Citizenship Outmoded

What is home, anyway?

Westy Reflector
3 min readMar 11, 2024

The concept of “citizenship” is outmoded in the context of internet space-time. Cyberspace is geographic; topographic. You move through states of virtuality at varied rates of acceleration and speed, as if you are a viscous fluid.

At feeding times, we emerge from the network, and revert to solid form. Your mommy will say, “Get off your phone!”, but you’re not so much “on your phone” now as “in your phone,” like ketchup in a bottle.

When we disliked our physical circumstance, we say “We gotta get out of this place,” but not, “We gotta get off this place.” Unless, of course, we’re talking about Earth, and for now, we’re trapped on the planet, so that desire’s moot. You ain’t gettin’ off.

“Get out of your phone!” would be a bit more apt, as in “Get out of the car, Sir. I won’t ask you again.”

Granted, while commuting we say we are “on a train” or “on a bus,” but only in concept do we “ride” a train or bus like we “ride” a horse. The action of transit, in reality, places us “in” the train or bus. To be “on” the train for real would be quite dangerous.

Sometimes I feel the internet was created solely to cast anyone anywhere’s day-to-day IRL life as a snooze-fest. Cyberspace more and more fosters envy, self-doubt, and depression. Virtual reality is the ultimate wanderlust machine.

The more you surf, the more you unlearn where you are, and the more you know where you are not. Virtual environments obliterate the notion of “home.” You’re not “from” anywhere anymore, just in a constant state of “to” — that is, here-to-there.

That said, while you can pretend to be anyone online, avatar-driven reality still does not offer the ability to exist in any physical place other than where you are. Green screens are as evident as ever. The best you can do, if you loathe your whereabouts, is never reveal your location (text only posts, no shots out windows, etc), and pretend you’re just nowhere.

The inevitable bodysuit add-on to VisionPro will allow acute, hyper-true feelings of, say, strolling the streets of Rome or parachuting into Machu Picchu. You might even plug your VisionPro into your Nespresso, and meet friends for morning coffee in a cyber-Cannes. But you still won’t be there. You’ll still just be here.

The ultimate goal of digital reality is to create daydreams. In this state virtual reality becomes “actual duality.” Your eyes are open, you’re fully conscious, but you’re not quite here. Not really there, either.

You there,
yet, still,
just here.