Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weinersmith for November 22, 2014
When we discovered how to live in virtual worlds we escaped to fantasies as often as possible. A society became more affluent and automated it took less and less real-world labor to earn each hour of virtuality. As machines became more adapted to our brains it became cheaper to double perception of time than to double productivity per laborer. Time may be a real quantity but to a human mind a minute of terror really is a billion times longer than a night of sleep. We soon discovered a way to give the sensation of infinite time. At which point there was a simple decision to make: why spend a short life in the real world of sadness and absurdity when you could live forever in Paradise? Dear traveler: please don't think ill of us. We are the last generation. And we are immortal.
This reminds me of Peter F. Hamilton’s Commonwealth Saga. Part of the storyline – set in humanity’s spacefaring future – tells of how some of the planets we encounter contain little more than the silent remnants of civilizations that have gone “post-physical.”