Have you seen the movie Inception? There’s a chilling scene early in the film where The Chemist takes the main characters through a tour of his hospital. In it we we see a group of patients who are lost in a dream. . .that is they spent more and more time escaping reality by dreaming, until they prefered to be lost in a dream. They spend entire days dreaming, waking only brief period of times to eat and such. Then back to the dream. Merrily merrily merily merrily, life is but a dream.
That’s what I was thinking about during the Frontline special. Especially the Korean all night gaming places. It was creepy to seen whole rows of people “plugged” into their dream. That plus the Army Recruiting Center which, to my mind, was luring kids into the service by exploiting their love of video games. I understand educators wanting to incorporate tehcnology into the classroom (I will not get on my soapbox about what is wrong with the millitary’s recruiting system-yet), but their almost blinding devotion to the technology is a little disconcerting. To me, technology is not some magic wand you can wave at the situation to make all problems go away. It is a powerful tool, but like with all tools, there are trade-offs.
I think that’s where I stand this week. Disturbed as I watch people willingly drift off to sleep, plug into the matrix, enter the dream, pick your metaphor. But as in Inception, I am left with the question what do you do when the dream becomes more meaningful than reality?