Imaginary friends

There are several people I correspond with regularly. With some of them, it’s no more than a casual quarterly update type of thing, whereas with others, the messages almost take the form of a conversation. Admittedly, it’s a conversation with significant pauses, but there is a continuity that – in my book, at least – elevates it beyond the usual random scattering of thoughts that would populate your typical ‘update’ letter.

Naturally, the most important aspect to this kind of communication is receiving a reply to something specific that I have written. I suppose I’m just an amoeba at heart, because I’m totally locked into the stimulus-response cycle.

The problem is that during moments of extreme paranoia, I find myself wondering whether the people I’ve been writing to actually exist or not. I mean, sure, I seem to remember that I’ve met most of them at some stage and I do have a smattering of knowledge regarding the arcana of electronic mail systems, but there’s still that niggling doubt that all my messages are being intercepted and answered by a ‘bot, a bored ISP administrator or both (they take turns). This business of the earth not being flat is also starting to bother me…

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18 thoughts on “Imaginary friends

  1. Thank you for just identifying me as an amoeba. I thought the cause of a current friendship that’s failing was something far more complex and psychologically loaded, whereas it’s simply the stimulus-response cycle interrupted. Hmmm… s-r interuptus explains so many of my failed relationships that it seems brilliant in its simplicity. I have to go away and think about this now…

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  2. Sheesh, talk about opening a can of worms, KN! You keep talking like that and I’m gonna lose my job as an ISP… I mean… have you been taking your medication?!

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  3. anne: Only in an abstract sense.

    angel: Ah, but if you were a ‘bot, you’d be programmed to think that, wouldn’t you?

    andrea: It looks like we’re cut from the same protoplasm, Andrea.

    terri: I’ve started again. I feel a bit better now.

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  4. I am NOT a bot. This message has been recorded. We will never surrender. Die die… oh oops wrong context. I am real dammit. Pinch… eina… see that hurt!

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  5. I have never really given this much thought. I suppose one can extrapolate and apply the argument to the entire world in which we live. Seems like a twist on the “I think, therefore I am” philosophical debate.
    I like my imginary friends… they are as real as I am… hehe. >;)

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  6. Well I know I am real – or am I – or are we living in the matrix…? I will go and find Neo – the chosen one and when I get some answers from him – I’ll let you know. Now, where is the nearest telephone…..

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  7. This is all a dastardly plot to get me to believe that you aren’t the bot or meddling ISP operator I always thought you were. It’s taken me ages to work out that you are up to no good with my emailing the world and now you think you have thrown me by coming up with this?

    Sorry buster, you’ve been rumbled and this little trick is going to throw me off your scent.

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  8. jus what has been bothering me for a while now. There are sometimes the delusion of bots takin over and I might be among the few who actually exist or perhaps I am also under the impression that I am still me 🙂 it is the matrix effect or perhaps watching too many films but admittingly it sails through my mind from time to time…

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  9. bee: Wow. Cool programming.

    buddess: Then my work here is done.

    chitty: In my more lucid moments, I am able to realise that if you can’t tell the difference then for all practical purposes, it doesn’t matter a hill of beans either way.

    banquo: Monosyllabic answers, no doubt.

    nomad: Are you implying that I’m an irregular bather?

    dr O2: No way to be sure, so enjoy the ride.

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  10. If it makes you feel better, I think paranoid schizophrenia is common among geniuses.

    That said, you might of course be right. I could be a bot. I could be a bored admin. I could be inside your computer, right now…

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  11. Descartes: “Cogito, ergo sum.”

    Descartes says this after he proves to himself that God exists. If I can think, I must exist, right?

    But, the atheist in me scrutinizes the most brilliant of all God’s creations: Man. If man is the penultimate of His creations, and we have imperfections, albeit minor, then isn’t it possible, though very unlikely, that God intended for man to think he exists?

    This is much like your comment above, “Ah, but if you were a ‘bot, you’d be programmed to think that, wouldn’t you?”

    So, to throw this back to your original post- the idea that you may have been corresponding electronically to bots, or perhaps a bored ISP admin, consider this: the possibility that you are corresponding to another live human being directly corelates to your very existence. If you are alive, then surely the benefactor of your emails must also be alive.

    Or you yourself might be the very bot you speak of. (Welcome to the Matrix. Hahahaha.)

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  12. delboy: I should be safe, then. I only discuss Marylin Manson lyrics.

    lisa: I think I like the ‘genius’ option, but if you are in my computer, I need to warn you that fan next to the power supply isn’t properly secured, so watch out.

    phoenix: The only issue I have with the Matrix was that despite being all super high-tech and all, how come their sweaters were always frayed and full of holes?

    bryan: Exactly, or as we say in my country: 101010100 0000110 10110101111 0 101001.

    livewire: I didn’t realise virtue could be applied to mannequins. Learn something new every day.

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