Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New High in Maya (a Sanskrit word loosely translated as "illusion")

The age of virtual reality is truly upon us. It has been coming on for a few decades, but now it is well and truly here.

I have a hard time understanding the wonderful world of high finance, but I gather the current global financial crisis has a lot to do with:
(i) trade in notional products and services;
(ii) trade in a speculative prediction of an asset’s future value; and
(iii) repeated use of a single asset (such as a house) as collateral for an infinite number of deals.

So, we are no longer buying and selling actual products and services, but the idea of such products and services. And sometimes, apparently, the idea turns out to be an illusion.

Now, to help us overcome the financial crisis, the US will pump $700 billion dollars into its economy. No doubt this rescue package is just the thing at this point in the crisis. But, once again, we are relying on pieces of paper that represent a notional value of – well, something. Let’s hope there is some more solid reality behind all these paper icons (icons as on your computer, that awfully solid link to a whole world of virtual reality).

What a tough world. So much gloom and doom all around us. Time to relax – how about getting together with a few good friends and engaging in a leisure time activity? I know, let’s play some Scrabble, that’s always fun. No, don’t bring out the actual board and bag of letters… Why would I play with a family member or a friend across a real table, when I can connect with 400 virtual friends on Facebook and play – virtually, of course – with any of them?

Family members are busy anyway – all connecting with friends on the Net, probably. The kids are creating sexy, exciting avatars (and how that word has changed in meaning…) or virtual personalities for themselves to use in the parallel universe they inhabit.

Well, at least this is real. I’m expressing my views clearly on the world of maya, or illusion – to virtual readers on the Net… :)


  1. on that high note, please play your move on wordscraper (the new virtual scrabble), since we can't play across a table (yet)!

  2. While this time is difficult for many and more so for some than others, I am very grateful for the positive outcomes of the toppling of the much celebrated concept of the free market. For one, as of January, the most powerful nation in the world will no longer be led on the basis of fear. Secondly, the world is starting to make positive change in regulating the market so that greed can no longer put us in such a vulnerable position. Finally, I believe that the numbers of people who strive to make love the foundation of their lives are steadily growing.