email@example.com opens her eyes.
Connected is the word today. 1, 2, 3, 4 bipping alerts and notifications already and her eyes are still hesitating between sleep and reality –satisfaction- the world is still running, the proof, that latest news notification from several apps, each of them fighting to be the first one with what could be “the less important news of the history”.
Flash back in time… you know that time of smelly paper and noisy pages; she is about 5 or 6 years old, and she lost her fingers on the lines of a heavy book, each letter a labyrinth on the page. The story is from Esope. It’s called “le garcon qui criait au loup, au loup” (or “the boy who shouted “wolf!, wolf!”). Is it not what we are doing all day with our plugged devices and social media and news alert?
“Wolf! Wolf!” bips the smartphone… “Wolf! Wolf!” screams the tablet… and there on the other side of the screen she watches horror movies in real life without a tear or an emotion on her face. It is just another news, just another part of the world, just another 140 characters on twitter.
Unhuman by proxy?
One day virtuality makes her heart so big it explodes at every breath, and the next day that same virtuality makes her hearts so big it shutdowns saving every breath. She swims in an open and vast world where all choices are possible, among them, being her or a dream, being human or unhuman. Are we really who we are on that other side of the screen? she wonders… and is there really a beat behind the words we wrote, shouting loudly “Wolf! Wolf!”
Neurosciences proved it, between real and virtual, the brain reacts the same, creates the same chemical reaction, the same oxytocin. Funny enough 15 minutes of social media just replying online to people we will never meet or see is an amazing way to create that famous oxytocin we all crave to feel good.
What if there was really a world beneath the screen, a real place where she could touch without electrode on her skin. Long ago she remembered games she played with eyes, looks and smiles, now she moves pictures around, pokes and likes. Long ago she heard about something called “love at first sight”, now she imagined “Love at first connection”. Long ago she saw it, in someone’s eyes, that love and she let it split away; she played it like an odd chess game, him and her, moving pieces quickly, each move chasing the other ones always a move out of sync. She knows so many more out of sync stories… what if this one could be in sync? She can not remember the last time she wrote “that person really gets me”, and there it is, written in her mind, some 0 and 1 numerically spread all over her brain; such a simple and deceptive sentence, and maybe a very simple and deceptive world?
And firstname.lastname@example.org puts down the phone slowly. She likes to know: what makes the other player quit the game? Are no more people interested in going through the looking glass? Was it too much to know that virtuality can become reality? Or is it simply the kid in all of use shouting “Wolf! Wolf!”