Normal Is An Illusion Quotes

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Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.
Charles Addams
Seth gave her that: a private space to believe in the illusion of normalcy.
Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1))
You live your life and continue with all of your normal activities. I'll keep you safe," he said stepping forward to sweep a lock of hair back from her face. "Or die trying.
Aprilynne Pike (Illusions (Wings, #3))
In the terms of 'Mental Illness' Isn't stable a place they put horses that wish to run free?
Stanley Victor Paskavich
The revealed and mystic literature of mankind bears ample testimony to the fact that religious experience has been too enduring and dominant in the history of mankind to be rejected as mere illusion. There seems to be no reason, then, to accept the normal level of human experience as fact and reject its other levels as mystical and emotional.
Muhammad Iqbal (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam)
I have a strange illusion quite often. I think I've become deaf. I have to make a little noise to prove I'm not. I clear my throat to show myself that everything is normal. It's like the little Japanese girl they found in the ruins of Hiroshima. Everything dead; and she was singing to her doll.
John Fowles (The Collector)
Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. -Morticia Adams
Lani Lynn Vale (Another One Bites the Dust (Freebirds, #3))
What a strange thing it is to wake up to a milk-white overcast June morning! The sun is hidden by a thick cotton blanket of clouds, and the air is vapor-filled and hazy with a concentration of blooming scent. The world is somnolent and cool, in a temporary reprieve from the normal heat and radiance. But the sensation of illusion is strong. Because the sun can break through the clouds at any moment . . . What a soft thoughtful time. In this illusory gloom, like a night-blooming flower, let your imagination bloom in a riot of color.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
It was only vanity and discouragement that sometimes made me feel alone with my endless love, but now that I was taking one of the risks my heart had urged upon me I could also feel I was not alone. If endless love was a dream, then it was a dream we all shared, even more than we all shared the dream of never dying or of traveling through time, and if anything set me apart it was not my impulses but my stubbornness, my willingness to take the dream past what had been agreed upon as the reasonable limits, to declare that this dream was not a feverish trick of the mind but was an actuality at least as real as that other, thinner, more unhappy illusion we call normal life. After all, the intimations of endless love were the same now as they were thousands of years before, while normal life had changed a thousand times and in a thousand different ways. Which then, was more real?
Scott Spencer (Endless Love)
If endless love was a dream, then it was a dream we all shared, even more that we all shared the dream of never dying or traveling through time, and if anything set me apart it was not my impulses but my stubbornness, my willingness to take the dream past what had been agreed upon as the reasonable limits, to declare that this dream was not a feverish trick of the mind but was an actuality at least as real as that other, thinner more unhappy illusion we call normal life.
Scott Spencer (Endless Love)
After Carol had left, as Symons threw away a pile of used tissues and rearranged the cushions on the couch, he remarked that the most common and unhelpful illusion plaguing those who came to see him [as a career counselor] was the idea that they ought somehow, in the normal course of events, to have intuited--long before they had finished their degrees, started families, bought houses and risen to the top of law firms--what they should properly be doing with their lives. They were tormented by a residual notion of having through some error or stupidity on their part missed out on their true 'calling.
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
Illusions, distortions, and self-deception appear to be integral to the way normal, well-adjusted people perceive the world. Seeing things as they really are is associated with depression and low self-esteem.
Roy F. Baumeister (Meanings of Life)
When the horror recedes and the world resumes its normal shape, you cannot forget it. You have seen what is "really" there, the empty horror that exists when the consoling illusion of our mundane experience is stripped away, so you can never respond to the world in quite the same way again." from Coleridge: Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turned round walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows, a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread
Karen Armstrong (The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness)
Normality is an illusion, created by a conservative culture to control behaviour
Merlyn Gabriel Miller (Sex, Death, Drugs & Madness (Culture is not your friend, Part one))
Real love doesn’t make you suffer. How could it? It doesn’t suddenly turn into hate, nor does real joy turn into pain. As I said, even before you are enlightened — before you have freed yourself from your mind — you may get glimpses of true joy, true love, or of a deep inner peace, still but vibrantly alive. These are aspects of your true nature, which is usually obscured by the mind. Even within a “normal” addictive relationship, there can be moments when the presence of something more genuine, something incorruptible, can be felt. But they will only be glimpses, soon to be covered up again through mind interference. It may then seem that you had something very precious and lost it, or your mind may convince you that it was all an illusion anyway. The truth is that it wasn’t an illusion, and you cannot lose it. It is part of your natural state, which can be obscured but can never be destroyed by the mind. Even when the sky is heavily overcast, the sun hasn’t disappeared. It’s still there on the other side of the clouds.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish “the illusion of individuality,” but in fact they have been to a great extent deindividualized. Their conformity is developing into something like uniformity. But “uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
The past is a distant, receding coastline, and we are all in the same boat. Along the stern rail there is a line of telescopes; each brings the shore into focus at a given distance. If the boat is becalmed, one of the telescopes will be in continual use; it will seem to tell the whole, the unchanging truth. But this is an illusion; and as the boat sets off again, we return to our normal activity: scurrying from one telescope to another, seeing the sharpness fade in one, waiting for the blur to clear in another. And when the blur does clear, we imagine that we have made it do so all by ourselves.
Julian Barnes (Flaubert's Parrot)
They’re just different in brains that are neurologically different, regardless of which way the comparison is made. Or, as Charles Addams put it, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” No matter who’s the fly and who’s the spider, it still makes sense.
Jennifer O'Toole (Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum)
Whether or not Houdini is my father, whether or not my mother loves me, I would still be me. A girl who loves magic. A girl with strange abilities. I will never be a normal girl. But maybe, just maybe, that's all right.
Teri Brown (Born of Illusion (Born of Illusion, #1))
If you become a king, you will be excited for a few days. Then you will become used to it. A new normal will set in. There will be exciting days, depressing days and mostly normal days. The net joy and sorrow will be same as you have now. Understand this illusion and enjoy the present moment.
Shunya
Even if there are moments during the day when all seems normal and when every action of your own and of those around you seems to be unremarkable, the appearance of ordinariness is an illusion, and just below the placid surface, the world is seething.
