Do you ever make the distinction between "IRL" and "Internet" friends?I had a dream once where I was looking at a GIF of someone cutting their limbs off with a power tool. I then lost the boundry or "slipped consciousness" into the experience of cutting my arm off with a circular saw.
It wasn't terrible, everything seemed to flow right, and there was little stress during the change of perspective.
It's also common to make a distinction between "artificial intelligence" and "intelligence".
Nature and human doings.
I will stop here, this finishes some short examples of false division. Even between dream world and the real world, there is something that experiences. We can say what it experiences can be based on perspective and how that perspective is distinct. Point consciousness
I don't like to use the word "real" because it implies some sort of higher Truth. I'd like to reformulate the question to be "Meatspace" and "Cyberspace" instead of "IRL" and "Internet".
We are interacting with information constantly.
Some of this information becomes labeled as "friends". I don't know why I feel compelled to build a model of the universe on to which to stand and speak about such abstract ideas as friends... but it seems necessary.
You have to know where someone is coming from in order to understand what they are talking about.
Philosopher/Mathematicians love to start with a set of axioms from which they can draw logical conclusions and arrive at proofs of truth within that system.
The answer to the prompt, in my current state of consciousness, is a plain and obvious "Yes."
On to why this is obvious:
Looking at the choice-tree that leads back all the way to the big bang, I've confined myself to a certain way of thinking:
Pain and pleasure exist. It is easy to discuss dichotomies, however we know there is a infinitely varied "emotion" that the something can exprience outside of the Pain-Pleasure spectrum. There are multiple types of consciousness in which we experience this "emotion".
Usually we're acting out a "strange loop" and re-enforcing our subconscious beliefs, or how RAW puts it "What the thinker thinks, the prover proves"...
* * *
My friend asked me which friend has had the most influence on me while we were walking to the store in Flagstaff. This question touched me somewhere deeply. I had to answer, "Dead ones" the friends who figured out how to bind themselves in time and let me experience them through words. Internet friends would be on the same level as book friends, they are bound in words.
Meatspace friends are also bound, but not by words alone. They are bound to maliable, protein rich, fatty flesh as well.
That is a DISTINCT DIFFERENCE to my sober*-ego-mind.
My friend was upset with my answer because he was also looking for me to talk about meatspace friends... and of course I knew that's what he was looking for, but I can't say I've really looked up to anyone: maybe I have a really bad case of self-absorption. He said I was the biggest influence on him. It made me feel bad because I don't think I'm a good person to model after.
We can talk about how the syntax changes between real-time interaction, time-binded (word) interaction... but that's not important, the important thing is there is a distinction. You could hang out with someone in meatspace for a long time and have a good time that you wouldn't have anything to talk about online, and the other way around... I've seen relationships not transfer well between the online universe and the meat universe.
There is a level of survival to all this. The individual and the collective seem to be at war constantly. Deviations from the norm are destroyed and the norm is constantly in motion. Those who cannot adapt will die, the universe moves and you move with the universe.
Questions of pretending is besides the point. If you feel they are true friends then that's all that matters. If you find joy from pretending to be something or feel that it's necessary, then that's what matters.
I personally don't find any joy what-so-ever in pretending, I pretend out of necessity sometimes (ie family functions, bodily functions, difficult, volitile situations) but most of the time I don't have some "faker" function sitting between the universe and myself, and if I do, it's like turning the steering wheel of my universe and what was once "fake" becomes "real" and a non-thought.
*Culturally acceptable thought patterns and behavior
Ask yourself why you asked me that question, because that will lead to self-growth more so than my ramblings on how the universe seems to be assmebled to this guy. For me the distinction is obvious and is beyond consideration for me at the moment.
There is no friend, just people
I tried to answer the question from many different angles, and I couldn't do it. I consciously avoided defining friend:
To define "friend" kills it.
"Freedom defined, is freedom denied"