin to fathom the concepts of social media and its ongoing evolution. All we saw was that The Matrix was this place where people could do anything — a power fantasy that coaxed our minds into endless loops.

The movie’s television airing coincided with a lunar eclipse. We caught a disinterested glimpse of the celestial event from our front driveway during a commercial break. No reality, no matter how spectacular and heavenly, could beat the non-reality offered by The Matrix. Instant skills, complete control, human flight — these were now our deepest desires.

But those endless possibilities were quickly forgotten. I’ve since cast aside infinite possibilities in favor of finite ones. I could care less now about the age-old philosophical question: are we in a simulation?

But today, things are different. The question might matter now that digital currency, digital art and digital reality are growing in popularity as part of a grand conspiracy to pull us into The Matrix the Metaverse.

Although it feels common for many people to balk at the idea of the Metaverse, I think we’ll realize that the allure of the Metaverse and its promises will be too strong to evade. Designed addiction will be just as prevalent in the Metaverse as it is in our phones.

There’s also an economic angle. Growth must always be constant and with our existing digital spaces near full maturity, there is now plenty of room for growth in the Metaverse.

Our products, our tools, our everyday digital items we consume are quickly being re-packaged for the Metaverse too. Digital art is now an NFT. Video games are now immersive online communities. And human connection is now possible in any digital flavor.

The re-packagings, economic conditions and forced engagement make me believe that the Metaverse is more than a brief fad hyper-charged by the bet of a billionaire who’s clamoring to stay relevant and innovative.

It’s something that’s happening whether we like it or not. Want it or not.

The cherry on top is that our slow transition to virtual worlds plays out in a time of endless violence, war and economic strife. Divisions are entrenched, patience is low and global catastrophe is constant. So what if we forgo reality for unreality?

Asking ourselves if we’re in a simulation isn’t even the right question anymore. It’s now become a question of whether or not we want to be here, when we could be there instead. Was it mentioned that there offers infinite possibilities? Was it mentioned that you’ll never have to suffer again? Was it mentioned that you’ll live forever? That’s a strong value proposition if I’ve ever heard one. But salvation isn’t always what it’s meant to be.

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