Skip to content

Writing and Reading (and visual art) as Technology (9): Virtual Realities

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.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...