Can Virtual Reality Create a More Virtuous Reality?


Jeff and Corey explore the exhilarating emergence of virtual reality technology and the far-reaching implications it has across the full spectrum of human experience, from entertainment to education, to medicine, to art, journalism, spiritual practice, storytelling, sexuality, communication, and any number of other exciting and potentially groundbreaking applications.

“With VR, you’re not interpreting the medium: you’re in it; which means that the medium is disappearing, that your consciousness becomes the medium.”
-Chris Milk, Time, March 14, 2017

Although many people are concerned that VR might escalate our overall sense of alienation, disconnection, and dissociation in our 21st century lives, Jeff and Corey discuss how virtual reality may actually become a powerful platform for cultivating and expressing genuine intimacy and empathy. In other words, it’s not just about creating cool new private experiences for yourself, as fun as that can certainly be. By immersing us in other peoples’ experience, and even casting our own consciousness into someone else’s 1st-person point of view, VR could very well become a new kind of “empathy machine” — which might bring some much-needed healing after the rampant desensitization and even dehumanization we’ve seen over the last decade of flattened “Web 2.0” social media technologies.

“Because VR offers the audience the sensation of ‘being there,’ it creates a visceral connection to the events unfolding in front of the viewer. This whole body connection can generate a sense of empathy because viewers feel the action as if they are actually on scene. By standing in a street in Syria when a bomb goes off, you comprehend the plight of Syrian refugees. By standing next to two sisters as they unsuccessfully attempt to protect a third sister from an ex-boyfriend’s fatal attack, you understand the true horror of domestic violence and guns. By watching the brutal beating of a handcuffed immigrant with your own eyes, you question border patrol Use of Force protocols. This type unprecedented access will continue to be utilized for important stories alongside entertainment experiences.” —Nonny de la Pena, aka ‘Godmother of Virtual Reality’, Founder of Emblematic Group

Watch as Corey and Jeff take a closer look at this rapidly emerging technology, and how it is already ushering in new visions of beauty, new opportunities for goodness, and new ways to illuminate truth. In the end, virtual reality might actually lead to a more virtuous reality for all of us.

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