Re: Some Questions About VRML

Andrew C. Esh (
Mon, 27 Mar 1995 16:56:08 -0600 (CST)

On Mon, 27 Mar 1995, Claude L. Bullard wrote:

> If the Pope posts, can the Dali Llama
> be far behind?

Actually, I think the Dali Llama was on the net, or had something to do
with the net a couple of years ago. Maybe he was on MTV, interviewed for
Wired, or something. I just remember thinking, "Gee, he's kind of a cool
old dude!".

Well if we're going to get into Religion, I'd kind of like to create a
series of spaces that link together as a MUD. The better you do on any
level, the higher you go. You do bad things, and you go lower, to worse
places. It's kind of Western, but it works for me. The problem I have with
it, is that I think it would be too predictable, and preachy. There'd be
things like your character getting AIDS after being too promiscuous, and
other painful realities like that. Without real consequences, I think
people would be porpoising up and down from level to level just to see
what they could get away with. I mean, I could see someone going and
finding Mother Teresa and giving her a wedgie just to see how far they'd
fall. It would become simple exploration, rather than something which
people would take any lessons from.

Maybe this would be a good time to put in a word about censorship. How
would our kids turn out if all they ever did was run around doing weird
stuff to virtual characters? Wouldn't they wind up doing things for kicks
like putting Nerve Gas in subways, or dowsing their younger siblings
with lighter fluid and setting them on fire? There have been a lot of
really weird and frightening things happening lately, that cause me to
think that some people completely missed out when the commons sense was
being handed out. I used to think that it was a sort of mental retardation
which caused the sufferer to become a sociopath, but I'm not so sure any

I've done some virtual things I'd never do for real. You all know I've
played Doom. I've played it against real people as well. I feel as though
I am able to look at what goes on, and then decide that parts of what
happens in the game are to be compared to reality, and what parts should
be discarded as unreal. I've played Doom on maps of various college
campii. I'd probably have no trouble finding my way around Trinity
College. I'd be interested in going there for real, some time. I wouldn't
take a shotgun and hose everybody in sight when I get there though. Are
kids minds developed enough to tell the difference between those sorts of
things? Are they better off without exposure, or would the exposure to
such game cause them to realize that they could lose too, and so it is not
worth playing for real.

Virtual Reality is going to become the arena of the mind. Our vision
could become blurred. We could actually come face to face with the worst
parts of ourselves. Maybe we will anyway. Current events bear this out.


P.S.: Ever have that feeling of impending Doom and the expectation of
being about to reach Nirvana at the same time? It's kind of a sudden
falling sensation, but falling into warmth. A sort of safe, sickening
feeling. Maybe I'm suffering from Future Shock. Maybe it's indigestion.

Andrew C. Esh       
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