The Illusions All Around Us

 

Chicago is hosting NATO.
…and just like that, I along with many other Chicagoans found out just how little what we want or would like to have…really matters.  In the end, we’re all treated like a potential protestor or threat.

It’s very interesting how a privilege given, can so easily be a privilege taken away.
…and the ease with which it is taken causes me to wonder whether the privilege really does exist.

As a result, this causes me to question much more…

Could it be true that the freedoms and privileges we enjoy are just an illusion?

Well, that’s a tough question and not easily answered, but after serious reflection, I have deducted that it does appear we are completely surrounded by illusions.

So as to be clear…when I use the word ‘illusion’ I mean it in the form of the word that is defined as follows:

  • perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature

My reflection brought to mind 7 unique areas that serve as simple illusions we subscribe to everyday.

These illusions fall into the following categories:

  • Safety
  • Trust
  • Truth
  • Cleanliness
  • Beauty
  • Insurance
  • Control

Safety

Safety is an illusion. Based on the statistics you’re better off parachuting from a plane to get to work everyday rather than driving. Driving is far more dangerous.

In 2008, I was headed to India right after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. My family and friends tried to discourage me from going because they were concerned for my safety.

Funny thing is…I live in Chicago where the murder rate exceeds that of every major city in all of India.  According to the numbers I was better of leaving. I left.  (Obviously since it’s 2012, and I’m writing this thought, I came back okay.)

Trust

Trust can be an illusion.  Just because you believe you can trust someone or something doesn’t mean you can.  We trust that our food is safe.  We trust that when our food says ‘All Natural‘ it actually is.  Most of the major food and drink corporations have broken our trust, but we still eat their food.  I find it interesting that we continue to go back to these dishonest companies, yet we would stop talking to a long time friend if they acted with the same type of integrity.

Truth

“The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind Coca Cola” was published near the end of 2010.  Given the number of us that drink Coca Cola products you would think this would have been #1 on the bestseller’s list.

Not quite…

Because to know the truth means we have to change a habit.  Thus…we ignored this book and kept drinking Coca Cola.  Sad thing is we would most assuredly read a book titled, “The Dirty Truth About Your Co-Worker”.  Funny how we invite that which hasn’t been proven true for truth.

Cleanliness

What happens from the time you use a public bathroom stall up to the time you wash your hands (if you do).  How filthy must our clothes be?  Yikes!

Some time ago I heard one of the filthiest single items in an office was the ‘lobby’ button in an elevator.  Everybody touches it…whether they’ve washed their hands or not.  Oh…don’t fret…if it hasn’t killed you yet you’ll be fine.

Beauty

The illusion that many of us chase.  That super model doesn’t look like that after she washes the make up off her face.  Just like you and I…she’s got blemishes…difference is she gets photo-shopped. Our pics are just point and shoot, then upload to Facebook! Ugh! (Shout out to Instagram!)

Insurance

Do I really have to explain this one?  Most of us are covered for the small things, but let something big happen…all of a sudden we’re not covered for that.  “Sir…what did you mean you didn’t know?  You should have read the very small print!”

Control

Control is an illusion. All to often we believe that our safety, success and peace of mind depends solely on our own actions.  Well it does help, but unfortunately no one person is completely independent of another.  Case and point; the person pulling up behind you at the stoplight…their attention to detail in that moment can completely change your day, your weekend or even your life.

No matter how you put it…somehow we’re all connected.  Thus your control is limited.

We’ve all heard the cliché expression…
“The grass is greener on the other side.”
Yet people always seem to want to go to the other side…
That’s the power of an illusion.

With so many illusions around us its important to really hone in and appreciate what is real.

The hand that rubs your back when you need to be comforted…that’s real!
The tight and warm embrace of a loved one…that’s real!
The welcoming warmth and moisture of a kiss on the cheek…that’s real!
The grip of the hand that squeezes your hand to pull you up…that’s real!

The person you call when you need to talk…
The therapy of being heard and listened too…
The love of a mom…no matter how imperfect she may be…
That’s real.

Take time to be grateful for the things that are real… for they provide comfort, protection and joy in a world of so many illusions.

One thought on “The Illusions All Around Us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *