Culture Watch: A Crowded Bus All To Myself

From smartphone screens to virtual realities — the experience of the digital lifestyle obscures reality

When I was commuting to Menlo Park last year my two hour journey would start on the San Francisco 38 Geary bus. It was always crowded and I'd be fortunate to squeeze in.

I remember one particular gorgeous sunny morning and I'm on a very crowded bus. I look around and everyone's eyes are on their phones.

I'm one of the tallest on the bus yet I don't see a single person -- across the entire double-length bus -- looking up or around. Everyone's eyes are down -- subservient -- I can't meet anyone's gaze at all.

My immediate thought was wow! I have this whole bus to myself. Everyone's mind is somewhere else.

I love this photo (below) of Marc Zuckerberg wearing a huge grin as he strides through a crowded auditorium where everyone is wearing VR goggles except for him. He has the entire space to himself.

It amuses me to think that Zuckerberg wants all of reality all for himself -- make it into a private domain -- while everyone else is immersed in manufactured virtual realities. Just like he buys up houses next to his so no one can see into his world. It's his.

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Zuckerberg's goal is to have 1 billion people in virtual reality writes Dean Takahashi in VentureBeat:

"We all have limits to our reality, and opening up more of those experiences to all of us is not isolating," [Zuckerberg] said. "It is freeing."

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I'm discovering a new appreciation for reality -- the original kind. OG Reality has many levels of challenging gameplay; I like its multi-colored razor-sharp definition, and the multi-sensory feedback is exquisite. Plus the experiences feel a lot more meaningful.

Reality -- it's the real thing -- the others are made by others.