Dean Koontz (Deeply Odd (Odd Thomas, #6))
In his book Sickness Unto Death, Søren Kierkegaard says, it is the normal state of the human heart to try to build its identity around something besides God.2 Spiritual pride is the illusion that we are competent to run our own lives, achieve our own sense of self-worth and find a purpose big enough to give us meaning in life without God.
Timothy J. Keller (The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness)
So there you have it: hearing voices at sea is not a pathological condition. It’s quite normal. Welcome to the world of illusions at sea. Of mirages, looming, towering, stooping and sinking. Of moons that change size, suns that change shape, horizons that bend, lights that change colour, and sounds that play hide and seek. Of waves that speak, ships that effervesce and whales that turn into baby elephants. For the sea has a lobsterpot full of tricks and illusions to confuse and beguile even the most rational 21st century sailor.
Nic Compton (Off the Deep End: A History of Madness at Sea)
Normalcy is an illusion, of course,” said William Spiver. “There is no normal.
Kate DiCamillo (Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures)
Everything one used to take for granted, with so much certainty that one never even bothered to enquire about it, now turns out to be illusion. Your certainties are proven lies. And what happens if you start probing? Must you learn a wholly new language first? 'Humanity'. Normally one uses it as a synonym for compassion; charity; decency; integrity. 'He is such a human person.' Must one now go in search of an entirely different set of synonyms: cruelty; exploitation; unscrupulousness; or whatever?
André Brink
When human beings are deprived of their normal freedom of movement, they need to latch onto any shred of hope. As long as there is some action to take or some solution to explore, even if those options ultimately come to naught, the mere illusion of possibility can keep people from tumbling into the abyss of despair.
Mariko Koike (The Graveyard Apartment)
Jung has said that to be in a situation where there is no way out, or to be in a conflict where there is no solution, is the classical beginning of the process of individuation. It is meant to be a situation without solution: the unconscious wants the hopeless conflict in order to put ego-consciousness up against the wall, so that the man has to realise that whatever he does is wrong, whichever way he decides will be wrong. This is meant to knock out the superiority of the ego, which always acts from the illusion that it has the responsibility of decision. Naturally, if a man says, "Oh well, then I shall just let everything go and make no decision, but just protract and wriggle out of [it]," the whole thing is equally wrong, for then naturally nothing happens. But if he is ethical enough to suffer to the core of his personality, then generally because of the insolubility of the conscious situation, the Self manifests. In religious language you could say that the situation without issue is meant to force the man to rely on an act of God. In psychological language the situation without issue, which the anima arranges with great skill in a man's life, is meant to drive him into a condition in which he is capable of experiencing the Self. When thinking of the anima as the soul guide, we are apt to think of Beatrice leading Dante up to Paradise, but we should not forget that he experienced that only after he had gone through Hell. Normally, the anima does not take a man by the hand and lead him right up to Paradise; she puts him first into a hot cauldron where he is nicely roasted for a while.
Marie-Louise von Franz (The Interpretation of Fairy Tales)
Our "increasing mental sickness" may find expres­sion in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are con­spicuous and extremely distressing. But "let us beware," says Dr. Fromm, "of defining mental hygiene as the prevention of symptoms. Symptoms as such are not our enemy, but our friend; where there are symp­toms there is conflict, and conflict always indicates that the forces of life which strive for integration and happiness are still fighting." The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. "Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been si­lenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does." They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their per­fect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish "the illusion of indi­viduality," but in fact they have been to a great extent deindividualized. Their conformity is developing into something like uniformity. But "uniformity and free­dom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
Has anyone ever owned your body? Because that's how it would be between us." He bit her earlobe and sucked it into his mouth, savoring her taste, her scent, before continuing, "If you were mine, it would appear to the world as if you had a normal life, you might even feel as if your days were your own. But that would be an illusion; it wouldn't be just fucking with you and me. If you ever made the mistake of sleeping with me, it wouldn't be just sex. So, I'm warning you now. I'd own you. I'd own your body; I'd own your orgasms. I'd strip you naked, spread you wide and play with your body to my satisfaction before I'd ever let you experience release. Don't get me wrong, you wouldn't ever want to get away from me, but sweetheart, your life as you know it would be over. So before you ever let me sweet talk you into bed, understand that I'm just a little bit insane when it comes to you. It's the reason I've never put a move on you before, and it's the reason I'm going to let you slip away untouched tonight. I'm going to try my fucking best to stay away from you, but I don't know how long I'll be able to manage it. So if I come at you sometime in the future lying through my teeth and telling you it'll only be for fun, don't you fucking believe me.
Lynda Chance (Rule's Obsession (The House of Rule, #1))
All spiritual techniques seek to awaken fallen man from the dream in which he lives : he dreams continuously of individual state of being, and of the many forms through which the external world presents itself to him; he builds for himself a paradise of illusions, so as to forget the absence of God. To recover the vision of the spiritual world, the soul of man must "die" to this dream, this ceaseless flow of images which fallen man regards as normal, everyday state of his consciousness.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Science and Civilization in Islam)
Sometimes,’ she said, ‘I think I must have invented him.’ I know all I want to about your child,’ Chauvin said harshly. Anne Desbaresdes moaned again, louder than before. Again she put her hand on the table. His eyes followed her movement and finally, painfully, he understood and lifted his own leaden hand and placed it on hers. Their hands were so cold they were touching only in intention, an illusion, in order for this to be fulfilled, for the sole reason that it should be fulfilled, none other, it was no longer possible. And yet, with their hands frozen in this funereal pose, Anne Desbaresdes stopped moaning. One last time,’ she begged, ‘tell me about it one last time.’ Chauvin hesitated, his eyes somewhere else, still fixed on the back wall. Then he decided to tell her about it as if it were a memory. He had never dreamed, before meeting her, that he would one day want anything so badly.’ And she acquiesced completely?’ Wonderfully.’ Anne Desbaresdes looked at Chauvin absently. Her voice became thin, almost childlike. I'd like to understand why his desire to have it happen one day was so wonderful?’ Chauvin still avoided looking at her. Her voice was steady, wooden, the voice of a deaf person. There's no use trying to understand. It's beyond understanding.’ You mean there are some things like that that can't be gone into?’ I think so.’ Anne Desbaresdes' expression became dull, almost stupid. Her lips had turned pale, they were gray and trembled as though she were on the verge of tears. She does nothing t try and stop him?’ she whispered. No. Have a little more wine.’ She sipped her wine. He also drank, and his lips on the glass were also trembling. Time,’ he said Does it take a long time, a very long time?’ Yes, a very long time. But I don't know anything.’ He lowered his voice. ‘Like you, I don't know anything. Nothing at all.’ Anne Desbaresdes forced back her tears. Her voice was normal, momentarily awake. She will never speak again,’ she said.
