Is it possible to live without falling into the trap of illusions?


“There is nothing sadder than the death of an illusion.” -Arthur Koestler

Our life is often between “illusion and reality” because our mind is in the subjective world of ideas and concepts. Things get more complicated as our perspectives are constantly on the lookout for meaning and we use language that is inappropriate for describing reality and is often based on paradoxes and analysis.

There is no single answer to the question of what is reality. In the broadest sense, we can define reality as everything that exists. We can say that a physical reality is one that has physical properties, such as mass in space, and is independent of the observer. Mental reality, on the other hand, has no extension in space and exists only in the minds of people dependent on the observer. When we look at flowers, stones, or fragments of atoms, what we see is only a partial reflection of reality. Knowing that there is a big difference between the mental representation of reality and reality itself can give us a basic idea of ​​what an illusion is.

Ultimate reality cannot be defined in terms or words. It is considered immutable. But almost nothing in the universe is truly permanent. There is no guarantee that even physical laws will remain the same. In this sense, the ultimate truth may not exist. Moreover, it can even be said that ultimate reality is unattainable, since it is also not clear how much of reality is fully known or accessible to human reason and understanding.

“Life is what is sustained by our ignorance of its essential meaning.” – Terry Eagleton

Every person is born at a certain age and in a certain place in the world; We all have a short life in the shadow of uncertainty and death. During this limited period of existence, we are forced to live in an endless struggle with the unknown and adapt to the outside world. The limitations of existence, cognitive biases and understanding push us to create illusions that can be perceived as real. These illusions are reinforced by the concepts of knowledge and understanding, faith and certainty, time and eternity, freedom, free will and the meaning of life. Illusions can also develop from imagination unsupported by reality, and they offer us existential comfort. Their disturbing aspect is that they give rise to our prejudices, which create a reluctance to see things as they are.

“What a sad time we live in. To eradicate prejudice is more difficult than to split an atom. -Albert Einstein

It is difficult to tell whether even those of us who think we are aware of the mysterious nature of reality are moving towards a deeper understanding of reality, or simply from one illusion to another. Findings from neuroscience research show that we have a greater tendency to twist reality to make it more bearable. We are drawn to illusions that can be tailored to suit our needs and desires. Living in this cycle, the most important tools we have found are the languages ​​we use and the theories that reflect our views.

“The inability to trust anything to absolute silence, uncertainty, moments of silence, emptiness is a real burden …” – Muratan Mungan.

We communicate our theories using concepts and symbolic systems such as mathematics, and basically they are all structured ideas of human hands; They have no independent existence outside the mind and are always partial and temporary. Because our experiences and opinions are shaped by various concepts that are approximate representations of reality in the mind, there is no point at which they come into direct contact with reality. When we create a conceptual framework, we find a kind of existential refuge from the constant uncertainty of life. This conceptual framework also helps us live in a relatively knowable and predictable universe. It should not be overlooked that these limits can make it difficult to distinguish between illusion and reality, because another function of concepts is to limit the human mind.

When we wake up one morning, the world we are used to can change in an instant, in this period when we feel the grip of uncertainty created by natural disasters, we all desire certainty, a meaningful and good life. But nature is what it is, no matter what meaning or interpretation the human mind ascribes to it. Nature is neither moral nor immoral; He is also indifferent to all the concepts that we have created.

“No problem in life is solved by dropping.” -Victor E. Frankl

In the face of this reality, we are looking for our uniqueness and in these efforts we are trying to comprehend each phenomenon in our favor. Here it is important to be able to see that “meaning” also has many meanings. In Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Deep Thinking supercomputer is given “the meaning of life, the universe, and everything else.” After 7.5 million years of computation, Deep Thought gives the answer -42-. “Honestly, I think the problem is that you never knew what the problem was,” says Deep Thought, reflecting on this strange result. Given the various theories of the meaning of life put forward by philosophers, there may not be a single question to be asked, and therefore no single correct answer.

“I would like to say that life is a life-long period of questions and answers. Responding to life means taking responsibility for your own life.” -Victor E. Frankl

At the beginning of this article, I tried to write how each of us creates our own reality with our perception and connects to it with great admiration. As a result, life is basically an object of interpretation. We can see from the many lessons of history that meaninglessness leads humanity to ruin. We recognize that continuing to search for meaning even in times of doubt is one of the most important things we can do. However, in such a vast sea of ​​concepts, it is very difficult to keep our assets alive in harmony with reality. That is why we are stuck between illusion and reality. Because of this contraction, we turn the realities in our perception into dogma and ignore other searches for meaning. Perhaps the only thing we can do in these contradictions is, after a while, begin to doubt the concepts we have developed and forget what we have learned when the time and place come. We need to see that we are more involved in illusions as we limit ourselves to the concepts with which we imprison our partial analysis.

Our core business is probably just to live and let live freely; is to look for ways to live and let live, and our fiction is sometimes trust and health, sometimes peace, sometimes peace, and sometimes love. How much we put our hands under a stone, what we feed and what we destroy. What do we do with the future world with the prejudices of our illusions? Perhaps the solution is to create “we” where “I” can breathe in harmony, on the one hand, live with due diligence, and on the other hand, create a more livable world.


  • Ben J. Jacobi/The Human Dilemma
  • Living between illusion and reality
  • Michael M. Printing / The Meaning of the Meaning of Life
  • Viktor Frankl / Man’s Search for Meaning

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