In the not too distant future:
There once was a land with two futures. There once was a land of reality and a land of the sublime. Not of creatures but of beating hearts, and laughter. There once was a land of pixels mixed with stories of the before time. There once was a land where homo sapiens roamed free without distortion… without lies.
What the hell am I talking about?
In a course on political thought, we studied Plato. So, he did not believe in using the senses to understand what is real. Our senses are imperfect. Easy for him to say. Plato is urging us to use our reason and the experience of our lives. We don’t want to languish in what he calls the cave.
Wait a minute says Aristotle. What about potentiality? Objects are the potential essence of qualities that come into being.
“Is that all there is?” asks the popular song. Yes. And things are determined for a purpose. We are to keep a stiff upper lip… so they say.
When I wrote the Village, I didn’t pull the political thought book off the shelf. Elements of the Plato vs Aristotle debate do evidence themselves in the Village.
Inspector Rawlings on an investigation into the Sector once known as Colorado can’t wait to turn off his ‘imager’- a manufactured reality. The Inspector is rounding up illegal outsiders who have broken into the massive Village’s enclosed living area. One could receive full Village status by applying through an application process. Rawlings was undecided whether he would live on the outside during his retirement or remain in the Village and have image-based reality for the rest of his days.
Cicero (106 B.C-.43 B.C.) believed in the Roman Republic during his career. He disputed an unwritten alliance called the First Triumvirate because it diluted the idea of a republic as well as Senate predominance. The Roman Republic was a representative democracy between 509 B.C. to 27 B.C. Isn’t Rawling’s option for retirement the distinction between freedom and the advanced knowledge of a society that determines what is best for its residents?
Let’s skip back to Plato for a second. The guardians are the highest and ruling class of the three classes of Plato’s ideal city- Kallipolis. The classes are producers, auxiliaries, and guardians. You train in all aspects of learning to become a guardian. Rip the people out of the cave so they can understand what these elites tell them is true and they will become more valued and pertinent human beings. The Village has Drogues controlling human beings. Oh dear… Alexa, was Plato an Ivy Leaguer?
Hey, Plato- meet James Madison: “The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.”
Frank and Mark Embers and their families live on the outside. There is no simulated reality. There is no elite class instructing outsiders on what’s best for them. Yet, their family is split. Neal Embers lives on the inside. Although insiders can experience the outside in the first level exposure rooms and the departure area. That’s it!
The Embers’ father Walter is voluntarily preparing for his ending which for Villagers is not an ending at all. Walter will exist within an (ai) world to interact with friends and family members-only it won’t be Walter. It will be a simulation of Walter.
It’s all taken care of in the Village, a historical materialism (Marx) is you will. There is no exploited profits. No proletariat in the Village. It’s taken care of. So why wouldn’t you take this paradise on earth in the Village?
“That’s the crux of it. Responsibility. Villagers have no responsibility! Only self indulgence.“
“When once we quit the basis of sensation, all is in the wind. To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart.
–Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, 15 August 1820
“The way to secure liberty is to place it in the people’s hands, that is, to give them the power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice.“
I’ve been talking about freedom and attributes of different societies. But what about this idea of so simulating reality that life itself it obscured? And death. You don’t die. You are just simulated.
All those people-humans in the auditorium and not only aren’t they talking with each other? They don’t even know who is next to them in the room. I’m not saying it’s not cool to hook up to the viewer. In the Village, simulation is taken to the extreme and its all-encompassing. I will leave to the reader’s imagination to transpose what’s being viewed. (lol)
Finally, no one could believe that life on the outside is easy. One isn’t protected or controlled and there is personal responsibility. But the end result is freedom and confronting all the pitfalls freedom brings.
“Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
―Tom Paine, Rights of Man
Alexa, Give me liberty or give me death.
Speech to the Second Virginia Convention
St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia.
March 23, 1775