Beginning October 21, this blog, Rain Trueax's Rainy Day Thoughts, will have a co-author-- painter and long-time friend, Diane Widler Wenzel. We have been sharing, encouraging, and discussing life for over 50 years. We don't always agree... I think this will be fun trip for us both. New posts will be on Saturdays and otherwise randomly as something of interest happens.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Illusions and the damage they do


What is the difference between an illusion and imagination? One seems to me positive (imagination) and can lead to finding new ways to do things. The other (illusion) leads us to believe certain things are true which are not. Illusions are when we make assumptions based on false premises. I think we live in a culture that is full of illusions many of which are intended to sell products. The entertainment media makes a lot of money from creating and promulgating illusions. If those illusions suit our presupposed ideas, we approve of them, if not, we think they are bad for the world.

One example is what we think about getting old. The illusion is we can avoid it with surgery, positive thinking, or pills. Whatever we do, whatever we look like, aging is a fact of life. Nobody has yet beat it. We can dye that gray hair, get a face lift, but it won't change what is under it. Illusions are always about the superficial-- the quick and easy fix.

Some would say it's not bad to sell ourselves on the illusion we are as young as we think or we can stay young if we do this or that. I actually think it is bad. One reason is we are fooling ourselves which can lead to tricking ourselves in other areas. We might tell others how youthful we are but generally others see the truth.

The other problem with the I'm-not-really-aging illusion is that we miss out on the experience that we could have been having in the winter of our life. Growing old, watching our body grow old, having a pet grow old, these are life experiences. Why not live them positively and fully? Experience the sensations, the changes and find it exciting and actually just part of the mystery of life. Some of those experiences are not much fun but they are ours.

One of the things I learned early in life is to live the moment I am in. I try very hard not to anticipate or put off something with the idea it will be better in the future. Reality is that we only have the moment. If we throw it away on wishful thinking, wanting to be living a different moment, we may not even have it.

Trying to hold onto youth and the experiences of youth are to miss those of old age. We can miss real experiences at any age as with the parent who wishes their child older or even themselves when they want to be old enough for this or that special privilege.

Considering the sometimes subtle damage they do, I have been thinking about some popular illusions in our culture. Some come from a ways back but are impacting today. Staying true to my intent to avoid politics, the next six blogs won't be about this group or that being superior in how they deal with these illusions. It will just be looking at what illusions might be impacting our lives, asking if they make sense for today. If you come up with some I haven't thought of, be sure and add them to the mix. Feel free to disagree with me but please keep this off political agendas and stick to the issues raised.

9 comments:

robin andrea said...

Just yesterday I was looking in the mirror and gently pulled the skin on my face to see what I might look like with a face lift. I would never have one, but the affect was pretty dramatic. I actually like the lines and small wrinkles around my eyes, and you know me (sort of!) I would never even think of dying my hair. I'm gray and have been for a long time. The interesting thing about illusions are the ones we harbor about ourselves beyond the superficial physical.

Annotated Margins said...

I did stupid things in my youth that now haunt my back, my knees... and somewhere in the genetic code I got someone’s joint problems. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. When I’m done with this body—or when this body is done with me—I’ll move on to do something different.

Television—the grand, destructive delusion that killed our dreams and imagination.

mandt said...

Wonderful post Rain....

Paul said...

I want to leave this world intact if possible. I'll leave the facelifts et el to Joan Rivers...LOL...

Paul said...

Typo : et al :-)

Kay Dennison said...

Great post!!!! Great insights!!!!


Illusions -- we all have a few but the trick is not succumbing to them. Imagination is infinitely more fun!!!!!

I keep hearing that I don't look 62but when I look in the mirror, I see a 62-year-old woman. I know who I am whether I like it or not.
Some days I feel every second of those years; some days I don't.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Illusions lead to Dillusions, oft times...! I am appalled at how early so many people in our culture start "fixing" the way they look---Botox, Collagen, Surgery, etc....There is an article about this 23 year old girl who has already had many surgery's--the most recent---when she had 10 different proceedures in one day...!!!!!
This is more than pitiful...it is, kind of sick, to me, and she looks like a Barbie Doll....! Is this what people are striving for?? OY!

There are a lot of things I don't like about getting old, and all of them are connected to my body betraying me---NOT in how it looks, but in how it "feels" and the problems that can and do begin to happen....
As far as how I look? I don't dye my hair and never have. I've never had any kind of plastic surgery or shots or whatever they do---of botox or collagen....I earned every line in my face...And I am not going to erase the patina of my life. I'm overweight...too bad. But as long as it isn't causing me other Health Problems I am NOT going to deny myself anything I want to eat. I understand moderation. I don't look in the mirror a whole lot and I'm content with that....

I'm with you about living in the moment, whatever that moment is--And I am not against nostalogia or looking back and savoring the good times, but I want to savor as much 'good time' as possible, right now!
The Worshiping of Youth thing in this country is really nuts! We should be honoring all our 'elders' and cherishing them for who and what they are....A great example of that is Maya Angelou....She is BEAUTIFUL, inside and out!

Darlene said...

Illusions are fed my Madison Avenue and we should resist the siren song of being forever young. Truth to tell, it wasn't all that great.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Having been a student of A Course in Miracles in the 80s and 90s, I really "got" the illusion/reality beliefs that are common in Buddhism and Hinduism.

Our conditioning, cultural and otherwise, forever colors what is real and not real. It's all about perception.

Good post, as always. I liked this link: http://www.buddhistbelief.com/buddhist-belief/buddhist-belief-everything-is-illusion