A Citizen Of The Metaverse

The Lifeboat №14: Cyberpunk we have deserved

We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don't know what to do with other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can't accept it for what it is. - Stanisław Lem, Solaris

My phone frightens me. It stopped being a device and started feeling like a new limb growing out of me. The limb I use as a wallet, a map, a newspaper, a book, a notebook, a CD player, a pocket cinema, a gaming console, a telegraph, as anything and everything, all in one high-tech swiss army knife. The limb that gets old together with me so I have to periodically upgrade it, expanding its computational power by a couple of hundred hertz and its photographic ability by a couple of thousand pixels to instantly supply my friends with colourful pictures of the most colourful moments of my incredibly colourful life, expiring in 24 hours.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate what the limb does for me. It embodies progress and cyberpunk, maybe not the cyberpunk we dreamed of, made films and wrote novels about, but at least the one we deserved. I love it although it might seem like a Stockholm syndrome type of love.

The most frightening thing is the limb’s lost externality. It's not foreign anymore. I feel a phantom pain every time I can't grab it from a desk or a pocket like I'm one of those people who lost a finger or even a whole hand but continue to feel them for some time after the tragedy. And I feel real pain when it runs out of battery like if it happens to my organs, to my lithium guts. I’m scared my body accepted it too easily as if I am one of those people who got a second robotic thumb attached to their palm in a high-tech laboratory, and now, after just a couple of weeks of training, they can control it like a native limb. The extra limb.

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