Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 107

POLITICS AND SOCIET Y God as Virtuality ANA LEVY-LYONS O “ pen your eyes. You are a fisherman in the Pacific, a weaver in the Philippines, and a journalist on the front lines. You act with kindness; you fight with courage. You swim the depths of the oceans; you float the heights of the skies. You walk on top of the world and you are someone else’s world. You are with family; you are with friends; you are with ancestors.” So goes the voiceover for the latest ad for Ocu- lus Go, a virtual reality headset that allows you to virtually travel to all these places and be all these things. As the female voice narrates the virtual experiences you can have, the images are gorgeous. You see the fishermen in their wet yellow rain slickers hauling in baskets of shining fish; you see the earthy colors of the weaver’s loom in the Philippines. When she says, “you’re a journalist on the front lines,” you see an urban stairwell shredded by shrapnel. VOL. 34, NO. 1 When she says, “you are someone else’s world,” you see a baby staring up at you with wonder. And when she says, “you are with ancestors,” you see a Native American drumming circle around a bonfire. The images flash faster and faster—all the choices, all the things you can be, all the experiences you can have without even having to get out of bed. You can order this thing on Amazon for $200 and if you have Prime you’ll get free shipping and have it by tomorrow. In the words of the ad, you can, “live every story.” What’s not to like? Where the physical world has limits, the virtual world is limitless. Where our own bodies can’t do certain things, in the virtual world we can do anything. Where in real life the laws of time and space dictate where we can go, in the virtual world, we can go anywhere anytime. A real fisherman pays for his experience of the ocean in sweat and © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 107