Imagine If You Will…

Imagine if you will…

Our lives were laid out like a video game with skills, hit points, and quests.

This is a strange and weirdly hypothetical question, but I’ve always enjoyed the implications of it. When I partake in a new video game, I’ve always enjoyed learning the leveling process and how unlocking certain perks and leveling skills will propel me forward later in the game. But what if our lives were definitively like a video game? We spend the first 18 years of our existence in a long, drawn out tutorial. As soon as we’ve finished the tutorial, we jump right into the full game in different ways. Some of us choose to study and learn to gain a new profession or skillset. Others jump right out into the world, instead focusing on hobbies or home skills rather than a professional life. Regardless of our decisions, we all juggle different aspects of a video game world. Some seek romance, others seek a job, others seek enjoyment out of activities, and some do all three. There’s no limit in this open world game, and everybody is free to make those decisions (assuming we’re talking about just the United States in this case). But what if we could see our hit points above our heads? What if living was like being a player in Ernest Cline’s world of Ready Player One? Every time we got better at something, a little song played and we instantly were able to do different things like in Sims? How different would our lives be?

Imagine if you will…

Everybody was able to understand and communicate with animals.

One of the largest struggles zookeepers, animal researchers and students, and pet owners goes through on a daily basis is trying to understand what our animals want, need, and feel. Some animals are able to give distinguishable clues and visual/audible hints to what they’re feeling or want, but the inexorable need to have actual communication would help alleviate all of the problems that animal lovers have had to learn to overcome. I cannot begin to explain the number of times our dog will stand there and whine at us after she’s been fed, let outside, pet, and played with, and we cannot figure out what it is she needs or wants. We’ve seen videos of animals in distress at the zoo or out in the wild, and zookeepers or animal scientists in the field can’t figure out what the animal needs to be happy. When I was younger, I used to talk to my dog about my day or just have conversations with her about the people in my life or how I was feeling. Imagine if she could understand me and respond in kind. The connections we have with our animals would grow exponentially. On the other hand, their inability to speak might be one of the deterrents to unhealthy relationships with our pets. If our pets could talk, perhaps we wouldn’t like their personalities and want to be rid of them. We’ll never know, but the ideas of it are fascinating.

Imagine if you will…

Super speed becomes a reality.

I get asked the question regarding superpowers at least once a week by somebody. Would you rather have super strength or super speed? I know this answer varies for many people (almost everybody I know always picks strength), but for me, it has always been the same: Speed. Why? I moved eight hours away from my family to be with the love of my life. I miss my family dearly, and even though Covid-19 has stifled my ability to travel down there and see them, the biggest obstacle has always been the affordability of time and travel to go see them. But what if I could just pop down there for an afternoon to grab lunch and spend some time with them and still have enough time to be back before bed and ready for work the next day? What implications would exist because of this? I think some of the implications would be centered around the relativity of time. Our entire system of clocks and yearly life expectancies would change. Our bodies would heal faster, so life expectancy would sky rocket. The food industry would see a massive increase in productivity due to higher calorie output from the use of the speed. The way we tell time would become nigh irrelevant as our timetables and ability to do things would change. As a housekeeper at a hotel, you could clean every room in record time, thus defeating the need for a full shift. Our economic system would change; whether for good or bad is yet to be decided. Super speed could change the very fabric of our existence; literally and figuratively.

Imagine if you will…

Superheroes like Captain America, Superman, or Batman really existed.

We already vilify many people in our world for a variety of things. We chastise our politicians and government officials for the decisions they make. We get angry at athletes for speaking out on matters not related to their sport and/or we criticize them for their inadequacy or decisions on the field/court. Celebrities that don’t acknowledge fans or sent an offensive text to another person are berated with negativity. But let’s pretend that superheroes exist in our world, and they are consistently in the limelight for any number of reasons. Like we see in movies and comics, do a majority of the people accept and thank them for what they’ve done to protect us? Or do we cry foul and become angry at their actions, vilifying them to an extent where we don’t feel comfortable or safe with them out there? One thing I’ve constantly dwelled on is the thought put forward by Vision in Captain America: Civil War. He says, “Our very strength invites challenge. Challenge incites conflict.” Would the world really be in a better place if heroes like that existed? What kinds of challenges would arise if the existence of heroes was plausible? Given the current climate of our country, I almost feel like people would revolt and rise up against the superheroes in a petty attempt to overthrow them. People of a certain leaning would argue that their freedoms were being infringed upon and try to stop the heroes from doing what they do. We’d have too much chaos and relative anger to justify the need and existence of the superheroes. But damn it, wouldn’t it be cool to see Superman flying through the air?

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