Fiction and unreality

The post on fictional characters has spawned a lot of offspring – Norm’s, George Szirtes’s, Mick Hartley’s, Tom Freeman’s.

The subject is related to one that Jean and I talked about a little today – when you’ve been in the blogosphere, have you been to a real place? When you interact via a blog, is that really interacting? Jean has a related post at Talking Philosophy.

I think Internet interaction is decidedly real interaction, but only for the people for whom it is so; that could be everyone, for all I know, but I don’t think it necessarily is. But I think it is so, at least, for people for whom language, thinking, writing, talking are important – or perhaps not so much important as essential. Jean points out in the post that blogging is addictive; so it is, and why? Maybe partly for the same sort of reason we get involved in fictions. Distance in one case, fictionality in the other; either way it’s not about real, fleshy, breathing people in the room with us, and yet it yanks us in just the same. George’s ‘guess is that the imagination does not distinguish carefully between the real and the imagined.’ It may be – in fact there’s evidence to suggest that it is – that the mind does not distinguish carefully between the imagination and memory, either. When you think about someone who is ten miles away at the moment, is that a memory or an imagining? A lot of both, usually, isn’t it? And are we always sharply aware of the boundary between the two? More like never, I would think.

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