Reality being what it is right now, doesn’t an alternative sound tempting? That’s what I was thinking the other day, in my apartment, when I adjusted the Velcro straps on my Oculus Quest, a chunky virtual-reality headset made of black plastic, rubber, and a few billion transistors. The headset blocks all ambient light from the wearer’s eyes—the razzle-dazzle happens inside. I looked as if a gerbil’s casket had been plastered onto the upper half of my face. There was a faint new-car smell.