Dear reader,

I would like to experiment a new way today, talking with you in shape of a friendly letter.

Usually, it is the reader who writes to the editor; today, we will reverse roles: not ‘Letter TO the editor, but Letter FROM the editor !’

I thought about this way of writing, after reading, in the past few days, a poem entitled ‘Virtual Reality or Real Virtuality’ by Dahlia Tera, posted in ‘English & More’ section of Nepalnamcha.

This title intrigued me and somehow brought me home. I was thinking my daughter, already teenager, and her mobile phone ‘friend’, talking, watching, dancing, singing, meeting her classmates and teachers in this ‘virtual reality’; and I was thinking my little son, still a baby of not even two years, but already able to use the keys of my mobile phone with dexterity and any case naturally attracted to this too ! New generation … ! called ‘digital native.’

This ‘virtual reality’ which our kids have easy access to and that they use with such self-confidence, scares me; but we must not halt at the fear of ‘bad things’ ,of ‘social addiction.’ We have to search to understand, to balance judgements.

Despite many obstacles and problems, progress does not stop our ‘reality’, is not longer that of the caveman.

He carved stones and drew on the walls of the cave with burnt coal mixed with the ground, about 10000 years ago. Then, very later, about 3000 years ago, came the Egyptian pharaohs with their hieroglyphics on papyrus too.

The earliest manuscripts of Tibetan monasteries date back, those of Dunhuang, 5th and 11th century after Christ.

What will the human beings say in 3000 years when they will find our today mobile phones, our tablets, our laptops, our digital clocks ?

How far there is between the reality of the caves and ours, this reality which today is also becoming virtual !

All the great advances have brought some trouble and fear: people at the end of the 19th century compared the train to a ferocious beast and ran away !

But let’s back to virtuality and reality !

Writers are well aware of this duality when they create their stories. If they are good, it is not difficult to get carried away in a virtual reality; and good filmmakers do the same. You identify with the character and you enter in a new ‘reality’ that has been created. So, what is the difference with our digital ‘virtual reality’ or , as Dahlia said in her poem, joking with the words, ‘ real virtuality’ ?

Maybe the difference is in the ways of access that we are not fully capable of controlling. And the world that has been created with the new technologies is so ‘perfect’ with 3D, digital viewers and others, that reality and virtuality appear completely mixed and confused.

But, as in all things, it is the man who uses them: it is therefore he who can make good or wrong use of it.

I think today our reality needs also this technological ‘virtuality’; it is an enrichment for it. For example, in medical field, where surgical interventions are performed remotely; for example, especially in this pandemic time, how much it is important for our young people, to go on with school and lessons, with learning even ‘in virtually’, through computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones and all these unbelievable connections as WIFI, Wireless, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok… knowing anyway they are not completely in our hands.

And also for many people working now on ‘web platforms’ from home, especially created in the field of information, of journalism or more ‘real’ in the field of food, ‘virtually’ cooking the best dishes !

And welcome ‘virtuality’ becoming ‘reality’ when, abolishing distances, it allows you to feel even inside your heart, to see with your eyes, to be touched and excited, to live here and there even in a screen, enriching your daily material reality, becoming another reality but in your reality, anyway a puzzle piece of your life !

It won’t be dangerous if we know to keep our feet on the ground without giving up with all the potential of progress.

The locomotive was not a ferocious beast !

REALITY – VIRTUALITY, The use we have made of these two terms in this letter, says a lot about their imbrication, their symbiosis.

Reality and virtuality, both have pros and cons, as everything, as progress too.

It is ‘WE’, who must adapt to the techniques to take advantage of one and the other, with balance and sense of responsibility.

Nothing new for you maybe, dear reader, (I am not a ‘virtual reality’ or ‘real virtuality’ specialist !); just some reflections in this difficult time, when we have anyway to experience and practice all kinds of creativity.

A positive aspect of this dreadful and destroying pandemic made us understand that ‘virtuality’ and ‘reality’ start and arrive one, from and to the other, because both are construction and responsibility of the human being.

Thank you, dear Nepalnamcha reader, for the kindness and patience of having read me.

Looking forward to talking with you soon.

Yours friendly

Ashok Silwal

Editor Silwal in white t-shirt.

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