Everything in consciousness must be an illusion.
If that’s true (and I think it must be), then what is real?
In “Waking Up,” Sam Harris says: When you examine something carefully, and it changes, that’s a sign that it might be an illusion.
He encourages readers to examine “the self” to see if it’s an illusion or not.
I examined my idea of self, and I found it to be an illusion. YMMV.
But if the self is also an illusion, then what is real?
The way to find out—if there is a way—is the same. Examine an illusion carefully, and you may see the reality that lies behind it.
Magic tricks are well-crafted illusions. Magicians are properly called “illusionists.”
Excellent tricks remain illusions even when examined carefully by people who don’t know the trick. But once you know what to look for, the reality behind the illusion is often quickly revealed.
Seeing through an illusion may not make any difference.
Knowing how an illusion is created might take away the fun.
But it might also reveal new ways of interacting with the world.
Carefully examining the illusions present in conscious experience may reveal a useful underlying reality.
Or it may be a waste of time.
My money (and time) is on “useful.”
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