What you see is (not) what you get. Our reality is virtual, built on semantics, filtered by psyches, and mediated by associations.
This is old hat for the Vedic philosophy, where our perceptions will always be hidden behind the veil of maya, illusion. And for the Jewish mystics as well – the Hebrew word for world, Olam, is more aptly translated with an association of the mystery, what is hidden, what cannot be seen. And Bertrand Russell says as much in the Problems of Philosophy – we cannot see things as they are; we project a visual idea onto the objective world, but that is a subjective experience, not inherent to reality itself. If all three of these are pointing at the same truth, that we cannot witness an objective reality, then there is a curious plot twist: whatever we imagine reality to truly be, it cannot be, because we’ve imagined it as thus.
The question is not “is this real?”. The question is – what does it mean to you?
We limit ourselves to thinking of as real that which reflects light. But our relationships, the systems that surround us like some mycelial network, our semantics… all are real. More real than the philosopher’s archetypal table, which turns into a chair when I sit on it. One becomes two, two becomes none.
What you see is always more or less than what there is.