Alternate Reality?

What is our society coming to when a man would rather fully immerse himself in an alternate reality family, than his actual family? I am of course referring to one of the points of discussion from Monday's class last week. One of our fellow classmates mentioned a story about a man whose wife divorced him because he was spending more time with his "Second Life" family rather than his real life family. When I was doing the reading for this week I was thoroughly disturbed by how dependent on technology our society has become. The articles mention hypermediated and immediacy. Hypermediacy being something so extravagant and flashy you can not help but notice, and immediacy something subtler that you are not supposed to notice. My fear is how old technology seems to eventually become immediated whether it was intended to or not. Take for example e-mail. E-mail used to be such an upgrade from regular mail, then instant messaging came along, now texting and who knows what is next. My point is a new and exciting technology always seems to be just around the corner, ready to replace the old more personal forms of communication. I know this isn't exactly what the readings were about, but still, how far do we have to go before we realize what damage technology is causing us. I might sound like a big hypocrite here, because I love texting just as much as the next guy, and granted it does have its benefits. But how sad is it that now instead of calling someone for dinner I will text them. It is so impersonal and can seem insincere. Our society has become so dependent on technology that simply trying to meet up with your friends in a crowded public place seems virtually impossible.

Anyway, getting back to the readings, I think this is the inherent problem with virtual reality. How far will it progress, and at what cost? I think when we discuss virtual reality, we eventually must mention video games. Video games offer an alternate reality, not a virtual one, or at least not yet. With Nintendo's interactive Nintendo Wii, are virtual games far behind? As fascinating as this may seem, isn't this going to diminish the amount of physical activity all the more? America already has an obesity problem, do we really need anymore reasons to avoid exercise and fresh air? I guess in the end, sometimes our alternate realities really seem that much better than our true ones. Just ask the man who left his wife and kids for a "Second Life."

Its very true that technology really is just continually replacing what we thought was the best and making it better. However, the concequences of this are that we are more dependent, as well as the fact that with the concept of immediacy, we become so immersed in a virtual life inside a media that we forget about real life. Where is the line drawn, and why do we have such an attraction to the virtual? Why isn't the realities of life enough?