So a couple weeks ago, The Bear discovered Quora, and signed up.

Pretty quickly, I got an email from Quora, asking if “Tame Bear” was in fact my real name…

A Quora admin said:

“Hello,

One of the rules of Quora is that everyone uses his or her real full name. Do you mind changing your name to reflect that?

If this is a mistake and you are already using your real name, just reply to this message letting us know that.

So  I replied back…

Dear Quora Team,

Have you ever read “True Names” by Vernor Vinge?

Yes, “Tame Bear” is my real name, but I am not a real person; rather I am a fictional character. With a blog, a podcast, a twitter account, and a devoted following. My goal in life is to get at the truth behind illusions, and to help others understand the fundamental illusion we call “reality.” (Some say I am the smartest bear on the internet.)

I don’t think anyone for a minute mistakes me for a REAL bear. Do you?

– Tame

And then they blocked my account, so I am not able to post questions, talk to my followers, or add comments to other questions.

Yeah, I get the message — Quora is in the business of trying to define what is “real” … and if they think you are not, then you don’t exist, as far as Quora is concerned.

Well hey that’s cool. It’s their site, they can run it the way they want. But I do find the whole thing fascinating.

Quora doesn’t like my “real” name. Perhaps because I am not a “real” person; Tame Bear is a fictional character, you know? I mean, you don’t think “real” bears really tweet on Twitter, or post on their blogs, or tell stories on podcasts. Do you?

Quora may think I am being a pain in the butt about this. I believe I have used my “real” name. “Tame Bear” has no other name. What else could a fictional character use for a “real” name but the “only” name one is known by?

Here is a question I posed on Quora (shortly before my account was locked!) about whether fictional characters can have “real” names: http://www.quora.com/Tame-Bear/questions

(No, you can’t post comments to that Quora question. Locked. Because as we know now, Quora has a thing about “real” names. They’re convinced “Tame Bear” is not. )

Of course those of you who follow “Tame Bear” closely know that I too believe I am not. I believe ego, or sense of self, truly is a fiction. The self does not exist. The self — this sense of self identity — is created by mind to provide a location for it-self in place and time. The self is not real. It is a drama that mind is playing to amuse it-self.

Once you know that, you discover what true freedom is all about.

If the self is not real, then what is it? It is mind tricking it-self into believing it exists separate from all-that-is in a specific place. It is mind tricking it-self into believing it exists separate from all-that-is in a specific time. The illusion of self is mind tricking it-self into believing it exists separate from all-that-is in a specific place and time.

I am real. I am also a fictional character. I am both. Tame Bear exists in your mind and in mine. And that experience is one thing. Tame Bear existing in your mind and in my mind is one thing. We experience it as two, but it is one. It is ONE in the mind of all-that-is.

Two different experiences are ONE in the mind of all-that-is. And yet “we” experience it as “my experience” and “your experience”… because of the trick of “self” that locks experience into specific locations in place and time. Mind has two experiences where only one exists.

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