In a loose chain of statements Jaron Lanier gives us an insight into his ideas and imaginations. He criticizes the fact that the physical world puts numerous "obstacles" in the way when it comes to fully expressing one's own imagination and desires and that up to now we have only been able to do "things" just the same by using symbols. Because of the development of virtual reality it is now possible to share our imagination with others in a common virtual world, to interact with this world and to communicate. The fusion of virtual and physical worlds, their differences and similarities are of special interest for Lanier.
From my point of view, the most important thing about virtual reality is "postsymbolic communication". I have not been joined by throngs of others who believe this at this point, but I expect to be any minute now.
This far in our adventure here on the planet, we have been interacting mainly within a plane that we know of as the physical world. The physical world has some interesting characteristics, the most important of which is that it is shared. Each of us has his own unique perspective and yet it is a perspective on a place that we can reliably use as a channel among ourselves. The fact that we can communicate at all in the physical world is something utterly mysterious. But, nevertheless, we do it. The physical world also has this very disturbing property, from a philosopher's point of view, of being very stubbornly "there" all the time. This is simply inexplicable, but seems reliable.
The physical world unfortunately has another property which is, that it is hard to do things in it. This is something we first learn in very early childhood. We discover, much to our intense humiliation, that not only are we forced to live inside the physical world, we are made of it and we are almost powerless in it. We are not born as Superman, able to fly around and pick up a building and turn it upside-down as much as little children may try to act like that. We are actually extremely limited. We can't get to our parents easily, we can't get to our food easily, we need help.