Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No One Sees Reality

We would rather be ruined than changed.
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the present
And let our illusions die.
--WH Auden, The Age of Anxiety

Me: Dad, I am so disillusioned.

Dad: It means you have been disabused of an illusion. ‘Good riddance’ is usually the best response. 

Parents told you that you were stupid, smart, beautiful, ugly duckling, adopted, a surprise, unwanted, special, didn’t talk to you, always this, never that, in trouble, forgiven, condemned, full of potential, will never amount to anything, Dad was there, not there, encouraging, mean, a Republican, Mom was drunk, nurturing, distant, wise, uninterested, a Democrat, They were happy, sad, fulfilled, strangers, fought a lot, laughed a lot, this is Right, that is Wrong, House was filled with laughter, screaming, silence, music, sound of TV, We were poor, rich, middle class, First Romance, he was kind, told me I was dumb, was funny, abusive, she was affectionate, smart, abandoned me, cheated on me, better than me, Movies, magazines, literature, music, School is challenging, exciting, boring, terrifying, mean Teachers, stellar teachers, teachers who told you to go to college, forget college, maybe the military will take you, friends killed in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, President assassinated, his brother, as well, MLK struck down, Watergate, it’s Summer in America, sex in the White House, 9/11, Sex is evil, sex is same as shaking hands, sex is sacred, Marriage is a blessing, a suicide pact, too risky, Sacred texts are authoritative, foolishness, restrictive, liberating, way to God, God loves us, doesn’t care, is Santa Clause, there is no God, Friends were loyal, betrayed you, had secret agendas, you had no friends, the American Dream, nightmare, you Get Ahead by hard work and intelligence, cheating, being a victim, Wealth is a blessing that comes through industriousness, spending far less than you make, savings, made by ripping off people, my Internal Conversations were positive, full of self-hatred, confusing, sexual, mindless, fearful, hopeful, about how wonderful, stupid, boring, exciting, people are. And then you’re 18 years old and leaving home with some spiffy eyeglasses through which you see, evaluate, and interpret both the internal and external world in which you live.

You have never been totally objective in your life. All of us have filters, biases, and blind spots. Our entire personal history has been used to warp and skew our perspective. Those who pretend otherwise are whistling past the cemetery or have an acute case of arrested development.
You have never been totally objective in your life. You walked out into the world wearing a pair of glasses that you didn’t even know existed. “This is the way the world works, that is how people are, this is what “love” means, “success” is defined thusly.” And due to the magical nature of these glasses, everything you see confirms what you have always thought!
You have never been totally objective in your life. When making your decisions you never had all the facts, and the facts you did have were morphed into whatever you needed them to be so as to get what you wanted or escape what you feared. The surest way to go wrong in our decision-making is to presume we are not wearing glasses or to sanctimoniously act as if ours are perfectly clear.
No one sees reality: at best all we have is a view that approximates reality. The more we check our filters and biases via feedback from experiences (such as our souls screaming at us), research, other people (especially those wearing glasses different from ours), and adjust them as needed, the closer we can come to dealing with reality, and to making the wisest decisions possible for our spiritual and psychological health, and our future welfare.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2012 


  1. Dear Mr Wilson

    With my perfectly clear glasses on I just read this post. My objective opinion is that I hate you and what you have written here! Seriously, I wish I had been disabused of many of my illusions when I was still young. But they were so comforting that I refused to let them go until painful realities forced me to check my glasses. Thank you so much for putting words to my experiences and helping me to understand what is happening to me.

  2. Just recently I put together a new line of logic.
    Opinions are the essence of our being.
    With our whole being, from the time we are conceived, we are forming opinions about reality.
    Opinions freely boil within our souls.
    By the time we are toddlers, we have formed 100's of thousands of opinions, and these become the foundation of the matrix of our belief system, or "truth," of what life is all about.
    Then along come adults, and then, we become one of them. The mind now rules. The soul becomes childish. Opinions are no longer welcome.
    "Well, I believe..." is the new mantra. Yet, we ache continuously with uncertainty. Opinions are still boiling in our souls.
    "Keep your opinions to yourself, ...because I said so!" Quietly, we settle for living a life of desparation.
    How do we get ahead? From the "Art of Possibility," rule #6 applies, "Quit taking yourself so damn serious."
    Rule #6 is the way to success, taken with generous doses of curiosity. Risk your opinions, and be heard!
    As for absolute truth, I think that's why god and gods have kept showing up in cultures around the world.
    Can a god really understand? Maybe, if he becomes one of us, too.
    That's what has been said about the Jew named Jesus.