Around 1996/97, a Virtual Reality cafe opened in London, ON. (My home town). A first time experience to try VR gaming/simulation. Safe to say, the trend did not stick. The cafe closed soon thereafter. It was ahead of its time but the public did not catch on.
Also in the 1990’s, Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG), seemed to catch on with people such as the musicians, NIN. Clues would be left in the virtual world and in the real physical world that intertwined for fans to engage with the band. AGR also reminds me of the film The Game. A real-life game based on lies and deceit, where the main character played by Michael Douglas, is led through this surreal mystery of death and consequence. This film can only be watched once. Once you know the ending, you cannot forget it.
Pokemon Go came out and applied geomapping to a new system of alternate gaming in 2016. It also interweaves the virtual world, with the real physical world. Pokemon has created an empire of creativity that has lasted well over two decades. Created by Satoshi Tajiri, who has been linked to living with autism, and who wanted to recreate a game based on his childhood memories of collecting insects. At the time Niantic created Pokemon Go, it caught on like a whirlwind. People were ready and waiting having already been attached to, and comfortable, with the mobile smartphones.
Technology catches up with time. To use the idea of climate change, it caught up with the masses in time, unfortunately when the time is too dire to ignore.
Alternate Reality Gaming, at times include non-disclosure agreements by those that choose to partake. “The first rule of fight club. You do not talk about fight club.”
I woke up today to find an item I had been searching for online, months ago, in my Amazon shopping cart. I, nor anyone with physical access to my phone, made that action. When I checked my email this morning (okay, afternoon), the MIT tech review I subscribe to posed the question, whether Amazon’s Alexa would be a viable tool as a personal assistant. Hmm… I don’t have an answer. I do have the answer that these two factors correspond to each other, not as coincidence though. How do I know exactly? I have been at this “psychological virtual game” for too long to ignore action and reaction sequences. I have reached out to a number of “random” individuals, since I started this “Virtual Quest”.
This situation that I am in poses the dilemma of privacy rights and granted permission through the right , or proper, channels. If the government foresees this and has granted other individuals/professionals to partake in this Virtual “Hacking” Game… am I just a pawn that has given silent consent? Or am I a victim? Am I being delusional?
To understand mental illness, people need to be aware that there are delicate issues about the hardships of personal life that lead to suicide. In nature, I am not a suicidal person. Ideations have occurred before but quite rarely and through channels of my psychosis. Not “my” thoughts but “their” thoughts. Are people aware of the sensitivity behind their online behaviour? What kind of consequences their actions could lead to? [It eats me up inside that young kids today face this kind of harassment on nearly a daily basis, online and offline. That it does lead to tragic consequences. How often do we hear stories of virtually posted suicides, videos of extreme harassment and violence? (That is just a side rant to the impact of social media on young minds that have not developed to know there is a whole other world out there waiting to accept them)]
In my world, I am open to this permission to whomever chooses to participate and engage online. But life is not a game. Virtual worlds are not a game. They all extend into our physical real lives and make an impact far greater than simply being able to “shut it off”. I felt fear and threatened, the first time this occurred in 2013. As though my personal space had been invaded and exposed. At times I still do, as I know it tends to lead me down the road of psychosis. Each time it happens, paranoia is there, but I no longer feel threatened. It takes time for my mind to regulate real verses fiction of my entire lived-out life, not just that particular single moment. But as always I pull through, a bit wiser and a bit more stable. I am fully aware when my IG newsfeed is “hacked” with people I don’t know followed by names that correlate to my name, and stating they have won a million dollar lottery given to names of people I do know, with a repetition of this post in a series that I can not delete. That is not delusion. That is an invasion of privacy.
We are all pawns in this game of life, but we cannot go through it blindly. We must think about the consequences our actions make, whether our actions do more harm than good. We aren’t robots and haven’t quite reached “cyborg” status yet…
Even when we turn OFF for the night, our minds remain ON.