Is it possible for social and economic evolution to reach a stage where it is not necessary for people to understand much about the real world - where socially-approved fantasy worlds become more important than the real world?
Allow me to rephrase that introduction with a series of further questions.
Are we building fantasy worlds?
Are fantasy worlds our ultimate goal?
Will that leave us with fantasy players and fantasy managers?
And nobody else?
I think the answer to all of these questions may be yes with caveats. By automating agriculture and food production, by moving on to manufacturing, by adopting computer technology to deliver many key services, we have within our grasp a fantasy world where the exigencies of simple survival are held at bay and we are free to fantasize from cradle to grave.
This idea has been with me for years, as no doubt it has for many others, because we certainly put a lot of effort into fantasy. I don't just mean the electronic media, but the whole culture of allowing yourself to become a particular type of social construct sucking on the teat of the entertainment industry.
We are all social constructs of course, but we also have a degree of free will. What matters is how we use that free will - if at all. Which is one of the major points of course - free will is free - we don't have to use it.
But suppose you could enter a very convincing fantasy world - delivered electronically to your senses. A kind of online computer game with infinite possibilities all adjustable to your mood and general requirements.
Maybe it would be a little room installed in your house - about the size of a small sauna perhaps. The walls would be high definition screens and if would be equipped with surround sound and other sensory inputs, depending on the model you could afford.
It would be a place where you could lose yourself for an hour or two - rather like taking the Sunday newspaper to the toilet, but even more isolating from the real world.
Would you give it a go?
Or would you remain aloof?
Because surely it's bound to come.