Marguerite Duras (Moderato Cantabile)
In normal everyday usage, "I" embodies the primordial error, a misperception of who you are, an illusory sense of identity. This is the ego. The illusory sense of self is what Albert Einstein, who had deep insights not only into the reality of space an time, but also into human nature, referred to as "an optical illusion of consciousness.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
The knowledge that the world has given you is nothing but a set of robotic commands. It has turned you into robot: What is it? Milk. What to do with it? Bring it from the shop, boil it and drink. What is it? Tree. What to do with it? Just ignore it. It is there to keep your oxygen levels normal. And so on. It has made you into robot. It has given you an illusion of freewill and choice.
Shunya
Cultural Marxism, now called "Political Correctness" is a loaded gun that one puts to their own head. The narrative illusion normalizes the abnormal and is an elitist weapon over minions for citizen vs. citizen policing for establishment control.
James Scott, Senior Fellow, Center for Cyber Influence Operations Studies
The tendencies we have mentioned are something new for America. They arose when, under the influence of the two World Wars and the consequent concentration of all forces on a military goal, a predominantly military mentality developed, which with the almost sudden victory became even more accentuated. The characteristic feature of this mentality is that people place the importance of what Bertrand Russell so tellingly terms “naked power” far above all other factors which affect the relations between peoples. The Germans, misled by Bismarck’s successes in particular, underwent just such a transformation of their mentality—in consequence of which they were entirely ruined in less than a hundred years. I must frankly confess that the foreign policy of the United States since the termination of hostilities has reminded me, sometimes irresistibly, of the attitude of Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II, and I know that, independent of me, this analogy has most painfully occurred to others as well. It is characteristic of the military mentality that non-human factors (atom bombs, strategic bases, weapons of all sorts, the possession of raw materials, etc.) are held essential, while the human being, his desires and thoughts—in short, the psychological factors—are considered as unimportant and secondary. Herein lies a certain resemblance to Marxism, at least insofar as its theoretical side alone is kept in view. The individual is degraded to a mere instrument; he becomes “human materiel.” The normal ends of human aspiration vanish with such a viewpoint. Instead, the military mentality raises “naked power” as a goal in itself—one of the strangest illusions to which men can succumb.
Albert Einstein (Essays in Humanism)
S’il s’agissait d’un autre type de relation ou de contrat, on comprendrait immédiatement que l’institution elle-même est en défaut lorsque le pourcentage d’échecs approcherait des 50%. Mais dans le cas du mariage, les gens s’efforcent d’accepter ce résultat comme inévitable sinon comme normal. L’illusion persiste.
Serge Chaumier (L'amour fissionnel : Le nouvel art d'aimer)
At the most fundamental level, the level that is the most useful for doing insight practices, we wish desperately that there was some separate, permanent self, and we spend huge amounts of time doing our best to prop up this illusion. In order to do this, we habitually ignore lots of useful information about our reality and give our mental impressions and simplifications of reality much more importance than they are necessarily due. It is this illusion that adds a problematic element to the normal and understandable ways in which we go about trying to be happy. We constantly struggle with reality because we misunderstand it, i.e. because reality misunderstands itself.
Daniel M. Ingram (Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book)
The next day was a dream of such perfection that I have never approached the like again. It was, of course, all illusion, but I like to think of it still in isolation from what came after,as a moment of bliss, one of those days when on is no longer oneself, but becomes bigger, and better, able to overcome the normal preoccupations of life and breathe more freely.
Iain Pears (Stone's Fall)
Don’t even pretend you’re normal, don’t even pretend you belong. She couldn’t see herself sitting at a table in a coffee shop while people around you talked of their ‘first world’ problems like they mattered. Like they were problems. They couldn’t comprehend what she had been through and they wouldn’t want to because it would disrupt the illusion of safety they had created.
John Hunt (Doll House)
Certain emotional influences such as peer pressure or extreme fear can cause us to alter our worldviews and change what we accept as normal. That’s what the political technique of the Overton window is all about. Create a crisis and move the window of how much freedom people are willing to do without. That’s how governments, schools, and personal relationships become oppressive.
Petros Scientia (Exposing the REAL Creation-Evolution Debate: The Absolute Proof of the Biblical Account (Real Faith & Reason Library Book 4))
Our “increasing mental sickness” may find expression in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are conspicuous and extremely distressing. But “let us beware,” says Dr. Fromm, “of defining mental hygiene as the prevention of symptoms. Symptoms as such are not our enemy, but our friend; where there are symptoms there is conflict, and conflict always indicates that the forces of life which strive for integration and happiness are still fighting.” The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. “Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish “the illusion of individuality,” but in fact they have been to a great extent deindividualized. Their conformity is developing into something like uniformity. But “uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World / Brave New World Revisited)
The physical image presentation aims at the subject. The presentation of the image itself as the presentation of the appearing image-representant is an entirely different experience. Here, too, it is possible that the consciousness of imaging can slip away entirely, in which case an ordinary perceptual presentation would result. Preventing this consciousness of imaging from arising from the start in a purely intuitive manner is the effect produced by images simulating the look of reality, images of the sort found in the wax museum, and the like. Although in such cases we have a conceptual knowledge of the fact that the appearances are merely image appearances, in the intuitive experience itself the re-presentative moment, which is otherwise intimately mingled with the appearances, is absent. But this moment is decisive for intuitive image presentation. We have genuine perceptual presentations in those cases, accompanied by the thought that their objects are mere images. The appearance itself, however, presents itself as the appearance of a present object and not as an image. Indeed, in naïvely contemplating it, the appearance forces us to make the intuitive perceptual judgment. In doing this, it deceives us. In truth, there is perhaps another (nonappearing) object, standing to the appearing object in the relation of original to image. We know all of this, and yet the illusion continues to exist, since the appearance possesses the characteristic of normal perceptual presentation so completely that it will not stand being degraded into a mere representant. The accompanying judgment that it is a mere image just does not impress the image-characteristic on the appearance itself.
