Black Arts in the Metaverse

Conceiving a metaverse picks at the barely scabbed-over hype-wound of the dead dream that is cyberspace. It is only the latest — though evidently one of the more effective — in a series of barbarous names uttered during the course of this decentralized rite of necromantic evocation. Nominal thresholds that set a precedent for it include post-truth politics, Roko's Basilisk, and the simulation hypothesis.

Notably, the shock communicated by each is ultimately underwhelming. That is, it is accurate to point out that coming upon a plateau of reality more actual than the one presently assumed to be sovereign in that aspect would — in and of itself — entail little more than the existence of worlds less actual, of fictions, does. This limpness owes itself to the fact that the argument, in its exoterically tolerable form, climaxes prematurely at the very brink of touching upon the unspeakable (a reasonable reaction), without “actually” crossing over.

What all expressions of the argument partake in is the incursion of pellucid hallucinatory immersion upon experience. Its most ancient articulations are concerned with dreams and plays for this reason. Yet its critical core is not the potential verification of what is proposed, but the undecidability of the proposition. The key is that it is in fact impossible to distinguish between a thing and dreaming of it.

Simulation does not meaningfully qualify any state of reality without some way of conclusively surfacing. No definitive boundary can be drawn to delimit one's world as the actual. Reciprocally, there is a continuity between the entire stack of nested semiotic terrains that constitutes the cosmos. A simulated world, whether it is the script of a play or a 3DCGI scene, is not simply a closed bubble of space and time embedded within another space and time, but a continuous fold within the labyrinth. While this may seem all too familiar from the postmodern stance that the distinction between virtual and actual reality is not substantive, there is a difference here that matters (though certainly none that the former’s majority Marxist proponents will find remotely admissable): what counts is just how much is invested in a given reality.

No regulation in the world could hinder the clot of conjoined realities from trafficking in this currency. The cosmic market allows for, even necessitates, constant reconfiguration of which realities are comparatively affluent in their actuality. A metaverse, like cyberspace before it, is an opened seal along the gate to that transcendental crypt from which the very foundations of conjuration flap out:

"Nothing is true, everything is under production."