So this stuff I am saying about the world beneath the tunnel... is it real? Yes it is.
It's there. It's real.
Oh, but is the tunnel real?
Ah... more difficult. I don't know. It depends on what you mean by real, and anyway, are you real? You think I'm joking? I spent about six months of my life in my late teens as a functioning lunatic, because I really and honestly seriously doubted that anything and anyone else was real. I think they may call it a form of solipsism (that is if 'they' are real enough to have called it that), and the solipsism was very real for me.
I thought of confiding in family and friends but, being young, I soldiered on while completely mad. I functioned, but I was close to despair.
David Hume did it. I do blame David Hume. Reading David Hume did it. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Bloody Hume was the final straw on a creaking mind, so that's what bloody did it. Oh... unless there is and never was any David Hume, and I wrote it all myself...
Then one afternoon I fell asleep on the sofa and eventually fell off onto the floor, and as I regained startled awareness on the floor I thought, 'well, this hard floor is real'. But only for an instant, until I thought, 'Ah you clever trickster of a mad mind you... imagining that you had fallen out of bed to try to trick me into believing in all my mad imaginings. But then I am you, my mind, am I not?' And with that thought I think I went back to sleep, or at least I imagined that I did.
And I remember kissing a girl one evening, for quite a while, and all the time I was absolutely and literally believing that she didn't really exist but was entirely a figment of my imagination.
I had a good imagination.
But I don't suppose she would have been very impressed by my thoughts (if she was real).
Anyway... I think I just got bored with the clinical insanity of solipsism eventually, and just became engrossed with normal life, until the next madness arrived. Then the next one, then the next one, then the next one...
But, the tunnel. Ah yes, the tunnel. It's real. The tunnel is real, in a sense, and in precisely what sense I do not intend to concern myself with right now, preferring instead to describe the evening when I descended down through the tunnel again but only to find the chamber empty.
'Hello... Is there anybody there?'
There appeared to be nobody there. Nobody at all.
Was there... is there... has there been... anybody... anywhere... ever?
You will know. If there is a you. But I don't know, for sure.
And if there really is a you... Are you sure that you are not really me?
I mean... What are you doing talking to yourself like this? You mad fool.