Edmund Husserl (Phantasy, Image Consciousness and Memory, 1898-1925)
Sir Arthur, I have devoted a lot of time and thought to this illusion ... I won’t tell you how it was done, but I can assure you it was pure trickery. I did it by perfectly normal means. I devised it to show you what can be done along these lines. Now, I beg of you, Sir Arthur, do not jump to the conclusion that certain things you see are necessarily “supernatural,” or the work of “spirits,” just because you cannot explain them....
Harry Houdini
We are meant to go through these periods of what some refer to as positive disintegration. It is when we must adapt our self-concept to become someone who can handle, if not thrive, in the situation that we are in. This is healthy. This is normal. This is how we are supposed to respond. But we cower, because it will be uncomfortable. It will not immediately give us the virtues of what we are taught is a worthwhile life: comfort and ease and the illusion that everything is perfect on the surface. Healing is not merely what makes us feel better the fastest. It is building the right life, slowly and over time. It is greeting ourselves at the reckoning, admitting where we’ve faltered. It is going back and resolving our mistakes, and going back within ourselves and resolving the anger and fear and small-mindedness that got us there in the first place. Healing is refusing to tolerate the discomfort of change because you refuse to tolerate mediocrity for one second longer. The truth is that there is no way to escape discomfort; it finds us wherever we are. But we are either going to feel uneasy pushing past our self-imposed limits, breaking boundaries and becoming who we dream of being, or we’re going to feel it as we sit and mull over fears we fabricated to justify why we refuse to stand up and begin.
Brianna Wiest (The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into Self-Mastery)
However, questions arise. Are there people who aren't naive realists, or special situations in which naive realism disappears? My theory—the self-model theory of subjectivity—predicts that as soon as a conscious representation becomes opaque (that is, as soon as we experience it as a representation), we lose naive realism. Consciousness without naive realism does exist. This happens whenever, with the help of other, second-order representations, we become aware of the construction process—of all the ambiguities and dynamical stages preceding the stable state that emerges at the end. When the window is dirty or cracked, we immediately realize that conscious perception is only an interface, and we become aware of the medium itself. We doubt that our sensory organs are working properly. We doubt the existence of whatever it is we are seeing or feeling, and we realize that the medium itself is fallible. In short, if the book in your hands lost its transparency, you would experience it as a state of your mind rather than as an element of the outside world. You would immediately doubt its independent existence. It would be more like a book-thought than a book-perception. Precisely this happens in various situations—for example, In visual hallucinations during which the patient is aware of hallucinating, or in ordinary optical illusions when we suddenly become aware that we are not in immediate contact with reality. Normally, such experiences make us think something is wrong with our eyes. If you could consciously experience earlier processing stages of the representation of the book In your hands, the image would probably become unstable and ambiguous; it would start to breathe and move slightly. Its surface would become iridescent, shining in different colors at the same time. Immediately you would ask yourself whether this could be a dream, whether there was something wrong with your eyes, whether someone had mixed a potent hallucinogen into your drink. A segment of the wall of the Ego Tunnel would have lost its transparency, and the self-constructed nature of the overall flow of experience would dawn on you. In a nonconceptual and entirely nontheoretical way, you would suddenly gain a deeper understanding of the fact that this world, at this very moment, only appears to you.
Thomas Metzinger (The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self)
Union with God is not something we acquire by a technique but the grounding truth of our lives that engenders the very search for God. Because God is the ground of our being, the relationship between creature and Creator is such that, by sheer grace, separation is not possible. God does not know how to be absent. The fact that most of us experience throughout most of our lives a sense of absence or distance from God is the great illusion that we are caught up in; it is the human condition. The sense of separation from God is real, but the meeting of stillness reveals that this perceived separation does not have the last word. This illusion of separation is generated by the mind and is sustained by the riveting of our attention to the interior soap opera, the constant chatter of the cocktail party going on in our heads. For most of us this is what normal is, and we are good at coming up with ways of coping with this perceived separation (our consumer-driven entertainment culture takes care of much of it). But some of us are not so good at coping, and so we drink ourselves into oblivion or cut or burn ourselves “so that the pain will be in a different place and on the outside.” The grace of salvation, the grace of Christian wholeness that flowers in silence, dispels this illusion of separation. For when the mind is brought to stillness, and all our strategies of acquisition have dropped, a deeper truth presents itself: we are and have always been one with God and we are all one in God (Jn 17:21).
Martin Laird (Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation)
I should have moved to the forest long ago, I would think to myself, perhaps to the Black Forest although the place probably wasn't half as sequestered as I imagined, though no doubt there would be far fewer faces and voices, only the imperceptible cries of ants, the footsteps of spiders and the sound of trees growing. But the madness that remote places cultivate is not to be taken lightly and I've always found something particularly disquieting in madness left to quietly ferment on its own; the social functions required of us help us maintain, at the very last, an illusion of normality, and for that reason alone I had, until that point in my life, remained in the city.
Chloe Aridjis (Book of Clouds)
Dr. Mark Crisplin, a Portland, Oregon, ER doctor, reviewed the original EEG readings of a number of patients claimed by the scientists as being flatlined or “dead” and discovered that this was not at all the case. “What they showed was slowing, attenuation, and other changes, but only a minority of patients had a flat line, and it [dying] took longer than 10 seconds. The curious thing was that even a little blood flow in some patients was enough to keep EEGs normal.” In fact, most cardiac patients were given CPR, which by definition delivers some oxygen to the brain (that’s the whole point of doing it). Crisplin concluded: “By the definitions presented in the Lancet paper, nobody experienced clinical death. No doctor would ever declare a patient in the middle of a code 99 dead, much less brain dead. Having your heart stop for 2 to 10 minutes and being promptly resuscitated doesn’t make you ‘clinically dead.’ It only means your heart isn’t beating and you may not be conscious.”31 Again, since our normal experience is of stimuli coming into the brain from the outside, when one part of the brain abnormally generates these illusions, another part of the brain—quite possibly the left-hemisphere interpreter described by neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga—interprets them as external events. Hence, the abnormal is interpreted as supernormal or paranormal.
Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths)
Popular authors do not and apparently cannot appreciate the fact that true art is obtainable only by rejecting normality and conventionality in toto, and approaching a theme purged utterly of any usual or preconceived point of view. Wild and “different” as they may consider their quasi-weird products, it remains a fact that the bizarrerie is on the surface alone; and that basically they reiterate the same old conventional values and motives and perspectives. Good and evil, teleological illusion, sugary sentiment, anthropocentric psychology—the usual superficial stock in trade, and all shot through with the eternal and inescapable commonplace…. Who ever wrote a story from the point of view that man is a blemish on the cosmos, who ought to be eradicated? As an example—a young man I know lately told me that he means to write a story about a scientist who wishes to dominate the earth, and who to accomplish his ends trains and overdevelops germs … and leads armies of them in the manner of the Egyptian plagues. I told him that although this theme has promise, it is made utterly commonplace by assigning the scientist a normal motive. There is nothing outré about wanting to conquer the earth; Alexander, Napoleon, and Wilhelm II wanted to do that. Instead, I told my friend, he should conceive a man with a morbid, frantic, shuddering hatred of the life-principle itself, who wishes to extirpate from the planet every trace of biological organism, animal and vegetable alike, including himself. That would be tolerably original. But after all, originality lies with the author. One can’t write a weird story of real power without perfect psychological detachment from the human scene, and a magic prism of imagination which suffuses theme and style alike with that grotesquerie and disquieting distortion characteristic of morbid vision. Only a cynic can create horror—for behind every masterpiece of the sort must reside a driving demonic force that despises the human race and its illusions, and longs to pull them to pieces and mock them.
H.P. Lovecraft
about jobs, bosses, or unpaid electric bills. Freedom is fantastic. Yet my lifestyle is not “normal.” Like wealth, society, through its “Get Rich Slow” mandates, has defined “normal” for you. Normal is waking at 6 a.m., working eight hours at a tolerated job Monday through Friday, save 10%, and repeat for 50 years. Normal is to buy everything on credit. Normal is to believe the illusion that trusting Wall Street and their cohorts will make you rich. Normal is to believe that a faster car and a bigger house will make you happy. You’re conditioned to accept normal based on society’s corrupted definition of wealth, and because of it, normal itself is corrupted. Normal is modern-day slavery.
M.J. DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane)
CHARACTERISTICS OF SYSTEM 1 generates impressions, feelings, and inclinations; when endorsed by System 2 these become beliefs, attitudes, and intentions operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort, and no sense of voluntary control can be programmed by System 2 to mobilize attention when a particular pattern is detected (search) executes skilled responses and generates skilled intuitions, after adequate training creates a coherent pattern of activated ideas in associative memory links a sense of cognitive ease to illusions of truth, pleasant feelings, and reduced vigilance distinguishes the surprising from the normal infers and invents causes and intentions neglects ambiguity and suppresses doubt is biased to believe and confirm exaggerates emotional consistency (halo effect) focuses on existing evidence and ignores absent evidence (WYSIATI) generates a limited set of basic assessments represents sets by norms and prototypes, does not integrate matches intensities across scales (e.g., size to loudness) computes more than intended (mental shotgun) sometimes substitutes an easier question for a difficult one (heuristics) is more sensitive to changes than to states (prospect theory)* overweights low probabilities* shows diminishing sensitivity to quantity (psychophysics)* responds more strongly to losses than to gains (loss aversion)* frames decision problems narrowly, in isolation from one another*
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Holistic, unconditional love, agape, is the unity in which duality disappears. It is as if a certain internal boundary has vanished. With agape what we love is ourselves, the way a mother loves her child as herself. This is the meaning of loving another as yourself – transcending our phenomenal borders and experiencing ourselves in another and the other in, not apart from, us. Eventually, if love is comprehensive, it unites us with everything and allows us to know that we are everything. Therefore, how can we support the illusion of this isolated, separate self that is threatened by and defends itself from everything outside? Love returns us to the unity that is actually Reality. Reality is not the isolation, suspicion, envy, selfishness, and fear of loss that we have come to accept as normal; it is that we are all part of one Life. The same Spirit moves in us all. You come to know this better when you realize that we all have the same kinds of feelings, the same wish to be known and respected, to share ourselves and let down our defenses. We are continually faced with a choice between personal achievement, personal security, and comfort on the one hand, and working for the whole and helping everyone and everything toward perfection on the other. We are faced with a choice between looking out for ourselves and contributing wholeheartedly to a common good. We are faced with focusing on self-love or increasing our love of all Life. (p. 191)
Kabir Helminski (Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness & the Essential Self)
Characteristics of System 1: • generates impressions, feelings, and inclinations; when endorsed by System 2 these become beliefs, attitudes, and intentions • operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort, and no sense of voluntary control • can be programmed by System 2 to mobilize attention when a particular pattern is detected (search) • executes skilled responses and generates skilled intuitions, after adequate training • creates a coherent pattern of activated ideas in associative memory • links a sense of cognitive ease to illusions of truth, pleasant feelings, and reduced vigilance • distinguishes the surprising from the normal • infers and invents causes and intentions • neglects ambiguity and suppresses doubt • is biased to believe and confirm • exaggerates emotional consistency (halo effect) • focuses on existing evidence and ignores absent evidence (WYSIATI) • generates a limited set of basic assessments • represents sets by norms and prototypes, does not integrate • matches intensities across scales (e.g., size to loudness) • computes more than intended (mental shotgun) • sometimes substitutes an easier question for a difficult one (heuristics) • is more sensitive to changes than to states (prospect theory)* • overweights low probabilities* • shows diminishing sensitivity to quantity (psychophysics)* • responds more strongly to losses than to gains (loss aversion)* • frames decision problems narrowly, in isolation from one another*
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
When you throw a stone to get a mango from tree, it’s a normal thingcause and effect. What if you just mimicked the hand gesture without actually throwing the stone and still get the mango? That is magical. That is how this world feels when you enjoy it from the level of soul. Maya (Space-Time) doesn’t want you to be at the level of soul. She suggests, “You can have this kind of experience at mind level too. You can get reaction from people just by doing acting, just by faking the action.” Since we lack the soul-level magical experience, we try to emulate it at mind level by faking things. Let aside earning money, even the act of love becomes an exercise in fakeness. The search of that magical experience at mind level often turns into lust and greed.
