O Lord, Augment My Reality

By Joel A. Hess

Pokémon Go is enjoying the last of its fifteen minutes of fame. But don’t worry, gamers. More similar, sophisticated, and exciting games are on their way. I’m looking forward to chasing down stars in my car as I play MarioKart Go.

Pokémon Go and similar games are grabbing people’s attention by employing what gamers call augmented reality. Augmented reality is exactly what the phrase says: “A live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” Yes, I grabbed that from Wiki. In the case of Pokémon Go, the players look in their iPhones and see reality as captured by their device but with the addition of a cartoonish Pokémon creature. You can even put your hand in front of your phone and appear to be touching the little monster. Like Mormon theology, it sounds pretty silly when you say it out loud.

Remember, the anime figurine appearing in the middle of I96 is not real. You might wonder why I would even have to point that out. Of course it isn’t real! Except, I’m not sure Americans these days actually understand the difference between reality and augmented reality. This is the result a long, deconstructed journey. For at least a hundred years, crafty philosophers, of which I once was one, suggested that all reality is a construction—artificially augmented. Our positions in society, our families, common morals, etc.  Some may even say our physical condition is a figment of imagination. Today, the masses have embraced this sophomoric fantasy and have come to believe that they can change reality in any way they desire. They even demand that you play along! Worse, our technology has allowed people to augment their reality, thus furthering their delusion! I wish I was only referring to those who believe they are not the same sex they see in the mirror. Increasingly, stories are filling our newsfeed of men and women who believe they are disabled, twenty years younger, a goat, vampire, and yes, soon you will read about some flunky who thinks he is a Pokémon.

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Even though you might scratch your head when you read such outlandish stories, how often have you seen things that weren’t there, chased after your own foolish fantasies, or tried to change reality to please yourself? Repent.

It is certainly not unusual for human beings to be dissatisfied with what they see. That is, with reality. We all are hounded by a spiritus mundi subconscious memory of Eden, of what could be. We are all strangled by our original, self-inflicted augmentation that wraps itself so tightly to our being that we might forget that it is an accidental quality and not our essence. I’m speaking of sin, the inward spiraling disposition that casts a shadow on all reality. We don’t need Nintendo. Our brains put things where they aren’t supposed to be quite well, thank you.

Satan was the first to augment reality when he changed the forbidden fruit into a delectable device to determine one’s own destiny. He convinced Adam and Eve to be dissatisfied with being human—to augment their reality, to be like God. Ironically, God had already made them in His own image!

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While the world wants to augment our reality, God demolishes our ridiculous illusion through the preaching of His Word. Like the most honest mirror, every Sunday, Jesus strips all the Pokémon away—the vain pride, the decorative rationalizations covering sins and scars; ecce homo. Then and only then, when we are naked and afraid, Christ augments our reality for sure. Though we look like poor miserable sinners, through the lens of Jesus Christ, through the technological device of the cross, all our shit is gone! All our sins removed! In Christ, we are more than augmented. We are exalted; we are resurrected!  And that’s no technological marvel. It’s no clever CGI. It’s no game. That’s reality. You are free. Go.

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