Dec 18, 2008 by


Have you ever been the perpetrator of an illusion? I’m not talking about the David Blaine or Chris Angel type of illusion (actually I am but I’ll explain that in a minute). I’m talking about an illusion where the truth was obscured and the only thing that mattered is what other people believed for the moment.

I guess this is a follow up to my pretty lies post since an illusion is just a lie that serves our immediate need (ie. we wave our magic wands and for a second others believe that we can walk on water, or make an elephant disappear, or …).

I’m seeing it more and more. People crafting words, situations, interactions to hide an underlying truth. So, I guess the question I have is:

“Do we create illusions not for others, but to hide from ourselves?” and of course the next question … “Do we create illusions to make our true selves disappear?”

We use euphemistic language to hide real underlying conditions (just see George Carlin’s discussion on euphemisms), and we use illusions to hide the truth from others and from ourselves. That’s the tough one … the pretty lie … because the true is so hard to see … it is so tough to look into the mirror that we actually create magic to hide the elephant in the room. It’s easier to make it look like we disappeared than it is to see/acknowledge the truth.

And it is ingrained in our culture. In many cultures … saving face (hiding the truth via illusions of happiness so others don’t see the problems) … euphemisms … it has almost come to the point where people expect illusions.

So here is the test … here is the challenge …

When you find yourself doing something only for the benefit of what someone else believes at the moment … STOP …

STOP the illusion … do what Penn and Teller have done for years … draw back the curtain and expose the trick … expose the illusion and see what happens when people see the man behind the curtain … And not just people, but see what happens when you see behind the illusion …

See you on the wire

– Steven Cardinale

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