The Metaverse is the Twilight Zone of the 21st Century


Imagine Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone back in the mid-20th Century, introducing his newest project for the 21st Century: The Metaverse.

“Picture if you will a place where the land is dying from abuse and inattention. The land and everything on it are owned by a small group of very, very wealthy men. To keep getting more wealthy, they must despoil more land. And to minimize what they call ‘friction’ they must keep the people giggling and giddy in a tsunami of one’s and zero’s that rain down from the clouds.

But we’re starting to see the damage done to what had been our land, air, and water. We were so intent gazing at one’s and zero’s up in the clouds, we neglected nature just like the old timers used to trash the earth to get to the true home up with god in the clouds.

The landowners got rich-richer-richest. The people ended up only with evanescent strings of one’s and zero’s which are notoriously hard to pin down being both here and there, and yet nowhere.

But even as the people awaken from their slumber, they find they have no power left to bring the cloud back down to earth. So the people do what people always do, they blame each other instead of the owners who are oh so good, and oh so fine, and oh so healthy in their bodies and their minds.

And the people notice to their shock that the poor, the proles, the plebes, the beggars at the gate are suddenly no longer a sub-class. We are all equals now. Our bellies, brains and bowels are stuffed with one’s and zero’s. How did this happen?

(Don’t misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with one’s and zero’s until we must start taking orders from them.)

But where, oh where was it ever written that we must neglect, forget, or trash nature, and instead live in an artificial, virtual, inauthentic, for-sale-to-the-highest-bidder ecosystem?

And this is what the owners wanted all along. When all the people live in equal squalor amid all the shiny do-dads and clouds of gee-gaws no longer within their reach, they begin to fight each other for the crumbs. You can look this up in history books if you can still find any history books.

This is the surprising thing our research turned up: people with the least freedom are the very ones who claim they have the most freedom. This is what we now call the January 6th Awakening. And you would have to look in a history book to find reference to the long-forgotten Fourth of July Independence Holiday, if you could still find a history book.

Yes, brothers and sisters, the people will fight each other to the death to prove they are free; free to be picked clean. And the owners quietly chortle and pack their bags for Davos.

Meanwhile, in the forests of Alberta, the life force Manitou expires in a death gasp. Bye, bye, Manitou. You must leave the cloud to the rich people now. They are the new gods.

But maybe at last people are aware of something even more sinister, a backstory as you might say. A dirty little secret is getting out. It takes fewer people to make the do-dads and therefore fewer people who can buy the gee-gaws. And so those people can no longer afford to stay healthy (too expensive), get educated (too expensive), or recreate in the wild (what with woods blazing, lakes turned to acid, and public campgrounds now private property).

And while this fits the owners’ plans, they know that if too many get too wise, they will at last put aside their fictitious divisions and come for vengeance.

So the owners scurry off to ski in the mountains and talk amongst themselves. Even though they are mortal enemies they know enough to see the need to bond in the face of an existential threat.

The people are tired of seeing the best land and lakes and oceans privatized, while what is left is to be divided among nine billion of the rest.

So the owners come up with a grand plan, indeed. Lead the people into an unnatural fantasy world which the owners invent, control, and monopolize. That will keep the people so happy they won’t notice the nature they left behind is now in a death spiral.

Would the people be so foolish as to enter such a place, just as they are beginning to see how the present system of contempt for earth will soon crash on their children.

Of course they will. The owners will take the tactic once used to get teens to try drugs. Give a little candy sampler of the Metaverse before the gate closes and there is no exit.

But, say some of the duller of the owners, what will happen to us and our children when all the land is dead and all the others are trapped in a fantasy?

’Fools,’ said one of the smarter owners, ‘We can all go to the colony I am creating on Mars where we will be safe and secure. I am booking passage now on my Starfleet, and we will start selling lots in July.’

So it is written. So it shall be done. Or will it?

© 2022 Thomas Mahon



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Tom Mahon

Storyteller. I’ve been a filmmaker, merchant sailor, glass artisan, playwright, and 40-year veteran of Silicon Valley. And each job brought new stories to tell…