Today I went on a mountain bike ride with a couple of friends in a local park. It was an extremely enjoyable experience and one that might be called a peak experience. I was pleased to see so many cars parked in the parking lot because it meant that many people were out enjoying nature. I was pleased because I often get a bit of a sad feeling when I see so many parks and playgrounds empty on beautiful summer days. As I was escorting my friend to his car and thinking about how it's nice to see so many people out, it occured to me that the future might not entail such 'natural' or real experiences.
For a hundred hours or more each year I pedal my bicycle indoors and immerse myself in a virtual world called Watopia. It's certainly a limiting experience compaired to the outdoors but why can't a future technology make the indoor experience as rewarding as the outdoor one? I think the lines between real and virtual will become more and more blurred. Virtual worlds will become more adaptable to our time, needs and wants. Why wait for good weather to go biking? Why wait to meet the right real life girl to have a relationship? Why limit ourselves to things we can afford in real life when in a virtual world there may be no limits?
It seems that the obesity epidemic is party due to the ease in which we are satisfied and satiated with the current technology and entertainment - though it is primitive compared to what's likely to come. If we can't get people outside now, then what's going to get them outside in the future when the virtual is 'better' than the real? I am recalling Bruce Willis's movie where people live in virtual pods in their homes and interact through surrogates. Why is the real better than the virtual? Maybe it isn't, who's to say?