In my philosophy class we discussed an idea proposed by Robert Nozick, regarding a machine that would allow an individual to live out their wildest fantasies, but the consequences would involve leaving your family and friends behind, while growing out of shape. The machine would simulate any ideas that a person came up with and feel like reality.
The “experience machine” proposed by Robert Nozick has many pros and cons, but ultimately I would choose to utilize this extraordinary invention. I would find this technology fascinating, as I would be able to achieve my ambitions. While it may not be reality, the very thought that it would feel like reality is enough to tempt me to use it. Think about why we read books, watch television, listen to music, watch movies, etc. The obvious answer being that it is a great escape to a place where we can enjoy ourselves and forget about the real world, even if it’s only for a short period of time. With this machine we would be able to fulfill our wildest dreams. Our imagination creates infinite opportunities and ideas that cannot be conceived with just knowledge and work. In this world we could achieve the pinnacle of pleasure, with a stress free environment. Everything would go our way, never a bad day, or a dull moment. Work seems like an endless burden, that we must drag out for the rest of our lives, until we are too old to accomplish what we really want to do. What is our purpose in life, our meaning? We don’t know, there is no guarantee, but at least in the machine we can do what want without having to worry our purpose. I am personally a huge movie fan and I know I’ve always wanted to live out a role or a whole film. For example, what if I could be a superhero, “protecting a city”? What if we could go to back in time and relive these events or alter them to the way I wanted them to turn out? The possibilities seem endless, there is just too much to accomplish, that would be too enticing to hold back. “Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever” (Walt Disney). This quote shows that we can live through our dreams and our imagination, and let them run wild.
The implications are apparent for going the route of the machine. For one, I would feel empty without my “real” friends and family. The thought of them could possibly hinder the experience of the machine. They are an important part of my life that helps motivate me to move forward in life. I understand that the machine may provide few challenges, which in turn could create boredom. Challenges and competition motivate us to do great things in life, with obstacles to help us overcome adversity. “Champions are made from something they have deep inside them, a desire, a dream a vision” (Muhammad Ali). Ali epitomized why people should work hard, it is the resilience of an individual that separates him/her from others. Another reason not to go in the machine is the fact that you would be fat and out of shape, which could lead to health problems in real life. The machine could also feel fake and artificial. The ultimate decision would come down to you, after carefully weighing the pros and cons.
Would you go for the experience? Or miss out and stay in the real world?
Evan Smith is a third year student majoring in political science with a minor in communication studies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.