Who said the road to hell, or at least dehumanisation, wasn’t fun? Late last night it coalesced in my mind as a coherent pattern, a syndrome. I christened it the Hedonomatrix. There may be other, better, names – I haven’t checked. By any name, it is now (to my mind) officially a Thing, as the millennial younglings say. A coming grand unification of unbridled consumerism, narcissism, online video entertainment, virtual reality, gaming…. Almost instant gratification of our hedonistic desires in the 3D world (triggering of floods of dopamine, the pleasure/addiction hormone) through import megastores which provide cheap knockoffs of everything; and in the digital, increasingly virtual world, personalised low-cost, zero responsibility versions of everything – even, horribly (and yet seductively), of people – robotic sex partners, friends, slaves… It is all one movement, having one ultimate goal: everything now, everything virtually free, pay a digital rent and you get it all, and it never answers back, never demands responsibility or asks for help doing the chores. It is the Hedonomatrix. Plugged into this, who would bother to go out and vote, let alone argue politics in a badly heated hall? Who would bother going out to amateur theatre or craft shows or art exhibitions, when the very best ever produced is available when and if (only if) I want it, and otherwise it minds its own business, does not intrude into my hedonistic bubble?
And even this is only a temporary compromise. The Hedonomatrix client is really just filling in time until the digital Heaven is available, when we can upload our entire consciousness into the virtual AI-generated world where we will all have perfect ‘bodies’, never get sick or grow old, and are essentially Gods and Goddesses, living in endless gratification of our every imagining.
Could this actually be a good thing? Only if the powers that create it are benign, AND only if the powers that created our 3D existence in the first place are not – or were merely blind forces of swirling atoms and energy fields. I can’t believe this, mainly because if we are products of blind forces, our very minds are too and have no reason to trust logical intuition, or ethical intuition, or any thoughts our brains may have. And where in the blind swirl of atoms, does consciousness arise? No, the Consciousness, the understanding of reason and good and evil, is prior to these atoms, and therefore has its reasons for creating matter, this whole complex we call the Universe.
So, let’s keep true to the meaning of the Earth, this amazing mixed 3D existence, with all its trials and learnings, and resist the sickly sweet allure of the amoral digital heaven we are being offered. Let us be real men and real women, and explore the deep, divine meaning of our lives, and seek true happiness, not in the dopamine of hedonism but in ordered responsible (serotonin producing) learning, loving and creating. I realized last night that the main obstacle to my Lifegym idea (see www.lifegym.nz) is this growing addiction to the hedonomatrix. Why go work out creatively in 3D with others of like mind and all their flaws too, when we can just plug in to the hedonomatrix? Sigh… is it doomed?
(See ‘The Hacking of the American Mind’ for much more on the seductive consumerist addiction spiral of dopamine chasing versus the disciplined happiness path which produces serotonin, the ‘happiness hormone’)