The history of mankind was rich with conflicts, sometimes quite bloody, between gunslingers, Illusion and Reality. Simple to grasp but difficult to understand, the jury was still out on the ultimate victor in the conflict. Unsurprisingly, soon enough, the two found themselves on the throes of yet another confrontation.
Only this time, they decided to give dialogue a chance. Illusion felt that the exchange couldn’t alter Reality. Reality thought Illusion was full of himself.
Reality couldn’t fathom Illusion’s difficulty in acknowledging his existence. As most humans tended to gravitate to those that reflected their self-image, Reality found patrons among the know-it-alls, whose knowledge of Reality was beyond reproach. He felt most at home in the company of (over)confident humans who proclaimed a thorough and complete understanding of nearly everything. No topic seemed beyond reach for this motley group, who frequently liked reminding listeners of their erudition. The group’s language was replete with absolutist statements (‘I know, because I have seen this world’, ‘this has to be this way’…), where doubt struggled to find a dwelling. The group exhibited admirable humility in the company of fellow cognoscenti but in the company of lesser fortunates, the veneer of humility gave way to jactitation.
Illusion cast a skeptical mind on most things around him. Illusion felt that humans overestimated their capacity for knowledge, often confusing him for Reality. The mistaken identity was a major reason behind his grumpiness. He felt that several activities that humans indulged in were excursions in belief. At this juncture, the spokespersons for the Sciences – Physics and Mathematics – made an appearance and from their countenance it was apparent that they hadn’t taken kindly to Illusion’s statements. Illusion paid obeisance to Physics and Mathematics, but remained doubtful and confessed to being amused at humans’ insatiable desire to brand beliefs as Science.
Great many walks of life beyond the world of Natural Sciences were offshoots of Belief and fuzziness. Religion, Astrology, Behavioural ‘Sciences’, Psychology, Economics…Illusion brandished a weighty Rolodex. Illusion was constantly amazed at Man’s belief in his infallibility in the powers of knowledge. An illusion of knowing was worse than honest ignorance. While evolution was successful in its battle against ignorance, vast swathes still remained under ignorance’s rule. Economics and statistics were particularly sore nerves for Illusion. The elegant looking but illusory adornment of behaviour in mathematical equations had inflicted significant economic damage on society. Yet, despite repeated disasters, humans were loath to question their Illusion of Reality.
Reality blamed Perception.
Poor Perception was perennially caught in the crossfire. Weary of serving two demanding Masters, Perception had come to exhibit multiple personality symptoms. Illusion opined that Perception was Reality, Reality retorted that Perception was (an) Illusion. This alternating verbal duel pushed Perception closer to his new Master, Belief. Belief, gradually, took particular care in helping Perception establish permanent residence in the house of Dogma, who was a welcoming host.
With Perception out of the picture, Illusion and Reality invoked the cousins; Rationality and Irrationality. The latter was the larger of the two and often exhibited a fondness for violence. The former was regarded as a reasonable fellow but only up to a point. Although they were pressed into service to resolve Illusion and Reality’s dilemma, the cousins soon began duelling themselves. After minor altercations, Irrationality accused Rationality of assuming his character; while Rationality wished Irrationality could assume his. This character swap was viewed as the ultimate expression of disparagement.
Illusion and Reality, almost simultaneously, had an epiphany.
The realisation hit them like a ton of bricks, triggering an identity crisis.
Was it likely that, in actuality, Reality was Illusion and Illusion, Reality?