One of the most significant counterculture movements today just might be centered around the concept of Virtual Reality. There is both a theoretical version of this emerging field and a practical one that involves interaction with today’s VR platforms provided by computer technology.
But let’s leave the computer-run VR toys, games and training environments aside for now and discuss the strictly theoretical side of this issue. A handful of physicists today are putting forward an amazing new theory – that our physical reality is not actually “physical” but only give us the illusion that it is “solid” and “real.”
Rather, what we experience every day is actually a projection, something very similar to a computer-like virtual reality. In this scenario, our physical bodies are more akin to an avatar in a video game. So, who is “playing” or animating this avatar that is us? It’s our consciousness. Our “true selves,” that which is really the “we,” “I,” or “us,” is not so much “present” in what we consider the physical world, but outside of it somewhere pulling the levers.
The primary champion of this scenario today is physicist Tom Campbell. Campbell has solid credentials and can’t be written off as a flaky New Ager. He worked for the DoD in missile defense for years and has done a lot of hard science for NASA as a much-sought-after consultant.
Campbell has droves of followers. His has published a trilogy of books titled, “My Big T.O.E.” (T.O.E. stand for Theory of Everything). They have been read by millions, and more than 250 YouTube videos of his talks and lectures attract thousands of views. There is also an active online forum based on Campbell’s work called the MBT Forum. The discussion there is passionate and lively.
Another term used for VR theory is the “simulation hypothesis.” One who has expressed interest in it is billionaire Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla, Inc., to name just a few of his interests.
Those taken with Virtual Reality or the simulation hypothesis, at the very least, can be considered a small but rapidly growing counterculture – perhaps the ultimate counterculture which contends that everything we think is real is perhaps not so real after all – but a simulation.