Saturday, September 26, 2009


I haven't seen 'Surrogates' yet. My first impressions were "Second Life in Real Life" although the actual film is probably nothing of the sort. It's a conceit reinforced by one too many months playing Second Life, although the commercials don't attempt to dispel the notion.

"You can lead the life you've already wanted," it says and with no fear of consequences. Go ahead and screw your brains silly for automatons cannot get pregnant nor can they contract HIV. Go ahead and recreate Columbine, the 'dead' can always buy new surrogates and no one's the wiser. Provided your real life body remains safely tucked away safely in meat space, you're invincible.

Everyone is pretty fixated upon the entire 'no consequences' deal. The ability to do whatever the hell you want and bring internet anonymity out into the world. No one ever need know your true self behind the mask.

And to look perfect while doing it! Because you can look perfect. That mask can be made to be oh-so-pretty. You can become just like you wanted. It's the furry and transgender and elf's dream. I, for one, am looking forward to dogs which bag their feces because I'm pretty tired of walking into a park and finding surprises all over the grass.

But I think my brother pegged the not-so-obvious: Sure, we're gushing over all the special abilities and possibilities, but it also hides a fear and that is the fear of death.

They stay cooped up in their homes. Everyone. From what I've seen in the trailers when the power is cut, everyone drops. Not one soul, not even the homeless guy in the alleyway. They've all chosen to create a surrogate. They get into their comfy control chairs and never emerge again.

Touchable only by time, they stay cooped up. There's a perverse pride in the eradication of murder (much like that movie with the psychics who could predict and stop future crimes before they happened). And death is conquered. The millennium long dream of eternal life is more-or-less granted. I'm thinking life expectancies at least to mid-nineties (have your surrogate chow down on cake and chocolate).

To me, that takes the fun out of life. It makes life boring. Granted, that's quite a charge coming from someone who immerses into Second Life. But I do live a life outside of it as well. Frankly, these days I spend more time out of it than in.

In any event, what's the point in sky diving if the fear of smacking into the good earth at free fall is gone? How much fun can swimming across the Atlantic be if in the back of your mind there's the knowledge that if you stop paddling, the worst scenario is an interesting visit to the Titanic? In fact, why not just take a stroll across the ocean floor?

But I suppose I'm not everyone, and the allure of nigh-immortal life appeals to some (if not all).

And besides, who wouldn't want to live through an avatar which can fit into a size 4 dress?

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