Shunya
The feeling of inner detachment and isolation is not in itself an abnormal phenomenon but is normal in the sense that consciousness has withdrawn from the phenomenal world and got outside time and space. You will find the clearest parallels in Indian philosophy, especially in Yoga. In your case the feeling is reinforced by your psychological studies. The assimilated unconscious apparently disappears in consciousness without trace, but it has the effect of detaching consciousness from its ties to the object. I have described this development in my commentary on the Golden Flower. It is a sort of integration process and an anticipation of consciousness. The cross is an indication of this, since it represents an integration of the 4 (functions). It is perfectly understandable that, when consciousness detaches itself from the object, the feeling arises that one does not know where one stands. Actually one is standing nowhere, because standing has a below and an above. But there one has no below and above at all, because spatiality pertains to the world of the senses, and consciousness possesses spatiality only when it is in participation with that world. It is a not-knowing, which has the same positive character as nirvana in the Buddhist definition, or the wu-wei, not-doing, of the Chinese, which does not mean doing nothing. The profound doubt you seem to be suffering from is quite in order as it simply expresses the detachment of consciousness and the resultant explanation of the objective world as an illusion.
C.G. Jung
Some researchers, such as psychologist Jean Twenge, say this new world where compliments are better than sex and pizza, in which the self-enhancing bias has been unchained and allowed to gorge unfettered, has led to a new normal in which the positive illusions of several generations have now mutated into full-blown narcissism. In her book The Narcissism Epidemic, Twenge says her research shows that since the mid-1980s, clinically defined narcissism rates in the United States have increased in the population at the same rate as obesity. She used the same test used by psychiatrists to test for narcissism in patients and found that, in 2006, one in four U.S. college students tested positive. That’s real narcissism, the kind that leads to diagnoses of personality disorders. In her estimation, this is a dangerous trend, and it shows signs of acceleration. Narcissistic overconfidence crosses a line, says Twenge, and taints those things improved by a skosh of confidence. Over that line, you become less concerned with the well-being of others, more materialistic, and obsessed with status in addition to losing all the restraint normally preventing you from tragically overestimating your ability to manage or even survive risky situations. In her book, Twenge connects this trend to the housing market crash of the mid-2000s and the stark increase in reality programming during that same decade. According to Twenge, the drive to be famous for nothing went from being strange to predictable thanks to a generation or two of people raised by parents who artificially boosted self-esteem to ’roidtastic levels and then released them into a culture filled with new technologies that emerged right when those people needed them most to prop up their self-enhancement biases. By the time Twenge’s research was published, reality programming had spent twenty years perfecting itself, and the modern stars of those shows represent a tiny portion of the population who not only want to be on those shows, but who also know what they are getting into and still want to participate. Producers with the experience to know who will provide the best television entertainment to millions then cull that small group. The result is a new generation of celebrities with positive illusions so robust and potent that the narcissistic overconfidence of the modern American teenager by comparison is now much easier to see as normal.
David McRaney (You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself)
It's not really negativity or sadness anymore, it’s more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can’t feel anything about anythingeven the things you love, even fun things—and you’re horribly bored and lonely, but since you’ve lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you’re stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void with-out anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is. ...I noticed myself wishing that nothing loved me so I wouldn’t feel obligated to keep existing. The absurdity of working so hard to continue doing something you don’t like can be overwhelming. And the longer it takes to feel different, the more it starts to seem like everything might actually be hopeless bullshit. I don’t like when I can’t control what reality is doing. Which is unfortunate because reality works independently of the things I want, and I have only a limited number of ways to influence it, none of which are guaranteed to work. I still want to keep tabs on reality, though. Just in case it tries to do anything sneaky. It makes me feel like I’m contributing. The illusion of control makes the helplessness seem more palatable. And when that illusion is taken away, I panic. Because, deep down, I know how pointless and helpless I am, and it scares me. I am an animal trapped in a horrifying, lawless environment, and I have no idea what it’s going to do to me. It just DOES it to me. I cope with that the best way I know—by being completely unreasonable and trying to force everything else in the world to obey me and do all the nonsensical things I want.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
This capacity for objectivity and absoluteness amounts to an existential — and “preventive” — refutation of the ideologies of doubt: if a man is able to doubt, it is because there is certainty; likewise the very notion of illusion proves that man has access to reality. It follows that there are necessarily some men who know reality and who therefore have certainty; and the great spokesmen of this knowledge and certainty are necessarily the best of men. For if truth were on the side of doubt, the individual who doubted would be superior not only to these spokesmen, who have not doubted, but also to the majority of normal men across the millennia of human existence. If doubt conformed to the real, human intelligence would be deprived of its sufficient reason, and man would be less than an animal, for the intelligence of animals does not doubt the reality to which it is proportioned.
Frithjof Schuon (Logic and Transcendence)
The argument that normal adaptive functioning in a sick world can itself be considered pathological is an old one (Fromm, 2001), but not well made and still not taken seriously. We do not have a good antonym for depression, mania being one of the closest but not conveying any sense that a widespread upbeat mentality might be considered pathological; or that delusional denial of widespread malaise might be taken as something less jocular than Pollyannaism. It is inconceivable that the psychotherapy and psychiatric professionals themselves would in effect declare, ‘the baseline for human beings including ourselves is one of pathological self-deceit and illusion serving to keep us functional in an insane world’. Nor are we likely to read the corollary of this – ‘individuals experiencing chronic dysthymia who hold a negative worldview and who are known as depressive realists, might be considered less pathological and more mentally healthy than others’.
