A Synthetic Reality

This past week I was watching a reality TV show with high anticipation.  I normally don’t like reality TV but I knew one of the contestants.  I have previously viewed reality TV with a skeptical eye but what I learned this week has blown my previous conceptions of reality TV out of the water.

Since I was skeptical I was quickly turned off by what I saw on this “live” show.  It was hard to identify what it was about the show that made me think the reality was fabricated, but I got the impression that something was not right.  As the week progressed I heard bits and pieces of the story of what really happened from people who were there at the “live” show.  Everything I was hearing confirmed my initial thoughts about the show.

My wife was frustrated that I no longer wanted to watch the show because I really thought it was fake.  Even as she heard some of the stories from those that had been there, she was still interested in watching the show.  That was until someone shattered her perception of the show with one fact, the judges on the show received cue cards before the next act even took the stage.   This point was more shocking to her than when she heard that the judges were reading from a teleprompter.  When she watched one of the judges checkout a cue card to give the current performer a critique, she was disgusted.

How could they know how to critique a live act before they even watched them perform?  All of the details I continue to learn about the show reinforce for me that the producers are creating a synthetic reality.  They create stories that connect with our souls by taking parts of the most genuine pieces of our human nature, and everything we enjoy, and recreating it on stage.  Just like in a chemistry lab, different components are mixed together to give the desired outcome.  What you are left with looks and feels just like the real thing.

Now I am not against someone weaving a good tale when you know it is fiction.  I do take offense to someone who would decieve you into believing that what they created is something real.  Just as I was about to step off the roller-coaster of frustration I was experiencing about the show, I realized that the same exact thing was happening to our food.  It is hard to identify the issue by looking at the surface, but when you look behind the scenes it becomes obvious.

If you have a skeptical eye you may have already seen some subtle changes happening in our food, butter flavored food with no butter and guacamole with less than 2% avocado.  What can be seen on the surface only starts you down the rabbit hole of fake food, skepticism will only get you to part of the story.  To learn the full the full story you will need to dig, and dig deep.  Those creating this alternative reality are good at what they do.  They are working all the angles to give you a feel like you are experiencing the real thing, only to sell you a package with a false reality inside.  In some ways it is not unlike a good magic show.  You have to pay close attention to catch the trick and reveal the full reality of what you are actually seeing.

To overcome this false reality we will need to stop accepting foods “made with whole grain” and “made with extra virgin olive oil”, and actually start eating whole grains and extra virgin olive oil.  It takes just a little bit of training to start identifying the added colors that deceive the eye, added flavors that deceive the pallet, and marketing talk that convinces our minds that processed foods are beneficial for our bodies.

So as I need to step off of this roller-coaster for now, I leave you with one last question.  What is the next aspect of reality to be synthesized?  If we are not careful we will end up being offered something that tastes, looks, and feels like life…with only 1% real life added.