Reality used to be a friend of mine

Just before Christmas, an age ago in internet time, a man called David Thorne published an email exchange on his website, apparently between him and an entrepreneur called Simon Edhouse, who wanted some free graphic design for a new venture. The (cruel but very funny) exchange was an internet hit (particularly among graphic designers, who seemed all too familiar with the scenario), but Edhouse quickly denounced it as a vicious fabrication by a former friend.

Browsing around, I found Edhouse\’s own website, where he was facing concerted internet heckling from people who seemed unconvinced by his denials. But it also contained some of his own thoughts: \”destiny is DIY\” and \”the map is not the territory\”. These curious pearls made me wonder whether perhaps Edhouse was actually a fictitious character, invented by Thorne for his own cruel amusement. Perhaps Thorne was fictitious too. They both seem to come from Adelaide, which may as well be Alpha Centauri for all I can do to verify the existence of either of them.

It reminded me of a university friend, studying philosophy and overwhelmed by cartesian scepticism, desperately gripping the lamp on his desk, seeking reassurance that it – perhaps alone in all the universe – was verifiably real. All that is solid melts into air.