How Virtual Reality Advances the Mystic Quest

Virtual Reality (VR) technology offers a tool for the spiritual journey. A headset with-hands-control like the Oculus Quest (Facebook) can provide valuable personal feedback. Applying VR to mystical awareness, however, requires more than playing video games or plunging into immersive experiences. Some practical steps are needed to obtain meditative results. The right mindful procedures can create a meta game that deepens VR experience so that it illuminates the primary world. A session in VR Quest can provide aerobic exercises like virtual racketball, table tennis, or the dance club. Immersion can make a person sweat and feel physically more alive. But on a meta-level, such activities can also produce the VR zombie, someone who takes the virtual world at “face value,” as a substitute for conventional activities. A more mindful approach can deploy the gear for the mystic quest. This talk focuses on procedures for enhancing our being-in the-world through VR. The approach derives from Existential Phenomenology. It aims specifically at awareness of “worldhood” (Heidegger’s “Bewandtnis Zusammenhang”). Entering into and engaging multiple virtual worlds can raise awareness to a meta level, providing a feeling of what it means to be “in a world as such.” Similar to lucid dreaming, the awareness of being-in-a world intensifies mindful personal presence. Such awareness goes beyond acknowledging a “multiverse” and focuses on fuller presence in the primary world. The talk describes how 21st century VR can advance the mystic quest.

Cast

Michael R. Heim
Speaker

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