17 September, 2013

It Really Is Just An Illusion

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain," spoke the actor Frank Morgan in his immortal role as the Wizard of Oz in the 1939 film of the same name.

When we heard that - even for the first time - we knew exactly what was going on. We knew that someone was trying to fool someone else. It was so transparent, but it's not always so obvious.

Look at this.

What do you see? I don't know about you, but I don't see perfect concentric circles - no matter how hard I try. This is, however, what is there. Four perfect circles.

Such illusions have always been problematic for philosophers and scientists - especially centuries ago. For millennia we believed the psyche was a faithful reproduction of the real world, that there was a one-to-one correlation. It's perhaps less of a puzzle today, but it is still a challenge to explain the apparent incongruity between sensation (the four circles your eyes see) and perception (whatever those things are that your mind thinks you see). Usually I can 'defeat' illusions with enough concentration, but this one is overpowering. I know the truth of it, but I just can't get myself to see it.

That must be what is going on in America today where good hearted people - strong and true - refuse to believe what they know must be true. They continue to buy into the misrepresentations of those who got us into this mess. I don't want to oversimplify nor do I want to single out any one group. There is plenty of blame to go around.

But I ran out of patience with these governmental hypocrites long ago, and I fear I am beginning to give up on my fellow citizens as well. At some point you have to ask to be treated like an adult and to be given the truth. Demand it. Insist that they stop giving you what you want to hear. Stop with the illusions which I admit are mildly amusing and feel good, but they serve only to distort the reality of a precarious time in our history.