When I was a kid, I was entirely unsure that anybody apart from me actually had their very own separate life. When I turned my back, how was I to know that they did not lose their existence? (I thought this up before I knew Descartes existed, and since, according to him, I can’t know he existed … well, you do the math.)
Anyway, discreet investigation cured my of this particular idea, but I am still not entirely sure of one group – my family. My perception of them is so entwined with my time spent with them that I can’t actually think of them as entities separate from my idea of them. That goes mainly for my extended family, but that’s only because my nearest biologicals are close enough to keep a watch on any time I want.
Somehow this idea does not extend to my friend circle, which is intertwined enough for me to know that they probably don’t fashion elaborate fictional histories regarding their interactions for my sole benefit. One can, of course, be paranoid about that as well, but that strikes me a tad unhealthy.
Even the disembodied voices I speak to – the text floating towards me over the internet – have a comparatively real sense of being, while my family manages to be more convincing theoretically than in actual fact.
It is deucedly odd, because I am reasonably sure they do actually exist apart from when I see them. It just doesn’t seem entirely believable, for some reason.