Unreal - a short story to answer a paradox

“We stopped looking outward because this became more interesting to us.”

“So it’s that simple? We’re driven by interest, and that’s all?”

“Yeah, pretty much?”

“But don’t you wonder what’s out there? If there is anything left on Earth, or anyone? Or if there is life elsewhere in the Universe?”

“Why would you care? Isn’t this all you ever wanted? Everything you could ever wish for is right in here, with the flip of a thought. You’ve got all the games you want, every adventure you could dream of, all the sex you could wish for, all the pleasure you could ever imagine. Why on Earth - or elsewhere - would you even consider anything beyond this. There is no beyond this.”

“But we both know this isn’t real. This isn’t actually reality. This is an extension of what once was the Internet, the AI, the brain implants, the so called Gaming and Porn Industries. It’s not actuality. It’s our collective dreaming.”

“Yeah, yeah. So what? We crafted Heaven and now we live it. How could you complain?”

“I’m not actually complaining, just thinking out loud. I’m just curious. You know there was something called Movies a century ago, and this one movie called The Matrix…”

“Yes, I know. It was about people being forced into a World like ours to the benefit of some machines needing the energy of human bodies or some such. But this is different. We were never forced into this. It is of our own making. This is our Paradise. This is what we all wanted. And it’s our existence now.”

“Of course. But I cannot help wondering what the outside is like. How is my body doing? How much time has lapsed on the outside? How is Earth? Anyone still not hooked in? I’ve got all these questions. And I won’t get them answered in here.”

“And that’s bloody good. Because there’s nothing left out there. No one is outside. Everybody is hooked in, so all your friends are right here, dude.”

“Are you sure? I mean, has anyone seen the real world in the past few decades? Or is it decades? Because in here we could be living a real minute like it was a year or longer.”

“But that is the beauty of this, Jason. We could be experiencing a century of joy, happiness, adventure and beauty in no amount of real time. People were longing for this since time immemorial. They used to push mythologies and religions that portrayed this Paradise we now have. And here we are, smack in the middle of the dream came true. Stop questioning your very fulfilment. There’s nothing out there. It’s just AI and maintenance bots and shit. And your body is doing great. Trust me. Or you wouldn’t be here. And how would you know if Out There is real and not just another layer? There planets and vast space to explore right here if you want.”

“You think all intelligent life in the Universe went the same route? That going inwards was more gratifying and simpler than exploring the vastness of space? That we found what we were looking for right here in our technology and that we needed nothing else? That this could in fact be the answer to the Fermi Paradox?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care. Just stop being so Out There and join me in the Retro Gaming Bubble.”

“OK, sure. Wanna do some Unreal Life Frogger?”

Link to this post: https://isene.org/2020/04/Unreal.html