Today’s version of real vs. virtual reality is only an update of the philosophical debate within ancient wisdom traditions -- “which world is real?” One world is that which we experience in our daily lives, objectively, eyes open. It seems very real to us. The other world is posited by mystics and sages, saying that the world-as-we-see-it is an illusion, a game, a play of consciousness, and that the “real” world can only be experienced in the deepest levels of subjective consciousness (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) or in the most expansive levels of awake, holistic experience (Sahaja Samadhi).
4 TYPES OF REALITY
According to Wikipedia, there are 4 types of reality: “real” environment, augmented reality, augmented virtuality, and virtual environment:
WIKIPEDIA’S VIRTUALITY CONTINUUM1
The virtuality continuum is a continuous scale ranging between the completely virtual, a virtuality, and the completely real, reality. The reality-virtuality continuum therefore encompasses all possible variations and compositions of real and virtual objects… The area between the two extremes, where both the real and the virtual are mixed, is the so-called mixed reality. This in turn is said to consist of both augmented reality, where the virtual augments the real, and augmented virtuality, where the real augments the virtual.1
Common examples of Augmented Reality include computer tablets and smartphones. Many applications have been created for many industries from medicine and military to education and entertainment. Augmented Virtuality is less common as more complicated technology is needed to produce the effect.
Virtual Reality is the most well-known of “alternate realities,” becoming a movement in the 1990’s. However, it fizzled out until the new millennium brought more-advanced technologies, enabling the creations that had stalled previously.
We live in a Virtual Reality – the movie we see before our eyes every day. And according to scientists, philosophers and ancient sages and seers, it is a reality we make from our own minds. It is created from our own “software” – our own individual databases (belief systems) filled with thoughts, conditioning, and beliefs. And thus each person’s database/ Virtual Reality is different from all others’ database/Virtual Reality. It can be called dream-like because it can bear no similarity to the “real” environment that our bodies inhabit.
We all live every day in virtual environments, defined by our ideas.4
REFERENCES FOR FURTHER READING:
1. Wikipedia, “Mixed Reality”, captured 9/20/2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_reality