Persisting in Delusion

“It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” — Carl Sagan

Is this true? When it comes to the cosmic universe, perhaps. When it comes to our personal universe, is it better to persist in delusion? Isn’t that what a dream is, a delusion? The dream might be attainable with luck and hard work, in which case it’s not a delusion. If it is not attainable, is it better to hold on to the dream or is it better to persist in delusion?

I used to think reality was important — I spent my life trying to get down to the rock bottom of “what is” (as opposed to what we think is). I studied particle physics and quantum mechanics (for fun, can you imagine that?) and discovered that every particle can be divided into smaller particles and those particles can be divided, until what you end up is nothing. Or a wave. Or a thought. Or something that changes every time you look at it.

Now I don’t know if reality is all it’s cracked up to be. If our perceptions can change “what is” at the quantum level, perhaps it can change life at the macro level where we live. If so, it might be better to persist in delusion.

I explore this theme of delusion (or illusion, which perhaps comes down to the same thing) in all of my books: What is truth? What is reality? Who are we, really — are we our memories, our experiences, our dreams? And I still don’t have an answer.

So what does this have to do with my Daughter Am I blog tour? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps I am deluding myself that what I am doing will increase sales, increase name recognition, increase my network of friends. (The last is not a delusion — I am making new contacts.) And if this tour turns out to be some cosmic illusion, is it still worth persisting? Of course it is. It’s the doing that’s important — the quest.

Very strange — these are the thoughts that usually strike me late at night, and here it is early afternoon. Must have something to do with all those late nights. Or maybe it’s just an illusion.

Today I am guesting at Alan Baxter’s blog, talking about writing tools. You know the ones I mean — hammers and chisels. Please stop by and say hi. At least there, the talk is much more concrete.  You can find me here — Alan Baxter: The Word.

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8 Responses to “Persisting in Delusion”

  1. Alan Says:

    I like delusion. I trade in it! :)

  2. joylene Says:

    This is going to sound weird, but I understand exactly what you’re talking about. Last year I would have chalked it up to my age. My era. My peers and I who are all a result of the 60s. Didn’t we learn to question everything and anything back then? Didn’t we look for answers in the delusional state of being? Aren’t we responsible for bringing meditation, transcendental and all that other ’60’s stuff to our side of the world?

    Everything is irrelevant if you’re not connected to this reality. Look how many more people are out on the streets having full blown conversations with somebody in their heads? There’s not enough room in this window to go into it entirely, and who would want me to? Suffice to say all that matters is how you feel inside while you do all this crazy marketing. If you’re happy, at peace or simply content, then kudos to you. If this hard work isn’t fun and it makes you a lot of money, well, there’s something terribly sad and wrong with this picture.

    That’s the wonderful thing about our power over our brains. We can stop the bad thoughts. If this marketing, book touring, virtual exists seems a waste of time, because that’s what somebody else thinks, just wipe that thought from your brain. OR… stop doing what you’re doing.

    It’s so simple. Ask yourself at any even moment in your daily routine: Am I at peace with what I’m doing?

    The answer will dictate what to do next.

    And if you’re honest with yourself, it’s near to impossible to be delusional while being present.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Joylene, not only are you my promotional guru, you’re turning into my guru guru! What a great way of looking at things: “Am I at peace with what I am doing?” And you’ve given me something new to think about: the impossibility of being delusional while being present. Hmmm.

      Thank you so much for indulging me in my philosophical whimsy.

  3. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Not sure about delusion, but I’m sure illusion is vital to reality. It’s the lens we use to see what we can’t see – the way we recognize the great unknown without letting it overwhelm us – or just the literary version of wave-particle theory. (I did those classes too!)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Wow, Sheila, between you and Joylene, I have an entirely different way of looking at things. I think you’re right — illusion is vital to reality. I’d come to the conclusion that illusion was vital to sanity, but vital to reality? Yes. That too.

  4. Ana Says:

    Dear Pat,
    I found your blog on the top 50 best at Networked Blogs.
    Like joylene mentioned, I also feel that the answer in acknowledging our reality is in how we are experiencing our being in that moment and that ties in with the greater peace inside ourselfs as we are channelling ourselfs through what we create.

    I don’t think defining what is reality matters, as what counts is your very essence in that experience. That usually determines your very presence creating your own reality, and like joylene also said it is vital when you are honest as that is your very presence. :)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Ana, top fifty? Wow! I had no idea. Just goes to show that reality exists outside of our own perceptions.

      I do need to work more at being in the moment. I do quite well, and then unpleasant realities start poking at me, and I begin to worry.

      Perhaps it’s time I started writing again. It’s hard not to be in the moment when one is writing.

      Thank you for stopping by! It was nice chatting with you.


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