First, before I begin, would you mind if I added your article to Imagine Magazine? I really like the idea of this article. :)
So, are fictional characters real? As you pointed out, I think it depends on how you 'define' real. There are many times when people will ask how I can keep the stories straight in my head, even after they've gone without an update for an extended period of time. The truth is, these characters are 'alive' in my mind. I never forget who they are, what they've done, or what's going on in their lives. So picking up right where I left off is very easy for me personally. Now, does that mean that they physically exist? Who knows? If the theory of the power of the 'observer' in quantum physics is anything to go by...then yes, they probably do. They're more real to me than a stranger that I've never seenor haven't met yet. So, I guess it's possible.
It's like, if you're playing a video game, especially in this day and age with the advanced AI and all...there are characters that can move independently of one another. They can 'hear' you if you make a noise. They can 'see' you if you step into the light. You might be a soldier playing against enemy combatants...but think about this...that video game character is wandering around in its own landscape. It can think and react to your presence. Even when they're not on the screen or a part of the game, they're basically living a LIFE inside the game. A life with limited choices and within a limited space, sure...but they're actually somewhat sentient when you think about it.
If you're playing Grand Theft Auto...those digital character are walking around in the streets, some with friends, they're driving cars, there are cops that will pull you over or chase you if they catch you speeding through a red light. But the question is...what are they doing when you're not playing the game? If you just left the game on for six hours without touching the controller, wouldn't it be just like the Matrix? With people and stores and strip clubs and birds and clouds and day turning to night and vice versa? We don't think of them as being real, but with the exception of bing self aware, are they really all that different from us in our daily lives? I feel like I have an infinite amount of choices of what I want to do with my life, but in reality, my life revolves around a tiny routine with a few variations here and there. Depending on time, energy, amount of money...so I'm basically a video game character in my own right. Who knows? Maybe some 14 year old kid is controlling me in this weird simulation right now instead of doing his homework. Hehehe! What a boring game that would be!
Ryan Reynolds was making a movie about something like this, which I was looking forward to, but, you know...pandemic. But it looked funny!
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