Jacob’s Ladder

Is the making of a MMOG (Massive Multi-player Online Game) a simple desire to create a playground from which we can enjoy a game, or are we fulfilling a destiny laid out in the creation of the universe? Is the ultimate purpose of a MMOG not in the making of a game, but our attempts to follow in the footsteps of our father, who created an expanse of space and time so immense that we truly cannot fathom it? We are standing on the eighth step looking upwards into a spiraling staircase reaching into heaven, albeit the fulfillment of mankind in creating our own universe!

From our earliest records and studies of the past, we see mankind trying to rework the world he lives in and re-create it in his own ideology. Cascading through the millennia we move from formulating sparks of ideas, from painting surreal images on cave walls and creating statuettes of lions standing like men; to legends and stories of travels to uncharted islands and places of opulence and glory. For the people of the time, to gaze upon the walls and see the men hunting bison, they realized that they could create the imagery and feeling of being there. Later, as story telling progressed, the reader of tales of uncharted islands and far flung places could see and rationalize those wonderful worlds of mystery.

Each step that we took, progressed us further along the line of creating are own universe. In the beginning of course, the steps were small and easily surmounted, though perhaps only because we look back on our own actions, as a parent laughs at their child’s attempt to walk. We found we can create the feeling of immersiveness but lacked the ability to fashion a believable creation.

There are five physical senses that we use to perceive the universe: Touch, Taste, Sight, Smell, and Hearing. We also use three metaphysical senses, (Recognition of) Self, (Sense of )Time, and (Cognitive) Hypothesis.

Three of the senses have easily been surmounted and worked into our effort to seize reality. Sight, Sound, and to a much lesser extent Touch (in the vein of pressure exerted through sounds waves) have been tackled for centuries and we have gotten better in projecting our creations.

As we create our own universe, will we model our ability to perceive the universe under these same terms, or will we move away from them: do we even have the ability to create senses unknown to us?

Some of the sense are easily crafted, such as in Sight, a primary sense which quantifies the world around us. The progression of story telling of this sense led to acts of theater, motion pictures, and germinating into television or web-vision (video held in the cloud of the Internet). We now have the tools from which to generate a three-dimensional world which can defy our own physical realities, but to all but the most trained totally indistinguishable from it. In our projections of film we can create monsters so horrifying to take our breath away, or such beauty to manifest gasps of disbelief and utter astonishment. The beings from within these created worlds live in a three-dimensional space, although at present we cannot truly project this as we view the world around us.

Sight is a very powerful tool in creation, but perhaps no lesser is the sense of Smell and Taste, but for the lack or research we cannot control these senses beyond feeble attempts of Smellovision or obtuse devices, dare I say, giving you a taste of taste?

How would the formulation of these two senses, for example, change our perception of a MMOG? Would the dank smell of a rotting flesh, in a forgotten crypt, add to our ability to recreate the feeling of its designers, or would that be reviled? Is that simply because we have not surmounted those steps that the thought of smelling carnage would sicken us? Could we not hold the same argument to the graphic depiction in many games? Perhaps as we get better at controlling more than a single sense at a time, it will be required that we tackle multiple senses. Just as we have come to expect both sight and sound in our games today, will we not demand the ability to smell the fields of orange turrangoly blossoms or enjoy the bouquet of a freshly stitched gorgon leather jerkin? Would we be doing a service to the inhabitants of these worlds to forego the senses of smell and taste? So much can be said for the delectable tastes of sugar, salt, and sourness that weaves through the palette of every day food, but could not we spare our progeny in these new worlds the smell of a skunk or the flatulence of a gorged troll?

How would the sense of Taste change our abilities to re-create the worlds of MMOGs? for sight, we use the lense of a video screen to project the imagery, but how would taste be worked? Would we use tools that required us to place things in our mouths, or will we circumvent that with direct stimulation of our brains. How will our society rationalize the taste of strong liquours, or even better, what does a Potion of Troll Regeneration taste like? Will the first game set the stage for all others; will Lord British determine what a Griffon Steak will taste like for generations to come? Or perhaps we will never sense the taste and smell of things in worlds we create, but our avatars will. If that is the case, if they cannot react to a sumptuous meal or revile against the whiff of a dank dungeon, will those senses translate into a viable perception? As we garner greater ability to translate our senses into these new worlds, if they cannot be transfigured they will become meaningless and eventually forgotten.

The thought of controlling the five physical senses are daunting to say the least, but we have not even dared to gaze upon the steps that lead to the metaphysical senses. How will we feel the day we log into our avatars, who have a recognition of self, and they look back and tell you that they are not interested in having an adventure? Or perhaps, what will our reaction be, when they demand attention at times we cannot give?

Every MMOG created, delineates time at a scale unmatched to our own. Will the denizens of the imaginary world look up on us as gods because we live for centuries, perhaps even eons, in their relationship to the world. Just as some societies see their gods as unaffected by time, will the people of our creation view us similiary. As time in our created worlds engender physical reactions to the universe, tools will be implemented to equate decay, disillusionment, and age.

Our avatars in these created worlds will age, becoming weak and feeble. Buildings and roads will lapse into unrepair and without outside influences topple and erode back into the world. Grass and trees will grow, seed, and rejuvenate themselves through the seasons. Lore and legends will come to light, slip into the twilight of knowledge, and fade away as empires rise and fall. During all of this, we will watch from our vaulted windows over the worlds and laugh, jeer, and cry over the results….does this not sound like the greek gods? We are becoming manifestations of what we yearned for two thousand years ago.

The culmination of all senses is the ability of those we create, to cognitively extract the world around them and place it in words of their own hyothesis. The day we create a world such as this, is the day, we take our final step on the ladder, and look back not seeing a set of stairs spiraling down into infinity, but a throne that we can sit upon and look over our own creation — a day we become gods.

Jacob lay down to sleep; And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12). In this bibical story, Jacob stood at the foot of the steps leading into heaven and partook in all of its glory, each rung a step closer to heaven, but a step further away from the ground. Angels busied themselves on the stairs, coming and going: doing things that Jacob could not even fathom, enacting and setting into place events that would transpire over the next several thousand years — yet how long is that to angels and gods who live for eternity.

We can look at this parable in light of our attempt to create a world of our own design, and perhaps, one day a universe. The steps into heaven are many, with each step requiring a slight more effort to climb. In our attempt to create our universe, we have started the climb towards heaven, albeit our own creation of time and space. With each step we take, we move further away from our earthly confines and move ever closer to a place where we becomes gods and formulate the idea of creating someone in our own image to repeat the process.

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2 Comments

  1. I love having trippy thoughts like this. Reality to us is just what we perceive, put in the context of what we have experienced and been taught, so who is to say what is and isn’t….

    Of course we can’t go around living our lives like it’s canon, but it’s food for thought about questioning the world instead of just taking things for granted.

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