I will assume that, like me, you are currently looking at an electronic device of some sort, reading the words that I am typing. But then as I type you are not there, and as you read I am not here. So we are neither here nor there but it feels like we are having a conversation. More and more of us do this more and more of the time. We think it is normal and rather take it for granted.

Is it normal? Is it real? All we get to see is short bursts of text and from these we extrapolate personalities that we can feel attracted to, annoyed by, even close to. But we have no way of proving that they exist. They could be a bot. As far as you are aware I could be a bot. It is increasingly possible.

Our lives are made up of such bursts of input. Not just text on a screen but the sounds of a phone call, even the smiling presence of a body standing before us. Out of these stimuli we create reality. Our reality is created. It is a construct in our mind. This is always true. Sure there are molecules out there and the physical world is real, but what it means, and how I react to it, is all made up.

So to go back to the funny little text boxes that so many of us nowadays spend our lives staring at and responding to, we would do well to remember what they are. They are light streaming from a bit of glass. Nothing more, nothing less. What they mean and how we feel about them is made up. It is up to us. We would do well to remember that.

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