The world is an illusion, but even illusions exist. I would never say that the world does not exist. Illusions get a bad rap though. Some people use the term “illusion” to put down the world. Illusions are great things. Movies are illusions. Virtual reality games are illusions. Dreams are illusions. The game of life continues because the illusions are believed.
I don’t like using the terms real and not-real. Are dreams real? Many westerners would say no. To many of the aboriginal people, dreams are real and sometimes more real than the world itself. So during this post, please don’t add any kind of real versus not-real context to anything said. Let us keep the topic to existing or not existing…and also illusions.
Movies exist. Virtual reality exists. Dreams exist. Being an illusion does not really matter, because illusions exist.
What is an illusion? Simply, things are not as they appear to be. So if you believed what you see to be as you see it, then you would be fooled by the illusion.
A movie can make us laugh and cry, but ultimately it is a scripted story that was recorded on film. White light is passed through the film and projected on a white screen. This is what is really happening. Yet, movies affect us so. It is not wrong that they affect us so.
A virtual reality (VR) game is simply a computer program. Yet, with a headset of goggles and earphones…you forget where you really are and you are somewhere else entirely. Your heart will race and you may even scream, if while playing Sharks VR you see a shark come for you, chomp down, and the water goes red.
Dreams are worlds of our own creation. One night you might fall off a cliff and then find you are able to fly and spend the rest of the dream flying around. Another night, you may find yourself at a bar having a conversation with others. Another night, you may find you are being chased and someone is trying to kill you. While in the dream, we accept its reality completely. It is only after waking up do we say…it was just a dream.
These are illusions because it is not as it appears to be. The people in the movie are acting and nothing see is really happening…not to mention there are not people really in front of you. You are watching a screen (that is white). The VR game is fun, but not at all like the room you are seated in. Dreams show us many wonders, but come from our mind.
Some people will say, “the world can’t be an illusion…I just kicked a rock!” However, if you saw someone kick a rock in a movie and yell in pain…wasn’t that an illusion? Also, if you were in a VR game and kicked a rock…wasn’t that an illusion?
You might think…yes, but those didn’t really hurt. So ‘illusions don’t hurt’ would be the argument. However, if you kicked a rock in a dream at night…it would hurt. Your dream would include imagined pain from kicking a rock.
Actually, thinking that illusions don’t hurt is incorrect. Suffering in general is caused by thought…an illusion of the mind. We see things and experience things and then add incorrect context and connotations. Someone says something…we didn’t quite hear it clearly, but thought they said something mean. We feel hurt…only to find out later it was a misunderstanding and what we thought was said was not what was said. That hurt caused by our minds (that has nothing to do with the nerves of the body) is suffering, which is an illusion. We do it to ourselves and don’t realize it.
Actually, hypnotism is kind of an illusion…and people under hypnosis can be told a rock is extremely hot. When the rock is placed in their hands, they scream in pain and the hand may even blister (psychosomatic). So this illusion caused pain and physical effects.
So feeling pain when kicking a rock does not necessarily prove the world is not illusory. The same would occur in a dream or under hypnotism…when there is no rock. The dream exists, hypnotism exists, and so too the world exists. Illusions of various kinds exist.