When Realities Differ

Once Virtual Reality becomes part of our shared reality, how will it change our perception of what is real? I mean, once a meeting moves to a shared virtual space, everybody can tweak the experience to what they want. I could choose to have strong language filtered out. I could choose to appear in different form, different mood than I really am. I could choose the people around me to appear happy.

Even now, what we experience differs. Primed with one thought or another, we might remember completely different parts of a  conversation. But still it seems that all possible experiences are presented to everyone equally. Not so in AR. I could have chosen to only be presented with half of it, and have some virtual ones added that nobody else can have. How different will it be?

A Brief Excursion to Salzburg

Today I went to Salzburg for a brief appointment, 3.5 hours commute (one way) for less than an hour worth of “quality time”. It was great! I love traveling in trains, I meditated lots and slept some, and even got a bit of work done.

And Salzburg still has lots more snow, so I got to enjoy a walk through the snowy town. Lucky me!

Arithmetic using a Taptana

Last weekend I learned how to use a Taptana. It is a calculating tool that seems to originate from South America, equivalent to an abacus. Same same, but different. 🙂

This is what it looks like:


This version of the Taptana was popularized in (Montessori) education circles by Rebeca and Mauricio Wild, founders of the alternative school project Pesta.

The board has two sides. On each side, 9 dents are representing the digits 1-9, arranged in a spiral. The larger dent on top represents zero. The board is worked with differently colored beads, each color (or shape) representing one decimal position. Placing a unit bead in the 4 dent and a hundred bead in the 8 dent, for example, would represent the number 804.


(Image via NewLearningCulture Taptana instructions)

Addition is then done by placing one number on the left, and one on the right side. Then, position by position, the number on the left moves backward as the number on the right moves forward. See the process in action here:

The Taptana can also be used for multiplication, subtraction and division. More (Spanish) instruction videos can be found on YouTube. It has definitely been fun to play with!

(In Austria, Taptanas are produced by ‘Der Spielzeugmacher‘).



Radical Acceptance

I just finished reading the book ‘Radical Acceptance‘ by Tara Brach for the second time in a row. Something in it just spoke to me, and what I learned had a tremendous impact on my meditation practice.

Learning to pause is the first step in the practice of Radical Acceptance. A pause is a suspension of activity, a time of temporary disengagement when we are no longer moving toward any goal. . . . The pause can occur in the midst of almost any activity and can last for an instant, for hours or for seasons of our life. . . . We may pause in the midst of meditation to let go of thoughts and reawaken our attention to the breath. We may pause by stepping out of daily life to go on a retreat or to spend time in nature or to take a sabbatical. . . . You might try it now: Stop reading and sit there, doing “no thing,” and simply notice what you are experiencing.”

Much of what I read isn’t new. Many of the concepts I have heard before. But knowing and internalizing are two different things. This past week, inspired by what I read in the book, my meditation practice has become so much more aware, I have become much kinder to myself and the people around me. I’m looking forward to how I can learn even more from it.

The Drunk Illusion

This morning I woke up thinking about the implications of blending VR/AR/AI with the reality as we know it. Think, for example, about getting drunk. Could a VR/AI create the illusion of being drunk? Granted, I am not the most proficient in this topic, since I’ve never been drunk. But I have heard many people say that without drinking x amount of alcohol, they aren’t able to do certain things, like dance, or socialize.

Imagine attending an AR party, and you felt shy about talking to someone. Imagine you could blend your own appearance with an AI that did the first talking for you, until you felt comfortable to take over. Or, what about overrating your dance skills when you’re drunk? Your AR representation could just improve your dance movements for you ever so slightly. You could even choose to make everyone there look a little better, be a little funnier or be more interesting in some other way.

I mean, if we remember reality in different ways now, how significant is it if the experience is completely different in the first place? How could we ever have an argument about who is right? But I digress… I’d love to see AR decrease the need to drink alcohol.