Another world

These last few days I’ve been focused on putting together a kind of “what if” demo. As in “what if such and such technology, currently beyond our reach, actually existed?”

When I do something like this, a lot of it is smoke and mirrors. After all, I am showing something that can’t really exist right now. But then a funny thing starts to happen.

After all, this other world that I’m conjuring up with my demo makes perfect sense, even if it can’t actually be fully realized in 2011. So a part of my mind accepts that alternate world as real. It’s not that I literally believe it to be real, but rather that I emotionally accept it.

I’ve come to see my emotional suspension of disbelief as a necessary condition for giving a successful “what if” demo. It’s like any theatrical performance. The actor on stage knows he is not Hamlet, and yet a part of him must accept the emotional reality of the Prince of Denmark and the dark choices he faces.

How wonderful it is that we have this ability to maintain multiple realities in our heads at the same time. And that sometimes — when everything is working right — we can invite others to come along with us into another world.

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