Facebook recently changed its name to “Meta” in anticipation of the increasing fusion between the “real” world and the virtual world. This fusion is the result of the capabilities offered by ever increasing speeds of internet connection, from text and images (3G) to video (4G) to an increasingly enhanced reality, or “augmented reality” (5G). You may find this exciting, or you may find it terrifying. Regardless of your feelings, this global transformation is already underway. Back in 2014 Mark Zuckerberg anticipated this shift when he bought the Virtual Reality company Oculus, saying “One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.”
I’ve been writing about this for many years (there is a whole category of articles on this blog called Future Shock) – the idea of the Singularity, that at some point humanity and technology will merge – is a fascinating one and very much tied into the idea of Aquarius. Aquarius is not the “peace, love and understanding” referred to in the musical “Hair.” Aquarius is ruled traditionally by Saturn, planet of control and structure, and its modern transformational ruler is Uranus. Uranus, like Saturn, can be cold and dispassionate but unlike Saturn’s penchant for rules, Uranus seeks to break free of restrictions in order to develop new paradigms. Aquarius, therefore, marks the boundary between the structure that holds human society together, and the need to break through antiquated social structures to change with the times.
Uranus also governs modern technology, which after all did not really begin until after its discovery date of 1781. Although Ben Franklin had “discovered” electricity in 1752, there was no way to really utilize it until the early 1800s. Meanwhile, though, the cotton gin was invented in 1794, the first of modern technology to kick start the industrial revolution. The early 1800s witnessed a large number of new inventions, another hallmark of Uranus and a facet of this breaking out of old paradigms to do things in a new way.
The blurring of the boundaries between the “real” world and the virtual really culminated in 2020-2021 under the pandemic; suddenly our virtual lives became as real as our “real” lives. Facebook groups, Facebook live – all of these things were critical to our emotional survival as we struggled to hold on to some kind of connection with others in the midst of quarantine. Up until now, attempts to institute the Metaverse have largely failed: Second Life, the simulated virtual reality, never really caught on in the mainstream. Virtual reality headsets and experiences remained an anomaly rather than a dominating force in the culture. But Facebook is betting on the idea that this will soon change.
Terence McKenna described human development as a series of events that repeat each other in multiple dimensions with an end point. Wikipedia calls this “a succession of historical periods which are “compressed” versions of each other” and states that “[McKenna] describes an overall acceleration of human cultural development, which he likens to a “tightening spiral” approaching what he describes as the “transcendental object of the universe.” The end point, or “singularity,” occurs when the rate of development becomes infinitely rapid.” Futurists predict that this will occur some time around 2040, which coincides with the end of Pluto’s passage through Aquarius and the opposition from Uranus in Leo to Pluto.
Uranus cycles over the past 60 years seem to have kickstarted the shift from the Age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius (see this article for more on when the Age of Aquarius begins). The conjunction of Uranus to Pluto in the 1960s, the conjunction of Uranus to Neptune in the 1990s – these were major times of accelerated change. Saturn and Jupiter have been in Aquarius all year, and Saturn has been in a challenging square to Uranus at the same time. The duality of Aquarius – control vs liberating change – has never been so predominant, and that will only increase when Pluto enters Aquarius in March of 2023.
We are being pushed through the birth canal whether we like it or not, and the Metaverse is waiting there for us.
Noooo! Have you read Samuel Sagan’s novels, specifically the one taking place in the future? Can’t recall the title.
This fusion of “real” and “enhanced” versions of life is really hard for me. I was born in 1949. Right there I have limitations, I have to admit that. From my observation of people so far with the breakthroughs in technology it appear we can’t handle most of it. Again, it is alot different from my perspective than a twenty year olds,but I view the intense dependency on social media and media, TV, news shows, to be contributing to a society where people don’t think for themselves and are lost to themselves.Distraction, fantasy and living vicariously has gutted an inner connection to purpose and love of life(i.e. the natural world.) that I thought were indispensable to survival especially during intense down times.
Zuckerberg changed his brand because he had to. Facebook can no longer be trusted. I doubt anything will fundamentally and ethically change with a sweeping name change.
How does this fusion make the world a better place in which to live with hope, heart and clarity?
It would be interesting to see how this topic will evolve in relation with the challenge of climate change.
Aquarius is very dry, and under Saturn’s rulership it is also cold which suggests drought. Neptune is in Pisces until I think 2025 when it goes into Aries, dry and fiery. So heat and drought is certainly likely. And Pluto going into Pisces in 2043 begins the water wars. Think Starhawk’s book “The Fifth Sacred Thing” which I wrote about a couple of years ago (link).