Colin Feltham (Depressive Realism: Interdisciplinary perspectives (Explorations in Mental Health))
May I inquire what is the point?” he snapped impatiently. “Indeed you may,” Lucinda said, thinking madly for some way to prod him into remembering his long-ago desire for Elizabeth and to prick his conscience. “The point is that I am well apprised of all that transpired between Elizabeth and yourself when you were last together. I, however,” she decreed grandly, “am inclined to place the blame for your behavior not on a lack of character, but rather a lack of judgment.” He raised his brows but said nothing. Taking his silence as assent, she reiterated meaningfully, “A lack of judgment on both your parts.” “Really?” he drawled. “Of course,” she said, reaching out and brushing the dust from the back of a chair, then rubbing her fingers together and grimacing with disapproval. “What else except lack of judgment could have caused a seventeen-year-old girl to rush to the defense of a notorious gambler and bring down censure upon herself for doing it?” “What indeed?” he asked with growing impatience. Lucinda dusted off her hands, avoiding his gaze. “Who can possibly know except you and she? No doubt it was the same thing that prompted her to remain in the woodcutter’s cottage rather than leaving it the instant she discovered your presence.” Satisfied that she’d done the best she was able to on that score, she became brusque again-an attitude that was more normal and, therefore, far more convincing. “In any case, that is all water under the bridge. She has paid dearly for her lack of judgment, which is only right, and even though she is now in the most dire straits because of it, that, too, is justice.” She smiled to herself when his eyes narrowed with what she hoped was guilt, or at least concern. His next words disabused her of that hope: “Madam, I do not have all day to waste in aimless conversation. If you have something to say, say it and be done!” “Very well,” Lucinda said, gritting her teeth to stop herself from losing control of her temper. “My point is that it is my duty, my obligation to see to Lady Cameron’s physical well-being as well as to chaperon her. In this case, given the condition of your dwelling, the former obligation seems more pressing than the latter, particularly since it is obvious to me that the two of you are not in the least need of a chaperon to keep you from behaving with impropriety. You may need a referee to keep you from murdering each other, but a chaperon is entirely superfluous. Therefore, I feel duty-bound to now ensure that adequate servants are brought here at once. In keeping with that, I would like your word as a gentleman not to abuse her verbally or physically while I am gone. She has already been ill-used by her uncle. I will not permit anyone else to make this terrible time in her life more difficult than it already is.” “Exactly what,” Ian asked in spite of himself, “do you mean by a ‘terrible time’?” “I am not at liberty to discuss that, of course,” she said, fighting to keep her triumph from her voice. “I am merely concerned that you behave as a gentleman. Will you give me your word?” Since Ian had no intention of laying a finger on her, or even spending time with her, he didn’t hesitate to nod. “She’s perfectly safe from me.” “That is exactly what I hoped to hear,” Lucinda lied ruthlessly.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
[L]et us imagine a mirror image of what is happening today. What if millions of white Americans were pouring across the border into Mexico, taking over parts of cities, speaking English rather than Spanish, celebrating the Fourth of July rather than Cinco de Mayo, sleeping 20 to a house, demanding bilingual instruction and welfare for immigrants, opposing border control, and demanding ballots in English? What if, besides this, they had high rates of crime, poverty, and illegitimacy? Can we imagine the Mexicans rejoicing in their newfound diversity? And yet, that is what Americans are asked to do. For whites to celebrate diversity is to celebrate their own declining numbers and influence, and the transformation of their society. For every other group, to celebrate diversity is to celebrate increasing numbers and influence. Which is a real celebration and which is self-deception? Whites—but only whites—must never take pride in their own people. Only whites must pretend they do not prefer to associate with people like themselves. Only whites must pretend to be happy to give up their neighborhoods, their institutions, and their country to people unlike themselves. Only whites must always act as individuals and never as members of a group that promotes shared interests. Racial identity comes naturally to all non-white groups. It comes naturally because it is good, normal, and healthy to feel kinship for people like oneself. Despite the fashionable view that race is a socially created illusion, race is a biological reality. All people of the same race are more closely related genetically than they are to anyone of a different race, and this helps explain racial solidarity. Families are close for the same reason. Parents love their children, not because they are the smartest, best-looking, most talented children on earth. They love them because they are genetically close to them. They love them because they are a family. Most people have similar feelings about race. Their race is the largest extended family to which they feel an instinctive kinship. Like members of a family, members of a race do not need objective reasons to prefer their own group; they prefer it because it is theirs (though they may well imagine themselves as having many fine, partly imaginary qualities). These mystic preferences need not imply hostility towards others. Parents may have great affection for the children of others, but their own children come first. Likewise, affection often crosses racial lines, but the deeper loyalties of most people are to their own group—their extended family.
Jared Taylor (White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century)
Honorable, happy, and successful marriage is surely the principal goal of every normal person. Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children and their children’s children down through the many generations. In selecting a companion for life and for eternity, certainly the most careful planning and thinking and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong. In true marriage there must be a union of minds as well as of hearts. Emotions must not wholly determine decisions, but the mind and the heart, strengthened by fasting and prayer and serious consideration, will give one a maximum chance of marital happiness. It brings with it sacrifice, sharing, and a demand for great selflessness. . . . Some think of happiness as a glamorous life of ease, luxury, and constant thrills; but true marriage is based on a happiness which is more than that, one which comes from giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing, and selflessness. . . . One comes to realize very soon after marriage that the spouse has weaknesses not previously revealed or discovered. The virtues which were constantly magnified during courtship now grow relatively smaller, and the weaknesses which seemed so small and insignificant during courtship now grow to sizable proportions. The hour has come for understanding hearts, for self-appraisal, and for good common sense, reasoning, and planning. . . . “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price. There is a never-failing formula which will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage; but like all formulas, the principal ingredients must not be left out, reduced, or limited. The selection before courting and then the continued courting after the marriage process are equally important, but not more important than the marriage itself, the success of which depends upon the two individuals—not upon one, but upon two. . . . The formula is simple; the ingredients are few, though there are many amplifications of each. First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals. And then those two parties must come to the altar in the temple realizing that they must work hard toward this successful joint living. Second, there must be a great unselfishness, forgetting self and directing all of the family life and all pertaining thereunto to the good of the family, subjugating self. Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing. Fourth, there must be a complete living of the commandments of the Lord as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . Two individuals approaching the marriage altar must realize that to attain the happy marriage which they hope for they must know that marriage is not a legal coverall, but it means sacrifice, sharing, and even a reduction of some personal liberties. It means long, hard economizing. It means children who bring with them financial burdens, service burdens, care and worry burdens; but also it means the deepest and sweetest emotions of all. . . . To be really happy in marriage, one must have a continued faithful observance of the commandments of the Lord. No one, single or married, was ever sublimely happy unless he was righteous.
