Reinforcing the Illusion

Last week, I mentioned the idea of the world as we see it being an illusion. I think that there’s a bit more to be said on this. It’s very easy to interpret this as a thing that happens purely in the individuals head, but I think it’s important to realise the outside factors that weigh in on this.

In my eyes, the world of illusion that the Buddha warns us about (or “Maya”) is more like a shared illusion, a dream we all agreed to have.  The illusion is reinforced by others, no matter how well meaning. We’re educated and raised into it from the cradle, our very language a construct. Weights, measures and moral values are all imparted, though all of this is a construct of the Human mind. If you don’t believe me, then ask yourself if a remote people might measure with pounds and ounces? Even in the west we have both Imperial and Metric systems.

The illusions that surround us are reinforced by society and by our fellows, try to hold values that differ from the crowd and see how far you get against peer pressure. The state and the media reinforce things too, it’s worth looking at the language used in news articles; the tone of words and phrasing used to push the message. It’s subtle at times, but still there.

We have 24 hour news, RSS feeds, social media; the pulse and the reinforcement is constant and insistent. The Buddha awakened in the 6th century BCE, I can’t help but wonder if he’d manage it today?

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