Virtual Reality and Ready Player One

Ready Player One – a science fiction adventure book with film adaptation – hints at a future that many are immersing themselves in – with technology – now. The film adaptation does a lot of things, such as 1980’s pop nostalgia, re-entry into the fantasy world of computer games and introduces the viewer to life in Virtual Reality in a way that The Matrix does not aspire to. It is an at-times challenging movie with an important message for the future of humanity. Virtual Reality is on the way.


Preview:

In the 2040s, the world has been gripped by an energy crisis from the depletion of fossil fuels and the consequences of pollution, global warming and overpopulation, causing widespread social problems, poverty, and economic stagnation. To escape the decline their world is facing, people turn to the OASIS, a virtual reality simulator accessible by players using visors and haptic technology such as gloves. (Haptics are with us now; it is touch technology…) OASIS functions both as an Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) and as a virtual world, with its currency being the most stable in the real world. It was created by James Halliday, founder of Gregarious Simulation Systems, who made a pre-recorded video of his will stating to the public that, after he died, he had left an Easter egg inside the OASIS, and the first person to find it would inherit his entire fortune, ownership of his corporation as well as complete control of the OASIS itself, which was worth trillions. The story follows the adventures of Wade Watts, starting about five years after the announcement, when he discovers one of the three keys which unlock three successive gates leading to the treasure.

Ready Player One is a 2018 American science fiction adventure film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name. (A follow up novel Ready Player Two was published in November 2020.) The film is a loose adaptation of Cline’s novel, and while some may protest at the film script, it contains the essential elements of the book and its culmination. The film experience is an exquisite immersion into the gamer reality spawned by the text games of the 1980’s. Pac-man gifts the final bonus, as does the Curator in the film.

 

Ready Player One's easter egg
Ready Player One’s Easter Egg – what the Egg Hunters are seeking

 

Reality versus Illusion

The Oasis is an example of an illusion to which people retreat to avoid reality. The world has become an ugly place (a dystopia – not Utopia, a perfect idyll) where people have stopped trying to fix things and turn to a quick solution that satisfies them; the OASIS offers an escape from the horrors of their day-to-day existence.

The opening scene has Wade climbing down the stacks and sliding down a rope. When Wade reaches the ground, it is a slum area populated by car wrecks piled on top of each other. He enters a van, and tells that after the corn syrup droughts and the bandwidth riots, people stopped trying to fix things because reality is a bummer; everyone is looking for a way to escape. All they had to do is put on their headsets – and they had the OASIS, a place where the limits of reality are your own imagination. It is a place to pursue whatever desires participants have.

Our hero, Wade, doesn’t believe that there is any value in engaging with reality more than is absolutely necessary – except when reality breaks into his virtual reality and attempts to kill him or deprive him – and his clan – access to the easter eggs. Wade and his clan spend much of their real life inside OASIS. When a simulation like the OASIS is so all-consuming and so closely tied to real life, is it really accurate to call it an illusion?

People come to the OASIS for all the things they can do. They stay because of all the things they can be. … Except for eating, sleeping and bathroom breaks, whatever people wanna do, they do in OASIS.

Although Ready Player One does blur the distinction between reality and illusion, overall the film emphasises the importance of maintaining a connection to reality. After Wade finds the egg, a simulation of Halliday appears, explaining that his greatest regret was shying away from the real world so much. He tells Wade that he never felt comfortable in reality, but that he wished he’d forced himself to spend more time there, because reality may be the only place it is possible to find true happiness. The end of the movie has Wade and his girl Art3mis together in a relationship. Wade announces that the OASIS is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays so players will be forced to spend more time in the real world.

I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world.
I just didn’t know how to connect with people there.
I was afraid for all of my life.
Right up until the day I knew my life was ending.
Now, that … that was when I realised that as terrifying and painful reality can be … reality is real.

Breaking into the Real World

At the end of the movie, the clan is in the parcel van, and the doors of the van open. This suggests reality breaking into the virtual world.

The first time the van doors open, James Halliday has just handed the glowing Easter Egg to Wade; he is holding it and those around can see the glow in his hands – in the real world. The van doors open showing Nolan Sorrento – director of IOI – the industrial giant that uses indentured labour to gain (or seize by hook or crook) the OASIS. Nolan is threatening our hero with a gun. The real world police arrive and take him in custody. The doors close.

The second time the doors open, it is Ogden Morrow aka the Curator in the narrative. “Og” as he is called, asks Wade to meet with important people. Wade hesitates and makes a decision. He faces Art3mis and tells her “I am not Halliday, I will take the leap” and plants a kiss on her. Wade has his priorities right, he cannot emulate Halliday with his fear of reality, and realises he has to live in both worlds with balance. A personal balance.

The third time the doors open, it is the Police, seeking evidence and statements about the actions of Nolan Sorrento. Aech confesses it is her recording, and steps out. This secures the conviction of Sorrento and probably the expulsion of IOI from the OASIS

The fourth time the doors open, it is Ogden Morrow again, with the Lawyers from OASIS. They need a signature from Wade as he is the new owner of the OASIS. Wade demurs and tells that he will spilt the proceeds of the Easter Egg hunt with his clan.

The fifth time the doors open, Wade steps out with his clan into a ticker-tape world, with fans cheering wildly. The camera pans back to Aech explaining to the Police, and Nolan Sorrento in handcuffs, being placed in a patrol car. After Ogden Morrow reveals he was the Curator, Wade gives a voice over explaining their actions and finishing with a quote from James Halliday:

Reality is the only thing that is real

The Future of Reality?

