Are there degrees of illusion?
Beyond any shadow of doubt.
All of our sensations of reality are illusion in a sense.
The model that our brains build of reality and present to us as our experiential reality are necessarily simplified approximations to the real thing itself.
As we develop ever more complex conceptual models, we are able to gain ever closer approximations to reality, and become aware of ever more diverse realms of possibility (things not yet in reality which may be bought into reality in by particular processes).
All people start with simple binary approximations to things that are in most cases infinite spectra – ideas like truth & good, if taken literally, are essentially illusion.
Kant knew that it was illusion, but didn’t know exactly how the illusion was constructed.
Now we can fill in all the blanks (at least in terms of large scale systems common to all people, if not in the vast differences in minutiae that make each of us who we are).
And one needs to be a bit more exact in the definition of the term reality – as Kant was.
There is the underlying reality, of which we as conscious entities can have no direct experience, because as conscious entities all we can experience is the electrical activities of brain (many of which are formed as a model of that underlying reality).
Then there is our experiential reality – that which we experience as conscious entities, which is mediated through the model that our brains construct.
We can influence the model our brain constructs, and therefore our experiential reality, far more easily than we can influence the underlying reality.
This all seems clear, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt.
Our bodies, with their brains and the models within those brains, all seem to exist in a reality to which our only conscious access is via the model in our brains.
Within that brain we experience not simply the model of reality, but also all of the meaning we bring to the experience of the model, all of the emotions, all of our declarations, all of our relationships with others (as mediated through our model), all of our ascribed intentions, all of our dramas, etc.
This seems to be the most accurate description of mechanisms of what it is to be a human being.
I am familiar with that historical “cycle”.
It seems to me that it can be “broken” by the unifying elements of a conceptual understanding of the foundations of experience, most particularly the experience of love. But before getting there, one has to take the first baby steps, into the structure of the systems that support experience of any sort.
I care about knowledge of the real world for it is the physics and chemistry of the real world that sustain the systems that allow our bodies to build the models that allow us to emerge in the first place.
As I see it, it is only by creating systems in that realm that give every person the freedom to explore the other realms, that we are going to make significant progress.
There is a clear logical sequence of priorities here.
Sort out the physical needs, which then allows focus on the spiritual needs.
It will not be a rapid process (as in days), but rather one measured in years, perhaps decades.
That idea of permanent and unchanging is very old.
It infects most of the thought of antiquity (from the Vedas to the Greeks).
From my understanding there doesn’t appear to be anything permanent and unchanging in reality.
Reality seems to be a process of constant change, constant becoming.
Reality for me is simply that which seems to exist beyond the sensations of the senses, whatever that may be.
In some aspects we seem to have very reliable information as to what that “reality” may be, and in other aspects it seems it will remain forever uncertain.
We seem to be part of that reality, and we also seem able to model aspects of that reality within our brains, and within the consciousness within those brains.
So we are of the world and connected to the world, and distinct within that – in the same was as a flower or a rock is of the world and distinct.
For me, while there is a certain beauty to the logic of the ancients and their notions of truth and reality, those notions clearly fail to hold up in the light of our modern experience and the tools and results from the use of those tools of the modern scientific enquiry into the nature of existence.
And to be very clear – I make no certain and absolute claims about the nature of reality, all of my claims are in shape of probability functions, with probabilities much higher in realms I am familiar with than in realms with which I am less familiar.