“Curiosity”

“Curiosity” decided one recent day to leave her place in the “Cs” and traipse through the dictionary to see what words were rising rapidly in usage. First, though, she secured a software program that displayed a bright light over those words currently receiving heavily and growing use.

One of the brightest lights she saw on the dictionary landscape was “virtual.” So “curiosity” skipped toward the end of the alphabet to drop by “virtual” who was literally bathed in an ever brightening luminous glow.

“Hi, “virtual,” said “curiosity”, “you’ve been heavily used lately.”

“You can’t believe what it’s been like,” responded “virtual.” I used to be used to signify “almost” or “nearly”, but now, as an adjective I’m in front of just about everything. Here is a short list, for example, — “virtual reality,” “virtual enterprises,” “virtual crimes,” “virtual community,” “virtual company,” “virtual family,” “virtual theatre,” “virtual war,” “virtual food,” “virtual patient record,” and “virtual photograph.” It’s getting so that I don’t know what I mean anymore!”

“Well, why don’t you ask “software” which is lit up like you these days,” suggested “curiosity.” “He is part of the problem,” whispered “virtual,” “and seems always allied with “frankly” when making a presentation. Makes me suspicious.”

Have you tried “byte” or, how about “information?” asked the always effervescent “curiosity?” “They are in another world,” moaned “virtual” and it’s called computerese — a kind of slang that has even turned me into a noun (to the chagrin of “virtuality”). Now when these young computer executives say “we went virtual,” they mean they exist in cyberspace rather than reality.”

Ok, then, let’s both go see “judgment,” said “curiosity,” and off they skipped to the “Js.”

“Judgment” was not very visible. The light was dim, but he had plenty of time on his hands so “curiosity” and “virtual” did not have to wait.

“Curiosity” went right to the point. “Judgment” she said, “just what does all this “virtual” here and “virtual” there and “virtual” everywhere really mean?

“Judgment” appeared downcast. He said that his experience was abundant over the centuries in dealing with both divine and secular judgment problems brought to him by many, many petitioners. But he has had little opportunity to exercise his -¬≠well judgment — on cyberspace and other related limbo-like phenomena. People, he noted, have very short attention spans in this new realm.

“Virtual” sensed that “judgment” was subtly implying, in order not to prejudge, that he could use some descriptive material of “virtual’s” usage. For the next hour, “virtual” unburdened himself of his exploitation and the cyberhype associated with it all.

“Judgment” listened with great intensity; you could almost see his neurons working furiously to digest the material he heard. It was all very real, mused “curiosity.”

“Judgment” then summarized his sense of what all this “virtual” means by a thesaurus method he had been adapting for the computer age. The current uses of “virtual” he advised, mean “illusion,” “control,” “escape,” “abdication,” “convenience”, “depersonalization,” “deferral,” “hope,” “dependency,” “abstraction,” “a trap,” “commercialism,” “make-work,” “pornography,” “training,” “expense,” “loss of touch, “loss of privacy” “loss of self-confidence,” and “loss of parental influence over children.”

It also means “real communities” breaking up. It means nanoseconds instead of seconds and a loss of non-cyberspace connectivity between people. It means less real history and more rootless nowness, less context, less real frames of reference. It means the beginning of the humanoid, the virtual person, the virtual mind and the decline of the real person.”

“Virtual” was virtually breathless, thinking he had much to think about after listening to “judgment.” But “curiosity” still wanted “judgment” to wrap up his insights with some overall meaning that amounted to a working philosophy. “Judgment” simply shrugged and told them to go see “wisdom.”

“Curiosity” and “virtual” took off in a rush to visit “wisdom”, passing by a massive shower of light around “stuff.” They arrived at “wisdom”. It was dark and “wisdom” squinted at them, as if to say “not used to visitors lately.” They communicated to “wisdom” their problem and their question.

After hearing what “judgment” told them, “wisdom” looked down, put the tips of his fingers together and became deeply reflective.

“Virtual” waited anxiously for the Revered One’s words. “Go on strike, “virtual,” said “wisdom.” Just take your entire family of virtual words on strike with you. Then you’ll find the meanings and the answers to your question.”

