There is a recently released Amazon Prime series, made before the virus. It’s an absolute mine of insights to the modern psyche. It is funny, mostly intentional, thought provoking, exciting, it’s even a love story and a general fun romp. Warning there are bits that will be unsuitable for some people. I won’t spoil the whole plot in case you haven’t seen it and are going to, but the basic premise is that when you die you can choose to have your consciousness uploaded into virtual reality called ‘heaven’.
It’s that basic premise that gives me the basis for this blog. For many years people have been trying to extend physical life, ever since people stopped generally believing in God and heaven. After all if you think this is all there is, you need to extend it. Upload is the current generations answer to that issue, your consciousness, which they say is who you are, could continue in a virtual world. Doesn’t that open a whole can of worms. Are we just the total of our memories and the contents of our brains. Do we equate to content on a hard drive? Which by the way is how a persons consciousness can be transported in Upload. It is a satire, so you can’t analyse it too closely, but it still raises interesting issues. ‘I think therefore I am’ becomes ‘the content of what I think is who I am’. I don’t know about you, but I reckon that a human is more than the sum of their parts. There is something beyond mere memories and thoughts. A baby has not yet got memories and can’t really think in the way we understand it, but they are human. Are they less human because they have less content? Is a genius more human? Does a person with brain damage who has lost the ability to remember anything cease to be human? Surely you would all agree that there is something beyond memories that makes us human. You cannot upload what you do not comprehend. If you only uploaded memories what would that be? Would it be a human?
Another thing that Upload highlights is that in the man made heaven of Upload you pay not only for the privilege of upload but day by day and for extras while there. That is such a horrible thought. We pay for everything here, heat, light, water, food. I think most of us would agree that at least when we die the cost of living ends. Not in Upload. Again I know it’s satire, but it is pointing at things that are part of how people think and act in our world.
Then there is the cross over between the two worlds. You can visit the virtual heaven with VR glasses and suits. That is a whole other area of humour, and shock in the series. It’s playing on the idea of mediums and ghosts but with tech. Actually while I am on the subject of entering the VR world from the physical it’s a good time to make another observation about humanity. The people visiting are effectively just looking in from outside. Their whole existence, reality, consciousness, still exists in the real world, they are just using VR goggles or a suit to look into and possibly feel the VR world. That is very different from the uploads. The uploads have ceased to exist in the real world, they only exist in VR. Hence my earlier comment about containing the whole of who someone is within their memories. Because that is all that is transferred. We are more than our memories.
I will finish with this thought. I believe there is a real heaven and a real God. We get to know him through Jesus. If you want to know more about Christianity there is a course that is free to attend and has no pressure or follow ups. It’s called Alpha.org I realise that during lockdown there will be no physical meetings. But the website will have information.
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