now live mainly in the map, in the recreation of reality, rather than in reality itself


“We now live mainly in the map, in the recreation of reality, rather than in reality itself.”

Philosopher Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation


Technology has confused the discussion. It has encouraged us to think of different ‘realities.’ The argument becomes we transcend, in some way, physical reality (which, of course, is <1> also mindset, attitudinal realities and <2> bullshit). Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe technology can elevate thinking, awareness, knowledge and possibilities, but, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and the metaverse will never replace physical reality. In addition, Chatgpt, algorithms, and AI fundamentally cannot reason so they will never replace human reasoning. But tucked within those thoughts lie technology’s greatest opportunity. Instead of offering different realities, it should be leaning INTO physical reality and structurally enhancing the possibilities of, well, reality. That would demand we, people, began focusing on the right things and the right things within technology. Oh. And make sure we adopt the right attitude. By attitude I mean we need to get a grip on “everything is going faster” because, well, its not.

The reality is that the rate of technology change is no longer speeding up, what is speeding up is the social impact of all the technologies as they not only connect with each other, but become increasingly embedded in everyone’s social connectivity AND as a way of doing things. The embedded aspect is a bit important because technology has become a tool we use to shape our lives and livelihoods.

And that is important because this means is that technology is nothing until it is attached to a human – and, consequently, to other humans. I imagine my point is that technology can help shape the landscape but reality is dictated by humans. Uhm. Unless we elect to live in the re-creation of reality which would mean <1> accepting destiny is shaped by others not “I” and <2> we will have accepted living in the mere shadows of reality and not the rich & royal hues of reality.

That would be sad.

People shape reality and, in particular, the imaginations of people constantly reinvent a better reality – technology cannot do that.

Anyway. This is how technology can shape reality. It simultaneously:

  • Creates more random connections
  • Amplifies without prioritization
  • Is unobviously emergent (unpredictable patterns)

All of those things occur, simultaneously as I noted, through what technology is – a networked distribution platform. It distributes data, information, thoughts, ideas and, yes, even expectations. Those are things that shape the map of reality, but it is simply a poor, incomplete, version of reality.

And maybe that is my point.

Technology can certainly enrich learning and awareness, but it cannot reason. It can only give us glimpses of reality – albeit LOTS of glimpses which we could confuse with reality as a whole. But if we elect to live THROUGH technology rather than living with technology as a tool, we do run the risk of, well, living in some poor-ish re-creation of reality rather than reality itself. I do not believe that would be good. For us as individuals as well as us as civilization. Don’t let technology confuse the discussion about reality. Ponder.

Written by Bruce