Illusion

I’ve understood for a long time that not everything I see or hear is real. Not long ago I was reminded of this in a most unusual fashion. While peering through a window of a local art gallery late one afternoon, I noticed a striking figure seated in the driver’s seat of a car parked on the street behind me. Quickly turning around to get a better look at her, I found the car empty. Amazingly, bright sunlight reflecting the empty car in the window caused me to see both the bronze statue inside the gallery and the car simultaneously, thus placing her inside the car. What an amazing illusion! I snapped the picture-reflection below with my iPhone.

Speaking of illusions, marketing campaigns are notorious for air-painting away human imperfections, and news broadcasts blatantly spin and skew information on an hourly basis. Often it’s hard to know who or what to believe –and yet it is crucial that I make some sense of what is happening so I can make informed choices, take thoughtful positions and act responsibly.

Getting perspective really depends on how large a chunk of life I am able to process at a given moment. I’ve often thought as I watch the Discovery channel’s breathtakingly expansive views of our planet in heart-melting gorgeous colors and pulsating vibrancy, magnificent beyond my ability to fully absorb, what would happen if everyone was repeatedly exposed to this reality, this exquisite world we experience so narrowly in our 24-hour fragments?

Then I wonder, do we really want what is real or do we crave illusion? Has life become so difficult, meaningless and frightening that we yearn to continuously escape into fantasy, vicariously living stories that we can manipulate to suit our needs and supplant any lingering low-grade depression?

When in balance I believe fantasy can be wonderful and daydreaming an absolute must –invitations to exploration and avenues to creativity. But so can what is real inspire and challenge us, offering us spectacles that can make us gasp with wonder and fill us with excitement and awe. Experiencing what is real and ours and part of us as a whole on this planet brings an additional element to me, something I can only describe as reverence, a regard for all living things. From this perspective I will seek to make informed choices, take thoughtful positions and act responsibly.

Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life. . . . I can do no other than be reverent before everything that is called life. I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. This is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics. ~Albert Schweitzer

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