A Tale of Two Metaverses
There, a world beyond, encroaching through discourse, Armed with devotion, and fit with hopes.
Here, a world remains, drowned in promises, chasing illusions, and haunted with truths.
Here, a glimpse of the world beyond, fragments of flamboyant reality, embellished in a proprietary fashion, vast and novel, we who participate, eerily narrow and familiar, we who control.
There, a sight of the world, that might not remain, fractured between beings and their self-references, bizarrely dependent, on techno-fantasy, struggling with the same battles, in-and-out realities, torn, shredded apart, distant pockets of humanoids.
Somewhere, a vision, of the two worlds, collide, discontent combusts, and old structure crumbles, reality untethered, from algorithmic doings, communities escape, from tokenized shackles, visionaries dethroned, so our priorities reset.
Consequences afflict, but this time we'll face, the after taste of complacency, hard as it will be, we'll regain what’s rightfully ours, for this time, we'll build, our own world beyond.
“The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”
— Matthew Ball, Framework for the Metaverse
“How would you explain the metaverse in five words or less? The best I got is ‘virtual reality with unskippable ads.’”
— Wendy Liu, Author of Abolish Silicon Valley: How to Liberate Technology from Capitalism.
As of writing, the market value of the Metaverse expects to reach $800 billion by 2024, with an estimated addressable market of $8 trillion. While its definition remains uncertain, the Metaverse’s omnipresent development and discourse seem to be imposing a narrative of certainty—one that preaches its inevitability.
In many ways, this claim is not without merit. How could the Metaverse go away when Meta, a company with 2.9 billion monthly active users, already immortalized the concept in its brand name? How could it be futile when VC firms whose portfolio companies fit our society with digital reliance are determined to make it a reality? How would it lose significance, when its mere mention proxies innovation?
If it won’t go away, would it ever go our way?
Coming to terms with the Metaverse impinging itself into truth, I’m torn between hope and rejection. The former wants to believe in tech-empowered yet made-for-human solutions, while the latter is still haunted with modern evidence of its diversions. Both perspectives, I realize, are the mind's guilty pleasure; for it traps actions in a binary and removes my agency from this imposed, yet shared trajectory.
Writing this essay has been an act of wrestling myself into participation: an attempt to overcome the hype that amplifies the Metaverse’s promises while neglecting its potential consequences. A resistance against my fear of giving credence to new rhetoric. Most of all, this essay is an endeavor to find clarity, through the exploration of five entwined relationships embedded within the Metaverse:
1. Reality and Virtuality
When the 18th century approached its end, the world greeted the onset of Romanticism. In contrasting itself to the Enlightenment philology that rationalizes nature with science, Romanticism saw untouched nature as the absolute divine. Nature was seen as a refuge where humans were destined to return and find meaning.
Three centuries later, as society tangled with the internet, the Romantic adjacent concept of "returning to the wilderness" once again heightened. This movement was marked by the rise of offline retreats, digital detoxes, and “screen time” software. All were designed and sold with the promise of helping us unplug from our screen-plagued reality.
“The fantasy of escaping to a place beyond history is the fantasy of unaccountability.”
At the start of 2020, the world went into lockdown as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In exacerbating our reliance on tech, isolation also heightened and made the deterioration of our society more visible. It was at this juncture of time that the Metaverse came as if a reprieve.
The Metaverse pointed us toward a new and unspoiled territory that is the virtual world. A place where physicality is obsolete, means of expression are infinite, and economic rewards are bountiful. A place to be all, do all, get all, and maybe, forget all.
Albeit different in mediums of expression, Romanticism, the “wilderness” movement, and the Metaverse’s popularization hinge on the separation between a bad world and a good world. The bad world is the world we predominantly live in. A world that is filled with problems. The good world, on the other hand, is a new world we can escape to. The place with promises of a clean slate where our problems vanish, upon which we’ll build a better life.
The fundamental that underpins this separation is the frustration with the world as is, and the excitement for the world that once was, or will be. Be it looking backward to unspoiled nature, or looking forward to the uncharted Metaverse, these ideologies promote a sheer rebuke of the present and an erasure of collective accountability.