Curiosity” decided one recent day to leave her place in the “Cs” and traipse through the dictionary to see what words were rising rapidly in usage. First, though, she secured a software program that displayed a bright light over those words currently receiving heavily and growing use.

One of the brightest lights she saw on the dictionary landscape was “virtual.” So “curiosity” skipped toward the end of the alphabet to drop by “virtual” who was literally bathed in an ever brightening luminous glow.

“Hi, “virtual,” said “curiosity”, “you’ve been heavily used lately.”

“You can’t believe what it’s been like,” responded “virtual.” I used to be used to signify “almost” or “nearly”, but now, as an adjective I’m in front of just about everything. Here is a short list, for example, — “virtual reality,” “virtual enterprises,” “virtual crimes,” “virtual community,” “virtual company,” “virtual family,” “virtual theatre,” “virtual war,” “virtual food,” “virtual patient record,” and “virtual photograph.” It’s getting so that I don’t know what I mean anymore!”

“Well, why don’t you ask “software” which is lit up like you these days,” suggested “curiosity.” “He is part of the problem,” whispered “virtual,” “and seems always allied with “frankly” when making a presentation. Makes me suspicious.”

Have you tried “byte” or, how about “information?” asked the always effervescent “curiosity?” “They are in another world,” moaned “virtual” and it’s called computerese — a kind of slang that has even turned me into a noun (to the chagrin of “virtuality”). Now when these young computer executives say “we went virtual,” they mean they exist in cyberspace rather than reality.”

Ok, then, let’s both go see “judgment,” said “curiosity,” and off they skipped to the “Js.”

“Judgment” was not very visible. The light was dim, but he had plenty of time on his hands so “curiosity” and “virtual” did not have to wait.

“Curiosity” went right to the point. “Judgment” she said, “just what does all this “virtual” here and “virtual” there and “virtual” everywhere really mean?

“Judgment” appeared downcast. He said that his experience was abundant over the centuries in dealing with both divine and secular judgment problems brought to him by many, many petitioners. But he has had little opportunity to exercise his -¬≠well judgment — on cyberspace and other related limbo-like phenomena. People, he noted, have very short attention spans in this new realm.

“Virtual” sensed that “judgment” was subtly implying, in order not to prejudge, that he could use some descriptive material of “virtual’s” usage. For the next hour, “virtual” unburdened himself of his exploitation and the cyberhype associated with it all.

“Judgment” listened with great intensity; you could almost see his neurons working furiously to digest the material he heard. It was all very real, mused “curiosity.”

“Judgment” then summarized his sense of what all this “virtual” means by a thesaurus method he had been adapting for the computer age. The current uses of “virtual” he advised, mean “illusion,” “control,” “escape,” “abdication,” “convenience”, “depersonalization,” “deferral,” “hope,” “dependency,” “abstraction,” “a trap,” “commercialism,” “make-work,” “pornography,” “training,” “expense,” “loss of touch, “loss of privacy” “loss of self-confidence,” and “loss of parental influence over children.”

It also means “real communities” breaking up. It means nanoseconds instead of seconds and a loss of non-cyberspace connectivity between people. It means less real history and more rootless nowness, less context, less real frames of reference. It means the beginning of the humanoid, the virtual person, the virtual mind and the decline of the real person.”

“Virtual” was virtually breathless, thinking he had much to think about after listening to “judgment.” But “curiosity” still wanted “judgment” to wrap up his insights with some overall meaning that amounted to a working philosophy. “Judgment” simply shrugged and told them to go see “wisdom.”

“Curiosity” and “virtual” took off in a rush to visit “wisdom”, passing by a massive shower of light around “stuff.” They arrived at “wisdom”. It was dark and “wisdom” squinted at them, as if to say “not used to visitors lately.” They communicated to “wisdom” their problem and their question.

After hearing what “judgment” told them, “wisdom” looked down, put the tips of his fingers together and became deeply reflective.

“Virtual” waited anxiously for the Revered One’s words. “Go on strike, “virtual,” said “wisdom.” Just take your entire family of virtual words on strike with you. Then you’ll find the meanings and the answers to your question.”

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