We Are All Prisoners in the Pokéball
“If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.” — Tony Gaskins
Are we living someone else’s reality? Are we unwitting agents carrying out preordained minutiae? Are we supporting players in the divine cosmic array? These are questions as old as time. Our answers lay in wait all around.
The Pokémon are our dreamers. We are their dream.
Surely, by now, you’ve seen the wide-eyed joy on children of all ages; scouring your local CrossFit box or municipal park for invisible pseudo-creatures that can only be seen through smartphones. The swiping, the sprinting, the battery-draining scavenger hunt — the line between human, camera, satellite, fiction, pawn, robot, conqueror, reality, trainer, and the Very Best blurred into a homogeneous techno-stew anchored by Professor Willow and Pikachu. By colliding our worlds, we have transcended them.
And, yet, here we are — shackled to Earth. Reminded daily with rampant violence, racism, civil unrest, heartache, disease, poverty, starvation, Trumpeting, Brexit-ing and Evil Basketball Superteams that reality is oh so very real and fragile. Life is struggle. To ache is to know. It could all be meant to test us … that societal ills are diseases and it is our quest to catch ’em all. Earth is our pokéball. No one, not one of us mortal padwans, can see inside or overcome our unconsciousness— we can only be unleashed as weaponry against each other. We’re all pocket monsters lodged in someone else’s pocket. Yet, with Pokémon Go, it is now possible to imagine a life beyond the concrete limits of human perception, beyond the chains of Earthbound gravity. Immanuel Kant weeps. Atlas shrugs.
The Trainer, the God and Dr. Frankenstein that spins our universe apart in an ever-increasing expanse — whether Vishnu or Allah or Nintendo — has turned our focus inward, as we become more insular beings experiencing the wonders of all creation through HD LED display, while turning our attention outward, shining an NSA-monitored beacon on our precious surroundings. Finally, immersing oneself in the Great Outdoors and tuning out the real world are no longer mutually exclusive. They exist inside the overlap of a Venn, in a category previously hypothesized to only include peyote, psychedelic mushrooms and whatever the hell is happening at Electric Forest.
We’ve only begun down this road. We are but young, un-evolved monsters — easy on the eyes, highly malleable but infantile in our progression to becoming true agents of change in a boundless universe. The Google cars that drive themselves. The satellites that speed by Pluto. The endless mapping of all worlds — indoor and outdoor, arctic and equatorial — until the eyes in the sky have captured every nuance of beauty we could ever know. The world is small. Our might is smaller. But, goddammit, the Pokémon will rapidly shrink our environs and grow us in our power. And, hell, if we experience a (legal, for now) heretofore unrealized state of quest-driven euphoria on our way to becoming one with the vastness and soulfulness of the cosmos, bully for us.
We’ll wake up again tomorrow, next year, closer to inhabiting our existence fully as data and only nominally as human, our consciousness combined and enhanced into a super-reality, a breezy collective of knowledge, action, emotion, perception, animation and Google Maps. We’ll all be there, in one evolved form or another. Our dear leaders will cackle. Our children will giggle. When all is lost, all is known. We’ll be there, still — grounded, but armed with an Android — wandering and wondering if this is all that there is, when it’s never been so much more clear that there will always be so much more, if we choose to imagine, dare to dream, and if we submit to let the Pokémon evolve us and train us to see before it’s our time to Go.