Consider Caspar David Friedrich's Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog—a classic artwork from the Romantic period. This painting depicts an aristocratic man standing atop a mountain looking outward to the fog-wrapped mountain ranges. Here, man is portrayed as a beholder of nature. A being that is external to, as opposed to integrated with their hosting environment. Similarly, the narrative that pits our “depreciating” world from the promising Metaverse seeks to alienate humans from the world that we exist because of.
As the Metaverse continues to dematerialize our world, power individualization, and reward us with financial incentives, it eases our need to reconcile the virtual with the real or the good world with the bad world. Just as Romanticism fuels the conquest of untapped nature and digital detoxes encourage the commercialization of the wilderness, the Metaverse can inadvertently risk endorsing the quest for a new reality, while distracting us from the needed act of restoring our spoiled reality.
To resist this distraction, it is critical that we ask ourselves if this “good world and bad world” divide is helpful verbiage to guide the development of the Metaverse. There isn’t “a good world and a bad world.” There is, however, our one world, with all its despair and promises.
As we build our world forward—now with the advancement of the Metaverse—let's do away with escapism and pose more restorative Metaverse projects. Projects that inspire virtual developments which help revitalize the hosting world. Projects that simulate radical socio-political structures whose learnings can pave the way for systemic revolution. Projects that don't deflect, but help us confront our wrongdoings, so we can change ourselves, and in turn, change our world.
2. Freedom and Custody
The Metaverse’s most prominent and powerful pitch to humanity is the promise of freedom.
In the Metaverse, people have the freedom to dress their non-conforming identities in otherworldly garments. Those who were once immobilized by physical distance will be able to immersively participate in any experience, from anywhere, and at any time. Creators and artists can be free from the centralization of resources and tools, ultimately being able to make a living doing what they love.
While these visions are beautiful and surely desirable, they are at the same time myopic, as they conveniently rid technology of its custodial nature.
Your Roblox avatar, Fortnite character, digital garments, or even your NFT might be extensions of who you are, but unlike your identity, your ownership of these digital artifacts is neither absolute nor fully protected. For the most part, these creations, and effectively their displays in your Metaverse, remain proprietary to their respective developers.
A recent example that questions this frail sense of ownership is an experiment carried out by Moxie Marlinspike, former CEO of the privacy-first messaging app, Signal. In his experiment, Marlinspike created an NFT that shows different media depending on its viewers. While the NFT renders one image on OpenSea, it shows another on Rarible, and yet another in Marlinspike's wallet, but this time as a 💩 emoji.
This is possible because while NFTs encode receipts of your ownership on the blockchain, the associated assets are often stored on virtual private servers. This means that what is yours might not always be at your disposal.
OpenSea later removed Marlinspike’s NFT. After which, his "non-custodial" wallet started to return “304 No Content” for the query of the NFT owned by his address. Marlinspike's creation virtually lost its existence while its “proof of life” remains locked away on the blockchain.
In dissociating themselves from “walled garden” platforms that trap their users’ data, Metaverse leaders point to interoperability as a potential triumph for freedom. With interoperable technology, Metaverse users are free to move their avatars, goods, and currencies between worlds, creating a continuous and persistent allure.
While interoperability is undoubtedly critical to digital sovereignty, it is hardly an altruistic development. On a macro level, it eerily resembles a concerted effort between platforms to entrap their users by giving them an illusion of choice. Interoperability might give us the freedom of moving between worlds of the Metaverse, but it might come at the cost of keeping us in it entirely.
Not only are extrinsic virtual artifacts kept within this enhanced reality, something as intrinsic as our behavioral, psychological, and biological data can also be held in custody in the Metaverse. Data entrapment, trafficking, and exploitation further personalize our virtual experiences, provide us with relevant content, and heighten our sense of control as our agency diminishes.
This is the vicious cycle that “custody” in the guise of “freedom” begets: the more we give, the more of ourselves we indulge, and as a result, the more reliant we become to the system that holds us hostage.
The very first step to try breaking this cycle is perhaps an acknowledgment of this implicit bargain: technology that promises freedom asks custody in return. Be it the custody of our attention, our engagement, our data, or one day, our reality.
In the Metaverse, freedom isn’t granted but fought for, so it is our civic duty to move privacy and governance beyond the fine print. We need to treat any form of data entrapment and trafficking as a threat, not an opportunity. We should ask not only for interoperability but also for proprietary-free portability and the ability to meaningfully export our virtual data. Last but not least, we should solicit early and preventative regulations that enforce safe and non-surveilled spaces in our ever-intruding realm of immersive reality.
