When I first saw this video (back in 2010) and saw Hatsune Miku appear on stage from her little black box I felt the world shifting its parameters. And then the song started and i heard a 4 minute description of the next 200 years, a song of straight prophesy and teasing ambiguity, of playfulness and arrogance and love, in lyrics that got stranger and stranger ..."Someday, on the hundred-thousandth birthday of my children, when you see them, for celebrating it, I thank you..." Imagine "Terminator 12" as a kid's anime movie written by Julia Kristeva...
It is well known that photography is no longer considered a reliable source of evidence in a court of law, but soon reality itself may be considered unreliable. We are not only moving into 'the robotic moment' (as Sherry Turkle calls it in her consistently engaging book entitled "Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology And Less From Each Other") but into a generalised post-human mish mash of technologies, platforms, protocols and speeds.
But reality doesn't have to be believable - it just has to be imaginable. Reality is a reference point not a destination. A map, not the territory.
A lot fell into place for me recently when I dropped the burden of 'believing' in Buddhism and decided to simply imagine it instead. Belief tends to have an agonistic dimension to it: "do I or do I not believe in ... karma?... rebirth?...my lama as a buddha?..." We feel compelled to decide one way or another on a question that is actually outside our capacity to answer. And we always believe too soon - we come to a 'conclusion' we haven't earned, and our world subtly closes down a little as a result. Instead of remaining in the space of not-knowing (which is a beautiful, sacred place to be) we turn not-knowing into a fake knowing and the resulting turbulence affects everyone around us.
These days I simply 'imagine' Buddhism. I do my practices as naturally as I brush my teeth or watch the football. I have faith in these practices, in the teachers who gave them to me and in the tradition that carried them to me through the centuries. It is faith based on 30 years quiet engagement with the world of Buddhism. It is not certain knowledge - it is faith, trust. A kind of perfume radiating out of consistent experience.
After all, Buddhism isn't about the agonistics of belief as dogma, nor is it a collection of truth statements in an abstract world of philosophy. It is about engaging with practices whose 'reality' is judged on a pragmatic quality: their ability to end suffering. Of course, I am presenting this somewhat simplistically. There is always an element of belief in our experience. But so long as belief is recognised as belief and not as fact then the integrity of one's experience is protected.
I look forward to meeting Hatsune Miku's 'children' and celebrating their hundred-thousandth birthday with them. I will arrive there - you try too.