Black Mirror 'Playtest' and Realism
Playtest from Black Mirror showed us the grotesque side of virtual reality which is fast taking over in the field of gaming and other such affiliated industries. We see the main character Cooper who is short on cash sign up for the latest virtual reality gaming program for a company which is to show its latest model which they have been working on. Cooper is asked not to switch on his phone which he does anyway and prepares to take the test. It is a horror test in virtual reality where he must stay in a mansion as his mind creates fear for him and he adapts to it. We see a spider with the face of his high school bully and him being assaulted by the girl he went on a date with. Cooper says enough is enough and ends the trail only to see he never left the room in the first place. Cooper returns home to his mother who is acting paranoid and we see that Cooper never left the initial room he was taken to, he suffered an aneurysm which was caused by his cell phone network interference which was switched on and he died from an electric overload. The governor of the test said he lasted only 0.4 milliseconds before the cellphone interrupted him causing his death. The entire idea that all that transpired happened in 0.4 milliseconds shows how much there is a difference between real and reality. The real is something we believe to be real whereas the reality of it is completely different. We have been clouded by an idea of what we believe is real. We see how Cooper in those bare milliseconds saw and entire days panned out and believed he was home and away from the playtest, however that was not real, the reality was that he had never left his initial room. We see how convoluted this becomes when we try to unravel the ideas of real and reality. Plato the ever pessimist or perhaps a staunch realist would argue that ideas like the playtest or any form of literary work or dramas would stray us away from reality. It would be an illusion like the ones Cooper saw. There does exist a rational world however the arts and dramas take that away from us and creates a false perception of emotions which can never be taken into an account of reality. The world that we perceive with our physical sense is an illusion or reproduction of an ideal world which we have created on our own. Like in the Matrix we see these very ideas govern the entire cast of characters involved in the movie. However, Plato's very student Aristotle did not believe in what his master had taught him. Aristotle did not think art forms are just imitations or reproductions of our nature. While Plato believed the world is static in nature, Aristotle believed that the reality is ever changing and art helps bring out that reality in forms other than rationality. Aristotle believes that art when created is not just a mere imitation but also creations of the artist's ability. In Playtest when Cooper was trapped in that house it was his mentality which created the perceptions around him, the entire meeting with the CEO, living in the haunted house, the spider, the bully, the girl; they all added to elements of his realism and a part of the real he was living in. There was a belief among the Chinese about the necessity of art having emotions or it would just be blatant carbon copies. We know how well Plato hated art and aesthetics for the idea he developed about how everything in our world are copies of forms that exist in ideal realms and because they are copies they are inferior in nature. The fact that whatever Cooper saw was not real yet it was the reality he had been conditioned in, we as an audience had been conditioned in. The element of real exists however it is also a mere representation of reality which Plato considers is dangerous. However Aristotle differs here by claiming that even these perceptions are fragments of our reality. A painting is not real however what it tries to capture is. Similarly any art form is not real and they try to imitate the objects in question laid before them. This fine line between real and reality is the speck of everything. Nothing is real, yet there may exist perceived copies of said reality which syntaxes and governs our ideas. Aristotle believed form only existed in concrete examples of that form and not in some eternal ideal abstraction. Aristotle was interested in observing specific phenomena and deducting from it what governs it and how it behaves.The Matrix which is a virtual reality stimulation much like what we saw in Playtest. The reality the Matrix has to offer is not real but rather a reality which is offered by advanced 21st Century computer beings, Plato and Aristotle would try to debate such a spectacle. Plato would immediately believe in the idea of the matrix and work on how it coincides with his theory of humanism, however Aristotle would contradict this by trying to bring out a more rational understanding of the Matrix and the code of laws which govern the Matrix.