3. Money and Power
On May 8th, 2021, Tony Herrera, an immigrant activist, and crypto investor, tweeted a disheartening message:
Am I the only one that is getting upset at seeing that the lowest priced Meebits are all brown and dark-skinned?— Non-FungibleTony (NFT) (@tonyherrera) May 8, 2021
Who's down to help me with a MeebitsDAO that would purchase the most brown and dark-skinned #Meebits?
Retweet and DM me.
Echoing Herrera’s sentiment are reports of price disparity based on race, gender, and skin colors among the famous NFT collection, CryptoPunks. According to DeGenData, a company that keeps data of CryptoPunks sales, the average weekly minimum sale price of darker-skinned CryptoPunks has been below that of lighter-skinned Punks. It also reveals female Punks being priced lower than their male peers.
When asked to comment about this difference, John Watkinson—the co-founder of Larva Labs, the company behind CryptoPunks—shared in dismay, “Unfortunately, as the market is purely decentralized, we have no levers at our disposal to directly affect it.”
Watkinson’s answer is both diagnostic and prognostic. On one hand, it rightfully attributes NFTs’ discriminatory pricing to the lack of diversity among its participants. On the other hand, in pleading to have “no levers” of course correcting the market, Watkinson foretells something that seems a matter of fact:
Despite many advancements in technology, power in the Metaverse—by extension representation and valuation—remains inextricably tied to those with incumbent money and wealth in the material world.
In merely replicating today’s unjust structure, the Metaverse’s economy risks mutating and scaling existing socio-economic issues into virtual spaces that—for the most part—are decentralized, unregulated, and lack consumer protection.
An early sign of this diversion can be observed in the classism within Fortnite, a game platform with many elements of the Metaverse’s fullest vision. Fortnite is a video game that allows players to go into combat, explore, hang out, and inhabit the virtual world with their friends. While the game is free to play, players are only given a set of free default skins to start. To upgrade their look, gamers need to purchase in-game skins.
In an investigative story by journalist Patricia Hernandez, Fortnite players who couldn’t afford to upgrade their looks are reportedly being insulted as “the defaults” and becoming targets of bullying. In the game, “defaults” are often ridiculed and humiliated. The recording of this harassment can then be uploaded to YouTube which gathers a tremendous number of views, harvesting even more hateful comments. Outside the game, kids are being beaten up by classmates for showing up to combat with default skins and having fewer wins.
Fueling this rise of classism in the Metaverse is an ever-increasing injection of bespoke and ostentatious assets from luxury brands like Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and Moschino. As more status symbols become available for purchase in the Metaverse, they provide those with means even more opportunities to assume power at the expense of others’ participation.
In the Metaverse, consumers (or players) are not only passive participants but also active contributors to its richness and beauty. In conflating superficialities with quality, buying with participation, and money with power, the Metaverse might end up removing the very people and communities that make it a novel endeavor in the first place.
When making and spending money becomes the “be all and end all” form of participation in the Metaverse, it will be poised to create systems of exploitation. An exemplary system in question is the concept of play-to-earn which has gotten controversial attention through the success of Axie Infinity.
Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based game in which players pit Pokemon-like NFT creatures (called Axies) against each other in battles. The two in-game tokens—Smooth Love Potions (S.L.P.) and Axie Infinity Shards (A.X.S.)—which players earn either via battling or breeding Axies can be exchanged into Ethereum, a cryptocurrency, or cashed out into local currencies.
During the summer of 2021, most notably in the Philippines and Venezuela, Axie Infinity has become a lucrative alternative to work with full-time gamers making as much as $1000 per month. While there are encouraging stories of how the game has uplifted the lives of players who were financially affected by COVID, its economy is neither completely virtuous nor sustainable.
To get started with the game, a new player has to pay around $1000 to acquire 3 Axies. This is an incredible amount of money considering the entry price of other mobile games and the Global South economy where the game has taken off. Michal K, a crypto specialist, argued that the main reason most players pay this much upfront is that they intend to make the money back through playing.
