I wonder where we are headed as a society. And as a race. I know that the world is different today than it was 30 years ago.

The reasons why it is different are for people with bigger brains than me to debate.

We could have discussions about the “world economy”, and that would lead to a discussion about how the companies that set up shop in North America decided to leave and set up in lower cost nations.

But I digress. I am good at doing that.

I came across this photo on Techcrunch.

FOVE Virtual Reality headset
FOVE Virtual Reality headset

It is some sort of virtual reality headset. I did not read the article as I have no particular interest.

But the photo scared the shit out of me.

How many people are familiar with the book Johnny Got His Gun?

Here is the Wikipedia description:

Johnny Got His Gun is an anti-war novel written in 1938 by American novelist and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and published September 1939 by J. B. Lippincott. The novel won one of the early National Book Awards: the Most Original Book of 1939.

Well how does this relate to the above photo?

The book was made into a movie in 1971.

Here is the synopsis of the book and movie.

Joe Bonham (Bottoms), a young American soldier hit by an artillery shell during World War I, lies in a hospital bed. He is a quadruple amputee who has also lost his eyes, ears, mouth and nose. He remains conscious and able to reason, but his wounds render him a prisoner in his own body. As he drifts between reality and fantasy, he remembers his old life with his family and girlfriend (Kathy Fields). He also forms a bond, of sorts, with a young nurse (Diane Varsi) who senses his plight.

At the end of the film, Joe tries to communicate to his doctors, via Morse code, and wishes for the Army to either put him in a glass coffin in a freak show as a demonstration of the horrors of war, or kill him. In the end, however, he realizes that the Army will grant neither wish, and will leave him in a state of living death.

In the film’s climax, his nurse attempts to euthanize him by clamping his breathing tube, but her supervisor stops her before Joe can succumb. This does not occur in the novel. The film ends with Joe weakly chanting “S.O.S. Help me.”

Hmmm. He drifts between reality and fantasy. Sounds a bit like the virtual reality world some of us seemingly want to enter via virtual reality headsets or machines or whatever they are.

I am all for a little escapism. I get the need to tune out for a while. But is a virtual reality headset the way to go?

Where does it end?

Now I am going to show you a photo from the actual film. He is a quadruple amputee, with no eyes, ears or mouth.

Johnny Got His Gun
Johnny Got His Gun

Look at the apparatus he is wearing on his face. It IS the virtual reality headset!!

I can’t make this stuff up.

Hell, the person in the techcrunch photo looks dead

This is what we are becoming. Mouthless, earless, eyeless beings. Hell we are already on our way with all the “smart” phones we are using.

Why can’t we just enjoy real life? Enjoying nature. Playing with our kids. Having an actual conversation with another person.

The future scares me.

“Oh please God wake me.”

A lot of you may be more familiar with the 1988 Metallica video One, which uses clips from the film. A very good song and incredibly powerful video.

Please, share your thoughts in the comments.

“Live Simply”


3 thoughts on “Isn’t Reality Better Than Virtual Reality?

  1. It’s funny that virtual reality has never really caught on. I’ve been seeing it in some form or another since the early 1990s, and yet they can’t really make it work in a way that people want to use it. It’s always been more of a gimmick than a product that people want to use.

    I think eventually it may catch on and it will likely be used for gaming. I play video games occasionally, and it’s a nice way to have some fun while sitting in my living room. I don’t think it’s the best use of time, but it is enjoyable. I think the key is that it needs to be done in moderation, so that you still have time to play in nature, and take on other real life adventures.

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