X-Message-Number: 11809
From: "George Smith" <>
Subject: What is virtual reality?
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 01:54:40 -0700

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I stepped out on my front sidewalk.  The sun was hot on my face.  The
scent of lilacs in bloom was powerful, carried by the breeze which swept
my face and arms.  I knelt and touched the grass which was wet with cold
dew in the morning air.  The sidewalk glittered where the sunlight glanced
off the thousands of embedded tiny quartz fragments.  I stood and watched
a blackbird swoop through the deep blue sky above me as a car passed down
the street, its engine loud and disruptive.  

All this happened in a dream.  I was conscious that it was a dream as it
happened and the intensity of the sensory experience was greater than my
experience right now typing these words.  If I were to judge reality by
intensity, THIS world would be less "real" than the dream!   

If "virtual" reality means "almost" reality, the dream state has
accomplished this already. This really shouldn't surprise anyone as the
brain already creates all your EXPERIENCE from nerve impulses (probably)
originating from sensory stimuli.  You really CAN'T know if you are awake.
You can only (sometimes) determine that you are dreaming due to

Virtual reality is already here.  Eventually we will learn how to better
access it.    

And, yes, it is even better than the new Star Wars movie which I saw this
evening.  In Star Wars I had to sit in the theater passively watching.  In
lucid dreaming it is total immersion in a quadraphonic, three dimensional,
sensory-vivid world in which I can do anything, even fly.  No need to wait
for George Lucas to assemble a new flat, blurry inferior simulation.  You
can LIVE in that world NOW.  ...And many other worlds as well.  

I look forward to seeing the world we enter as technology allows us better
access to the superior world of conscious dreaming.  All by itself, this
is worth living for!    

-George Smith  CI member  

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