In practice, this means that old players make money from selling SLPs and Axies to new players who seek future profit from their following class of players. This game economy arguably models that of a pyramid scheme where uplines profit off of their downlines. Similarly, this economy works as long as there is an influx of new users being lured into the game by friends and media, with the promise of making a living through playing. For now, the sustainability and ethical question of Axie Infinity remains an unsolved challenge for its founders while the play-to-earn promise continues to recruit more desperate downlines into its engrossing market.
However this microscopic version of a Metaverse economy ends, the ultimate victim will not be the power who creates the system or those with means who proliferate it. If and when it crashes, it will be the Filipino who quit their job or the Venezualuan who bet on their family’s wealth that will suffer from this power-rigged ploy that was sold to them as an economic play.
The market forces and power structures that exacerbate inequalities in our world will continue to do just that in the Metaverse. If the utopian promise of the Metaverse were to hold any merit, it would need to radically rethink and redesign the relationship between money and power. Instead of seeing the Metaverse as an emerging market to exploit, it is worth thinking about it as an avenue for economic reparations and experimentation.
The wholesome tradition of “caffè sospeso” in Naples, Italy comes to mind as an interesting prompt. A “caffè sospeso” is an extra cup of coffee that someone who had experienced good fortune would pay and reserve for any stranger in need who might enquire about it later. A simple form of charity, yet a powerful act of community solidarity, “caffè sospeso” acknowledges the social and economic differences, inherent to capitalism, that need to be bridged with intention.
A question for Metaverse leaders could be: how might we build the mechanic of “caffè sospeso” in the Metaverse? What does a scalable universal basic income look like in the Metaverse? In what ways can we proximate power with new forms of participation? And in what ways can we repair, replace, and not replicate the ghost of our economy’s past?
4. Abundance and Scarcity
Part of what makes Metaverse discourse seem enigmatic and hard to grasp is the discrepancy between its boasted ideologies and implicit practices. This dissonance can be seen vividly in how the concept of abundance and scarcity flip-flop in the Metaverse.
“Instead of designing technology that fosters and cultivates communal behaviors of trust, we will design technology that assumes scarcity and cultivates selfishness.”
— Xiaowei Wang, Blockchain Chicken Farm and Other Stories of Tech in China's Countryside.
Consider NFTs (non-fungible-tokens), a technology that enables a decentralized system of verified provenance and ownership of digital artworks. This system is believed to create an abundance of opportunities for digital artists to make a living, fans to earn dividends through fractional ownership, and companies to innovate through new forms of products or services.
Yat Siu, the founder of the venture capital firm behind flagship Metaverse projects like Dapper Labs, Decentraland, and OpenSea, compares NFT’s significance to that of the legal establishment of property rights. In a recent article, he wrote: “Like classic capitalism, this ownership encourages innovation through, entrepreneurship, and risk-taking but unlike classic capitalism, the outcome benefits all participant stakeholders.”
Incongruent to this aspiring conviction is a rather worrisome development of NFTs in the past year. Digital artworks are being stolen by crypto grifters to create fraudulent NFTs and to monetize someone else’s creation. NFTs are also being minted out of physical artworks and sold with no involvement of the artists. So despite its art-led debut to the mainstream, digital ownership today is ironically promoting a world where scams, hacks, and quick-rich schemes are abundant while creativity runs scarce.
Today’s crypto-art values lie in speculative rewards which are often benchmarked by mainstream success. High-speed, speculative consumption can, therefore, unintentionally corner creators into echoing and riffing off hyped and validated aesthetics (reads pixelated, cartoonish, RGB colorwave) in search of market rewards.
Since it is not just originality, but also the number of attributes that increase NFT prices, successful NFT collectives are also more incentivized to prioritize creating variations of the same. And as “artistry” in the Metaverse becomes further deconstructed, algorithmically produced, and commodified into lines of code or lists of attributes, it pushes itself towards sameness and depletes its world of creative quality.
Speculative consumption and hype-induced participation can also pressure the novices into following and lead to the overall diminishment of the technology’s meaning. Throughout 2021, media frequently churned out headlines announcing Metaverse’s “groundbreaking collaborations” or head-turning numbers. Sentiments like “Brand X enters the Metaverse with a collection of NFTs that were sold out in minutes,” or “NFT startup Y gets a large funding to redefine the future of category Z,” are not hard to come by.
