Monday, November 5, 2018

Virtual Reality and Relating to the Lives of Others

I feel that the virtual reality immersion was useful in being able to connect with the migrants. We
were able to see their lives as what they would actually experience; the footage was real and not
from a work of fiction.

However, I do believe that while virtual reality can help us better understand the experiences of
others, it will not yield a complete understanding. The glimpses of these people's lives were just
that: glimpses. The actual experience, and the emotional turmoil, can not be expressed through
any form of media. We can see how others feel more clearly with virtual reality, but for me at least,
simply watching was not enough. These people have left their homes behind, and have risked their
lives in doing so. Even if for a moment, we could understand how these people felt, it would not be
a constant factor of our lives, so it is difficult to understand the magnitude of what the migrants are
going through.

I do believe that it was a new way to experience the lives of other, and one that is worthwhile. It
allowed me to see these people, real people, as if I was in the same room as them, which was a
very powerful experience. I did value getting to use the virtual reality sets for its unique ability to
provide perspective differently than a film or novel.

1 comment:

  1. I respect and agree with your evaluation of VR as a valuable, but ultimately inadequate medium for empathy. I am curious, though; do you think there is a medium which completely and effectively allows for empathy? Can we ever hope to truly understand the lives of people far different from ourselves? I personally think that all attempts at complete understanding inevitably fall a bit short, simply because we are all different, have been subjected to vastly different things, and if we could actually achieve true empathy, the essence of humanity would be lost, since it is our fundamental differences that make us who we are. That isn't to say we shouldn't strive for understanding and work to build a sense of community; just that we shouldn't be discouraged when we find that we fail to wholly comprehend the nature of our fellow human beings.