Friday, January 9, 2015

9. Eden

The Extropian legal system allows for a virtually unrestricted art scene. Extropia contains 10 million of the most diverse minds in the solar system; whatever you make, odds are someone will be interested.

Eden is the latest piece by infamous neo-primate simulspace designer Rough-Hands. The simulspace environment simulates a placid garden with no natural dangers; it is itself uninteresting. The provocative aspect of the sim is that two "virtuals" (egos born into a simulspace, unaware of the outside world) inhabit the garden. Named Adam and Eve, they live in the equivalent of exalt morphs, with one important modification: heightened religiosity. They have developed an intuitive, pantheistic religion, in which everything is given meaning or purpose.

Rough-Hands presented the simulation as a simple dilemma. The virtuals can be expelled from the garden, but they are unprepared for the real world and would interpret this as a terrible fall from grace, or they can be left, happy but essentially ignorant and living in a lie.

The inclusion of real egos has made this controversial in a time and place where genuine controversy is rare. Rough-Hands has defended himself saying that although they were never asked to participate, their continued happiness (and they are very happy) constitutes passive consent.

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