For a long time, I followed writing prompts. I liked the challenge of finding something to say about a random topic. And I was interested to see the commonalities and differences between my thoughts and everyone else’s.

REUTERS/Noah Berger

Lately, though, I want to write about other stuff. The crazy political stuff. The insanity of our failure to make any changes to our gun laws. The wild weather.

Talk about crazy. Insect plagues (not just here … all over the country) … and temperatures so high they turn forests to tinder. Flooding down the middle. Drought out west. Tornadoes threatening Chicago. Chicago? Mother Nature, like Howard Beale in “Network” screaming “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”


Network is a 1976 American satirical film written by the great Paddy Chayefsky. Directed by Sidney Lumet, it’s the story of a fictional television network willing to do anything and everything — including assassinating one of its own anchors on live television — to get better ratings. When the movie came out, it was almost science fiction. Now, except for not yet assassinating a reporter or anchor live during prime time, the rest seems tame compared to what’s truly going on.

Sometimes, I wonder if maybe Donald Trump was invented by TV network executives to get higher ratings for the news. It worked around this house. We hadn’t watched news on television — except for sports and weather — since Garry stopped being part of it.

Now, we watch the news every day just to see what new madness is in progress. “The Daily Show” seems more attuned to the surreal nature of current events than any of the standard stations.

daily show trevor noah

Not all that long ago, I had no trouble figuring out what was real and what was not. Now? There’s such a massive crossover between reality and “art,” I feel as if I’m living in the holodeck. In case you don’t remember (or never knew), the holodeck was a virtual reality facility on the Enterprise (especially on “Next Generation”). It was used to recreate environments — real and fictional — via “hard light” (solid and touchable) holograms.


In our world, no such technology exists.


So they tell us.

Except that I’m beginning to wonder. Maybe these past couple of years are a creative exercise by some mad computer genius designing a world that could never be. Except … it does. Exist. We are living in it.

Or … maybe … we’ve slipped into an alternate dimension. Because after all, could this world be real?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

28 thoughts on “THE HOLODECK AS REALITY”

  1. Holodeck, ask Apple. It will probably be on their next iPhone. Even George Orwell is more a choirboy today in comparison to how it was supposed to be in 1984. At lunchtime on Saturday there is a Swiss satire programme on the radio, all in Swiss German of course – until I heard the voice of Trump with his fire and flame speech over Korea. Of course it was being used in a satirical way, but he is famous even in Switzerland – so go figure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. At the price Apple is asking, I would hope for at least the Holodeck! Maybe a whole new alternate Earth with a better reality, too.

      I am politically exhausted. Every day, it’s some new scandal, catastrophe or something out of the blue. I just want to hide in a closet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The reality we seem to have created, especially in the last couple of decades, seems totally bonkers. The world ruled by social media just put the tin lid on it. I think I was hearing recently that the smart phone generation is actually showing serious signs of not being able to function in the actual world outside their bubble. Interesting concept – humanity imprisoned by cell phone, and quite without their realizing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And there’s a new one out. Which I am sure NO ONE needs, but many will buy it despite it having no real value other than being new. And, of course, capturing your face as identification. What could possible go wrong with that?

      How can they understand reality? They have grown up outside it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our world is getting warped – weather and all… Still so much smoke blowing into North Dakota that there are major air quality warnings, drought, Some of the air quality has drifted as far as here in the twin cities area of MN.. the one with the capitol in it…, My cousin lives in the Kingwood area of Houston, about a block from the flooding. Has a generator that needs a new part but that won’t come in for a week, and it was a relatively new machine, another ex in-law connection in Florida on my husband’s side that had recently moved to South Florida as she switched jobs and working on the space program, Came back to the roads in their new location flooded…,, UGH!


  4. I am trying to cut back on watching the news because it just raises my blood pressure to unhealthy levels, and with the Republicans once again trying to take away everyone’s health coverage, staying healthy is more important than ever. And that’s why I participate in a lot of writing prompts. It allows me to focus on something other than the news.


    1. So they’re back at it. Again. Show’s you how little news we watch. I’ve spent a blissful three days without news. I know what you mean about blood pressure. I can’t TAKE any more pills. I’m over the top already.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Our last tv set became history back in the mid 90’s. do not much miss it… but get news from my computer and local paper…. We watch tv on vacation in what ever rooms, etc., or timeshare trade we acquired. However, the news is not on our watching list. Listen to MPR/NPR a lot though.


  6. I think your memory might be slipping a little? or did you just not see this news item in 2015?

    As for Network – our local version of the Daily Show is called ‘Mad As Hell’ and the opening credits are based on the Peter Finch ( an Aussie) opening the window scene to scream the line. 🙂 You’d enjoy it and you can watch on line – search: ‘ABC I-view’

    If your second-last para is not yet true – it will be by 2050, mark my words. We might, if we are lucky, get to choose our own (virtual) reality and spend all our time there – the more advanced of us might even get to have some say in how it pans out?

    We won’t need real human contact – indeed we probably could not tell the difference between real humans and our virtual simulants.

    Seen Blade Runner 2 is out soon?



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