Okay so I have maybe been having A LOT OF THOUGHTS since I read this. Isn't it fascinating what the brain perceives as 'real'? This is The Matrix all over again -- what is real? Is it real just because you can smell and touch it? Or is it just as real when it's only our brains that perceive it? After all, what is 'real' if not impulses that the brain interprets? So who's to say that by reading, and writing as we do; and by having deep, meaningful relationships online with people we have never met, that they aren't real? That we aren't just as loved by them as by people we have seen, smelled, touched? God, I could read 48754974 words on the subject. This ties in neatly with the AI thoughts I've been having of recent -- sometimes I wish I'd had the foresight to go into neuroscience while I was at uni, because I could talk about this shit FOREVER.
Gives a whole new meaning to 'lost in a good book', not to mention living vicariously through so-called 'fictional characters' -- because aren't we, all of us, fictional characters to other people? I mean, really? Certainly we are to sociopaths, but why is it easier to insult or bully someone online, for example, as it is to do it to someone IRL, even though that person online is just as real as the person sitting next to you on the train, only they're sitting a continent away from you?
I have, for the past five years, lived my life through fictional characters so much more than in reality. And anyway, who the fuck are people to tell me that to me, this isn't just as real as their spouses they come home to every night? Who's to say that I haven't been in a relationship for the past eight-odd years, when I am in one every night when I open up a book, or my 'to-read' list of fic bookmarks? It's really all a question of perception, and how we choose to interpret our own experiences. Who's to say that this isn't my real life, rather than a state of fugue while I wait for it to begin?
...Wow, I appear to have A LOT OF THOUGHTS on the subject. But it's just so utterly fascinating to me. Descartes ftw! :) By all means, if you find this as fascinating as I do, come talk to me! :)