While this type of news signals momentum, it leaves readers without much to make of it. Is brand X now innovative because it launched a Roblox collection? Are NFTs so objectively good that their mere association warrants tremendous pricing? Does selling out in minutes equate to authentic demand and approval of the mass? Answers to these questions remain subjective to those who believe in the hype, those who don’t, and those who would be financially rewarded by making others believe.
What these befuddling developments have in common is their underlying bait-and-switch practice. Abundance is conveniently used to bait participation and adoption, while tech-enabled scarcity incentivizes extraction, depletes originality, and consolidates wealth.
As we navigate the treacherous paths of ownership, provenance, rewards, and royalties in the Metaverse, it is important that we stay sober and vigilant. Ask critically of pioneers to do away with technological jargon and abbreviations that shield predatory scams. Interrogate our own motives when participating in hype-induced trades. Expose quick rich schemes and syndicated demands that devoid us of creativity. And perhaps what's most important is to inquire about what is socially and philosophically scarce and what is but an economic instrument to create demand-pull inflation.
5. Redemption and Condemnation
As with the advancement of novel technologies like Big Data, or AI, the Metaverse lends itself into reality through the premise of redemption. A chance for humans to solve our utmost problems and course correct our future with the help of advanced technologies. Among the many redeeming opportunities in question, curbing fashion’s climate and social impact is often associated with one of the Metaverse's hottest developments: digital fashion.
In its simplest form, digital fashion encompasses the production, distribution, transaction, and dressing of garments and accessories that only exist in the virtual world. By its virtue of being digital-only, digital fashion enables its consumers to express themselves beyond the bounds of physicalities. Not only is digital fashion loved for its norm-defying nature, but it is also hypothesized to reduce the need for overconsumption, cut down on carbon emission, and be an alternative to fast fashion.
While it is motivating to think about new and potentially redeeming avenues of expression, it is equally important that we investigate lofty claims and headlines that glamorize techno-optimism, erase nuances, and neglect to consider unintended consequences.
Digital fashion’s touted ability to reduce fast fashion hinges on the analysis that if consumers can express themselves digitally without harming the planet, they would be willing to do so. Given the emerging market of “snap and send back” in which people buy clothes just to produce “fit pics” to post on social media and then return them, digital fashion has both a business and a moral case.
While not entirely unfounded, this analysis neglects to take into consideration that pricing and affordability remain the key reasons why “woke” consumers purchase fast fashion. Given the considerable price range and the digital-only utility of virtual garments, the shift from fast fashion to digital might not be as “no-brainer” as some believe it to be.
The fantasy-imbued digital fashion field—consisting of digital avatars—should draw important discussions around body dysmorphia. With the expansion of the identity expression arena, it is ever more critical that fashion in the Metaverse recognizes the interplay between intrinsic and manufactured aspiration. While the Metaverse provides us with opportunities to escape physical norms, it simultaneously benchmarks new and—albeit dreamlike—unrealistic virtual expectations. These new expectations risk pushing desirability beyond one's ability to reconcile with their physical reality; condemning future Metaverse citizens to digital identity dysmorphia.
In promoting redeeming promises of new technology, it is imperative for builders and participants to also consider the implicit failure of progress. Or as the French philosopher Paul Virilio puts in 1997’s Open Sky,
“Unless we are deliberately forgetting the invention of the shipwreck in the invention of the ship or the rail accident in the advent of the train, we need to examine the hidden face of new technologies, before that face reveals itself in spite of us.”
Another tension of digital fashion, and the Metaverse at large, is the electric waste inherited in the technology of blockchains: the protocol that underlies social and commercial interactions in the Metaverse. From minting NFTs and instituting DAOs, to paying for your digital outfits, most decentralized forms of participation in the Metaverse need to be validated through the energy-intensive “Proof of Work” system. In layman terms, “Proof of Work” asks a network of computers to compete and solve a puzzle to verify a transaction prior to its addition to the blockchain. For context, the Ethereum blockchain uses as much electricity as the entire country of Libya.
The public pressure on the waste of “Proof of Work” has been countered by Crypto enthusiasts and Metaverse technologists by pointing to the emergence of Proof of Stake. According to Alex de Vries, founder of the cryptocurrency analysis site Digiconomist, "energy consumption would become negligible," if Ethereum were to switch to a full “Proof of Stake” system. Arguably a positive development, yet, this rebuttal brings to mind a historical lesson:
After members of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) proclaimed an embargo on petroleum export to the United States in 1973, gasoline prices quadrupled. As a response, American car companies embarked on a journey of redesigning and reengineering their vehicles to achieve fuel efficiency. By 1980, the average passenger vehicle was 50% more efficient, and airplanes, 40% more.
