Seven year-old Onfim slays his enemies; Onfim is a wild beast.
Onfim (hat tip: Alex Tabarrok and Owen) reminds us that reading and writing (and art) do more enable us to augment reality: they are tools of imagination that take us beyond it.
It doesn’t take high-resolution goggles to open our eyes to virtual worlds. In How Many Bits Will Make You Happy? Mad Ned points out that a single pixel – one bit of information – can carry huge emotional weight, given sufficient context.
Words create their own context: something about the way we’re wired for language means that through stories we can see things that have never existed, and not just while we’re immersed in them: fictional events and characters haunt us, for good and evil. They inspire us – or terrify us – or woo us – in ways that should lead us to question whether we should describe them as “virtual” at all.
We read and write our worlds.
In the beginning was the word.