Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tales from Mai Tai

G and I were just talking about the experimental island of Mai Tai, which I invented here.  If you can't connect to the outside world, it isn't really a modern life,  she says. You can have a high material standard of living but without communication it's not really modernity. 

That's interesting. I wonder if there is a step change between allowing them to listen to outside radio broadcasts, to keep up with the rest of the world, and the internet, which allows participation.

I think the most difficult thing myself would be lack of connection to loved ones. People would not want to be isolated from their families, children, friends. It's the personal connections that people would miss and would persuade them to leave the island. 

Much would depend on how social or friendly the castaways were.  It could go Lord of the Flies, says G. 

And of course people would potentially get bored. Anomie, purposelessness, drift. 

You put it together and it comes down to connection, social interaction, purpose. That is what people want even in conditions of materialist abundance. 

I had in mind philosopher Robert Nozick's Experience Machine as well.  Imagine neurologists develop a machine that can give you the complete, immersive experience of a perfect life of pleasure. You can plug in and have a perfect life of pleasure and success. Would people ever unplug? Given the choice, would we prefer to live in the machine or real life?

It's a bit like the Matrix, says G. 

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