Granted that virtual worlds are increasingly immersive environments, what happens when we extrapolate backwards? According to ArtMuseum.net (the premier online art exhibitor), we eventually get to Lascaux. Emerging from the caves, Joseph Campbell wrote: "Without exception these magical spots occur far from the natural entrances of the grottos, deep within the dark, wandering chill corridors and vast chambers, so that before reaching them one has to experience the full force of the mystery of the cave itself. Their absolute, cosmic dark, their silence, their unmeasured inner reaches and their timeless remoteness... can be felt even today, when the light of the guide's light goes out."
People ask me whether we can honestly expect large numbers of people to be immersing themselves in virtual worlds 10, 20, or 50 years from now. Consider: if the immersion impulse was truly behind the emergence of visual art itself, some 15,000 years ago, it must lie very, very deep in the mind.