Ready Player One hints at the human future of interaction with the people from the stars. They – the people from the stars – are using similar quantum physics to communicate and travel across galaxies. Virtual Reality in Ready Player One is not far removed from exploring other dimensions, other realities as humans may do right now.

This world is a hologram. Ready Player One takes place in a hologram that people escape to in order to do something in their real lives: satisfy every desire they can have. In the opening scenes we see trailer homes stacked up, secured with scaffolding. As Wade Watts wends his way to the ground past several stacked trailers, we see people wearing VR headsets – a woman is boxing, a fellow is playing tennis in his trailer home, a young man is surfing using a headset. His surfboard is resting on scaffolding, mid-air. Behind him, a child wearing a VR headset is playing drums. People – who have been born because of desire – are born into a world of illusion. Within their illusion they seek further illusions using technology – after all, people stopped trying to fix problems and just tried to outlive them. These days, reality is a bummer; everyone is looking for a way to escape.

 

 

Halliday’s contest is vitally important: it’s nothing less than a war for control of the future.

Nolan Sorrento makes this statement in the movie. He adds that participants will be stupefied by images and holograms, and they will be manipulated to make purchases and place themselves in debt to IOI and create a fantastic future for the stock holders of IOI.

Greed takes over too: there are no rules in OASIS and the Easter Egg hunt, so the video game conglomerate Innovative Online Industries (IOI) stops at no barrier to find the eggs and even employs researchers, top gamers and indentured servants called “Sixers”, a form of human slavery. IOI behave with impunity as they seek their goal, stooping to bombing, killing and murder of gamers as the narrative unfolds. On the other hand. Parzifal’s love interest, Art3mis, seeks to solve the problems of the world and act with proper dignity and respect for life. In particular, Art3mis seeks respect for her personal space.

While the over-arching narrative is to beat the baddies (IOI) – who capture Art3mis and enslaver her as a “Sixer” – and seek the goal, the three keys that lead to the Golden Easter Egg, the conclusion has Parzifal seeking Art3mis in a maze and realising his love interest. The OASIS that is now owned by Wade/Parzifal is shut down on Tuesdays and Thursdays to force people to spend more time in reality: real world. This includes Parzifal and Art3mis who have formed a relationship and bought an apartment together. Love conquers all, as this poster for the movie shows:

 

Art3mis is behind Parzifal – wearing a bridal veil and holding roses, suggesting that Love plays an important role

 

Virtual Reality and Ascension

Mother Earth is ascending to the 5th Dimension. All forms of life on this planet will be affected. Human awareness, consciousness, is also being affected with greater capacity to explore other worlds, other realities. Those heretofore who felt they had no interior skills at telepathy, clairaudience, clairsentience find that they are developing psychic skills and able to communicate with and experience the higher dimensions – the 4th and 5th dimensions. These are the fruits of changes to their energy-frequency-vibration. This leads to an expansion of consciousness. This expanding consciousness process is called Ascension. It is ascension to a much wider, more expanded experience of new forms of reality.

Ascension will affect the Earth and all that is upon it; all forms of life are being transmuted to the higher dimensions. Everything is energy. Some forms of energy will be transformed to higher forms of energy. This may result in a loss of species. However, energy, once created, cannot be destroyed. This means that a species of flower might come back as an entirely new flower. Think of the multifaceted colours of nature!

Consciousness will expand from the head to include the heart, the seat of feeling and emotion. While we have human emotion and feeling, the Soul does not know fear. It is simply awareness. Surrounding the soul is material, skills, feeling, attitudes and tendencies brought across from the past. There are unfulfilled desires included, as well as consequences of past actions.

Mankind has a form of knowing called (in philosophy) “unknowing knowing“; there are many names for this, some would call this unconscious knowing. It is soul awareness, soul knowledge. The soul brings skills, knowledge and abilities learned and acquired in past lives. One only has to look at the behaviour of babies and very young children – called wonder kids – to know this. Mathematical and musical geniuses at the age of 4, graduating from University at 11-years-old, etc. Examples of this often appear on social media.

One effect of Ascension is that humans will come to know things not known before. For example, the Angelic Realms have solutions to our greenhouse gas atmospheric problems – along with utilisation of hydrogen for our energy needs, and distribution of electricity using the earth’s ley lines and energetic grids. However, these secrets are being withheld until humans rise in consciousness, become less war-like and not inclined to raise a weapon to settle differences and misunderstandings.

There have been advances in medical technology and health awareness; there have been advances in industry and technology, there have been advances in telephony and communications. There has not been a similar advance in soul potential and soul development. In this area humankind has lagged, and what is not seen by the eye or the senses is dismissed. Some may have this prejudice, others are simply blind to that which cannot be known by the senses and reason.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a useful movie that points to a future that might encompass humanity. There is a world called OASIS, a virtual world, a great hunt for a prize, a prize that is unlocked by one of the first ever computer games, Pac-man. It is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, where people come for all the things they can be. They can make an illusion and spend all their time in that illusion. While this movie has many easter eggs and surprises, and created reality along with indentured and perpetually bonded labour (think slaves to the virtual world of computers and games) it concludes with a message: Reality is the only thing that is real.

 

Wade (Parzifal) watches as Art3mis (Samantha) dons the visor and haptic harness

 

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