Which would you choose?
Would you prefer to live out an imagined, indulgent fantasy which covers the real world? Or would you opt for reality as it is? With all it’s pain, suffering and difficulty laid bare?
Some days, I go for the former. I think it would be better to live and not see. An illusion is easier. It means I don’t have to face certain things. It means I can escape. Other days, I choose the latter. I think to myself, “it’s your duty to see reality as it is. Without distortion or manipulation. No matter how raw.”
What sways me towards reality is this:
I see others living in a happy illusion. I see how they breeze through, giving little consideration to things that matter. Floating on the cloud their refusal to see with clarity has allowed them to create.
I see this and it disgusts me because it’s forced. It’s persistent ignorance. I’m certain these people can sense something is amiss. Like a child who hears her parents arguing and just turns up her headphones. They sense something is wrong. But rather than looking closer, they interpret the feeling as a signal that they need to further insulate themselves.
An illusion that satiates our ego, that satisfies our need to feel important and wanted and good is like a drug. Alcohol, nicotine, heroin. These create formidable addictions. But there’s no drug as addictive or as harmful as a happy illusion.
It is something that attaches itself to our very sense of being. To have it stripped away from us inflicts not just physical and mental harm. It causes existential damage. To live without illusion forces us to question everything we held dear. It forces us to reckon with the falsity of the life we’ve led and the beliefs we’ve held.
I get it. It’s easier to see the world and our lives through a lens. To see it as something that it isn’t. As something we wish it was. It’s satisfying. It’s soothing. You can live your life like that and die content.
But once you glimpse the presence of an illusion, your life is shattered. You cannot unsee. That knowledge lodges in your mind. The seed of doubt is planted, and like an invincible weed, nothing you do can kill it. It either lingers in it’s stunted form, forever resisting your efforts to obliterate it. Or it grows and grows, destroying bit by bit the illusions you hold so dear. It takes hold, and like chemotherapy, hunts down every spec of illusion that remains in your mind.