I often talk about illusion. I thought I could use Christmas as a vehicle to bring clarity to the concept of illusion. I like to begin with defining something before discussing it at length. I’ve long used Merriam-Webster as the basis from which my language emerges. I just saw that Merriam-Webster has a new feature, a simple definition of words. We will use the simple definition of illusion, but if you would like the full definition [visit their website].
Simple Definition of illusion
: something that looks or seems different from what it is : something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real
: an incorrect idea : an idea that is based on something that is not true
I don’t think I have to present much evidence to a rational mind to point out the illusion of Christmas. A quick glance of [the December section of Wikipeida’s list of multinational festivals and holidays] makes it clear that Christmas isn’t real.
But this hinges on what your definition of real is. My definition of real is something that is universally true. Something that, when presented logically, is true for all humans. The only logical choice is believing all holidays are real based on collective consciousness defining reality, or that none of them are.
Anything solely based on belief or collective consensus is, in my opinion, not real. Discovering reality is a person pursuit. I, unfortunately, am not able to tell you what is or isn’t illusion. I can only tell you why I think something is or isn’t an illusion.
Christmas being solely based on belief and collective consensus make it, to me, an illusion. This isn’t hard to understand. Look at all of the religions on that list. They are not real to you unless you choose to believe they’re real because they exist on a list, on Wikipedia. The same is true for Christmas. Swimming in illusion doesn’t make it truth.
Why does it matter?
It doesn’t matter, nothing does. I can tell you why it matters to me. Simply put, suffering.
In my experience, and from what I’ve gathered from literature on the subject, suffering is directly linked to illusion. At the base of it all is the illusion of self, but that is always taking things too far directly out of the gate.
The majority of suffering comes directly from illusion or perhaps better put, delusion. Delusion about how one’s life should or shouldn’t be based on belief and collective consensus. The list of delusions are endless, but common ones are:
- Definitions of success
- Definitions of failure
- Definitions of beauty
- Definitions of good
- Definitions of evil
Trying to fight with illusion is an unwinnable war. Illusion must be transcended through the pursuit and understand of universal truth.
Does this mean it’s wrong to participate in Christmas? Depends on how you define right and wrong, I can’t tell you that. What I will say is one must be careful about the illusions one participates in if one is on a path of transcending illusion, suffering.
Most aren’t interested in transcending illusion. This isn’t right or wrong. If one isn’t careful, walking the path of transcending illusion can become another illusion to transcend (ad infinitum).
My ultimate aim isn’t to avoid all things illusion. This is impossible, another illusion. My aim is to actively participate in illusion and remain unaffected by it. Keep my waters crystal clear. Illusion is the most potent drug we have as humans. It can make life heaven and it can make life hell. Just like anything else in life, it’s about moderation.
On that note…
Perception is an illusion.
The reason I stick to using Merriam-Webster as the basis for language is to prevent linking statements like that. Perception has its own definition and its definition is in no way connected to illusion.
Simple Definition of perception
: the way you think about or understand someone or something
: the ability to understand or notice something easily
: the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses
The way one perceives can trap one in illusion, but perception itself is not an illusion. Linking concepts this way is the slippery slope that leads and keeps one in the realm of illusion.