As Hope Jahren puts in her book, ‘Story of More’, “Americans could have remained one-car families and continued to shop locally and fly sparingly, and our total energy use would have decreased over the next several decades as engineering further enhanced the efficiency of our motor vehicles.”
This was not the chosen route. Instead, as fuel efficiency improves, Americans continue to buy more cars, drive further distances, take even more flights, and travel twice as far by car each year as they did in 1970.
The story of fuel efficiency that encourages even more driving should serve as a cautionary tale. Technical improvement alone cannot redeem humanity from problems that are fundamentally created by us.
The Ethereum chain might one day become superbly energy-efficient and digital fashion might replace much of physical production, yet the threat of future accidents and diversions will surely await us there, should we ignore its warning signs.
As we rightfully indulge ourselves with hopes and promising endeavors, let’s not dismiss early signs of problems and genuinely engage with critics as well as skeptics. If we truly seek to redeem ourselves and our world, it is crucial that we condemn ourselves of past mistakes and realize the human flaws embedded in the codes and systems we build to solve our human problems. If we fail this endeavor, the Metaverse risks becoming an extension of, rather than the solution to, the broken world we seek to restore.
This essay seeks to place Earthly constraints against something that seems mighty and boundless. Brawling between future promises and historical telltales. Asserting a sense of agency into something that both embodies and entraps the self.
Most of all, it ends with a realization that the Metaverse is but a manifestation of collective imagination, popularized through mass-indoctrination, heightened with hopes of redemption, and already led by those who promise us a better future in seeking custody of it.
This cognizance brings a new conviction. An empowering belief that despite its seeming complexity and barriers, the Metaverse is socially constructed rather than naturally occurring; neither inevitable nor untouchable. The Metaverse is a work-in-progress human fantasy in which all humans have the power to change its course if we choose to critically and intentionally engage with it.
This essay is not a bystanding critic of the Metaverse but a plea for confrontation and participation. Should you choose to contemplate how the Metaverse can deviate from the current trajectory, I invite you to read and challenge, demystify and debunk, agree, and disagree with the five pointers that will guide my participation in the Metaverse:
1. Use The Metaverse to Prototype Radical Systemic Solutions
Rather than seeing virtual worlds as new territories to be conquered and exploited, we can lean on the Metaverse's simulation power to model radical social and political solutions to our rooted, systemic challenges.
2. Demand a Privacy-First, Interoperable, and Portable Metaverse
Freedom of expression, mobility, and connection shouldn't come at the cost of data custody. The Metaverse experience should be free of proprietary formatted assets and allow for seamless data migration, download, and deletion.
3. Prioritize Economic Reparations and Level the Playing Field in the Metaverse
Incumbent power and wealth will most likely continue to control the Metaverse. Builders and community leaders should think about economic mechanisms and policies that favor and put power in those who have always been excluded from the traditional economy.
4. Expose Quick Rich Schemes and Reject Predatory Artificial Scarcity
Pioneers and technically-inclined participants should remove Metaverse jargon that excludes and exploits novice consumers. Vigilantly interrogate each others’ motives and unintended consequences when participating in hype-induced trades, creations, and investments.
5. Address Early Signs of Tech Diversion and Recognize Our Roles in Them
Nascent technologies will always ask to be forgiven of early defects. Metaverse participants and builders should actively criticize any form of early tech diversion to stop it from metastasizing. To redeem our world, we need to confront our wrongdoing and not depend on technologies to solve our humanly founded problems.
We are living in and telling the tale of two Metaverses.
One Metaverse that is on its way to replicate what it pits against. Another with a potential to change old structures, instill new power dynamics, bring about freedom, creativity, abundance, and just maybe, a chance to right our wrongs.
In this juncture of developing a world beyond, we can act now with the hope to build a Metaverse of our choosing. Or we can submit to inaction and risk being built into a part of this capitalist-imposed, persistent, immersive, boundless, and “unskippable” reality.
This essay is the third edition of Method of Elenchus. Viet’s long-form essay newsletter offers new ways of looking at culture, business, design, and technology.
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