"...an all-pervasive network of virtual realities will enable everybody to have their objects of desire fulfilled, and at minimal cost. Interactive or solipsistic, artistic masterpiece or pornographic wish-fulfilment, an ever-growing software library of virtual worlds will let everyone have their dreams come true. Yet on its own, any such utopian VR scenario wouldn't, mirabile dictu, make us significantly happier for long. The hedonic treadmill of feedback inhibition in the CNS would still grind. For a revolution of rising expectations will eventually lead people to expect to enjoy and enact in VR any set of perceptions and narrative structures they choose. We'll expect to do so in virtual worlds that manifest physical laws, narrative plot-lines and body-images of our own choosing. In the absence of at least a minimal mesolimbic repair-job to enrich our mental health, then Darwinian sentiments of boredom, angst and other dormant negativities would periodically surface to spoil our ostensibly perfect idylls and utopias. On its own, even utopian VR can't transcend the limits of our genetically constrained "set-point" of well-being or ill-being. Ironically, a mass migration into virtual worlds may come to represent Peripheralism's final fling. Only total control of one's notional surroundings via immersive VR may be enough to convince the sceptic of the futility of purely environmental manipulation to secure lasting happiness. By contrast, the symbiosis of gradients of genetically preprogrammed euphoria and the application of mature virtual reality software engineering is an awesomely exciting prospect..."
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The Abolitionist Project
Critique of Brave New World