Spencer W. Kimball
Nous entrons dans un temps où il deviendra particulièrement difficile de « distinguer l’ivraie du bon grain », d’effectuer réellement ce que les théologiens nomment le « discernement des esprits », en raison des manifestations désordonnées qui ne feront que s’intensifier et se multiplier, et aussi en raison du défaut de véritable connaissance chez ceux dont la fonction normale devrait être de guider les autres, et qui aujourd’hui ne sont trop souvent que des « guides aveugles ». On verra alors si, dans de pareilles circonstances, les subtilités dialectiques sont de quelque utilité, et si c’est une « philosophie », fût-elle la meilleure possible, qui suffira à arrêter le déchaînement des « puissances infernales » ; c’est là encore une illusion contre laquelle certains ont à se défendre, car il est trop de gens qui, ignorant ce qu’est l’intellectualité pure, s’imaginent qu’une connaissance simplement philosophique, qui, même dans le cas le plus favorable, est à peine une ombre de la vraie connaissance, est capable de remédier à tout et d’opérer le redressement de la mentalité contemporaine, comme il en est aussi qui croient trouver dans la science moderne elle-même un moyen de s’élever à des vérités supérieures, alors que cette science n’est fondée précisément que sur la négation de ces vérités. Toutes ces illusions sont autant de causes d’égarement ; bien des efforts sont par là dépensés en pure perte, et c’est ainsi que beaucoup de ceux qui voudraient sincèrement réagir contre l’esprit moderne sont réduits à l’impuissance, parce que, n’ayant pas su trouver les principes essentiels sans lesquels toute action est absolument vaine, ils se sont laissé entraîner dans des impasses dont il ne leur est plus possible de sortir.
René Guénon (The Crisis of the Modern World)
His house was certainly peculiar, and since this was the first thing that Fenchurch and Arthur had encountered it would help to know what it was like. It was like this: It was inside out. Actually inside out, to the extent that they had had to park on the carpet. All along what one would normally call the outer wall, which was decorated in a tasteful interior-designed pink, were bookshelves, also a couple of those odd three-legged tables with semicircular tops which stand in such a way as to suggest that someone just dropped the wall straight through them, and pictures which were clearly designed to soothe. Where it got really odd was the roof. It folded back on itself like something that M. C. Escher, had he been given to hard nights on the town, which it is no part of this narrative’s purpose to suggest was the case, though it is sometimes hard, looking at his pictures, particularly the one with all the awkward steps, not to wonder, might have dreamed up after having been on one, for the little chandeliers which should have been hanging inside were on the outside pointing up. Confusing. The sign above the front door said “Come Outside,” and so, nervously, they had. Inside, of course, was where the Outside was. Rough brickwork, nicely done pointing, guttering in good repair, a garden path, a couple of small trees, some rooms leading off. And the inner walls stretched down, folded curiously, and opened at the end as if, by an optical illusion which would have had M. C. Escher frowning and wondering how it was done, to enclose the Pacific Ocean itself. “Hello,” said John Watson, Wonko the Sane. Good, they thought to themselves, “hello” is something we can cope with. “Hello,” they said, and all, surprisingly, was smiles.
Douglas Adams (So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #4))
The more we turn toward this creative will, the more the doubts which trouble the sane and normal man seem to us abnormal and morbid. Take for example the doubter who closes a window, then returns to verify its closing, then verifies his verification, and so forth. If we ask him what his motives are he will answer that he might have opened the window each time he tried to close it more securely. And if he is a philosopher he will transpose intellectually the hesitation of his conduct into this question: “How can one be sure, definitively sure, that one has done what one intended to do?” But the truth is that his power of action is defective, and therein lies the evil from which he suffers: he had only partial will to accomplish the act, and that is why the accomplished act leaves him only partial certitude. Now can we solve the problem this man sets himself? Obviously not, but neither do we set the problem; therein lies our superiority. At first glance I might think there is more in him than in me because we both shut the window and he, in addition, raises a philosophical question while I do not. But the question which in his case is superadded to the task accomplished represents in reality only something negative; it is not something more, but something less; it is a deficit of the will. Such is exactly the effect certain “great problems” produce in us when we set ourselves again in the direction of generating thought. They recede toward zero as fast as we approach this generating thought, as they fill only that space between it and us. Thus we discover the illusion of him who thinks he is doing more by raising these problems than by not raising them. One might just as well think that there is more in a half-consumed bottle than in a full one, because the latter contains only wine, while in the former there is wine and emptiness in addition.
Henri Bergson (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics)
How have individuals been affected by the technological advances of recent years? Here is the answer to this question given by a philosopher-psychiatrist, Dr. Erich Fromm: Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual and political progress, is increasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason and the capacity for love in the individual; it tends to turn him into an automaton who pays for his human failure with increasing mental sickness, and with despair hidden under a frantic drive for work and so-called pleasure. Our "increasing mental sickness" may find expression in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are conspicuous and extremely distressing. But "let us beware," says Dr. Fromm, "of defining mental hygiene as the prevention of symptoms. Symptoms as such are not our enemy, but our friend; where there are symptoms there is conflict, and conflict always indicates that the forces of life which strive for integration and happiness are still fighting." The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. "Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does." They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish "the illusion of individuality," but in fact they have been to a great extent deindividualized. Their conformity is developing into something like uniformity. But "uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too. ... Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
How have individuals been affected by the technological advances of recent years? Here is the answer to this question given by a philosopher-psychiatrist, Dr Erich Fromm: ‘Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual and political progress, is increasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason and the capacity for love in the individual; it tends to turn him into an automaton who pays for his human failure with increasing mental sickness, and with despair hidden under a frantic drive for work and so-called pleasure.’ Our ‘increasing mental sickness’ may find expression in neurotic symptoms. These symptoms are conspicuous and extremely distressing. But ‘let us beware’, says Dr Fromm, ‘of defining mental hygiene as the prevention of symptoms. Symptoms as such are not our enemy, but our friend; where there are symptoms there is conflict, and conflict always indicates that the forces of life which strive for integration and happiness are still fighting.’ The really hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. ‘Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.’ They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted, still cherish ‘the illusion of individuality’, but in fact they have been to a great extent de-individualized. Their conformity is developing into something like uniformity. But ‘uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible too . . . Man is not made to be an automaton, and if he becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed.’ In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual. We reproduce our kind by bringing the father’s genes into contact with the mother’s. These hereditary factors may be combined in an almost infinite number of ways. Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
On and on it goes—online there is an excellent circular graphic display of cognitive errors—a wheel of mistakes that both lists them and organizes them into categories, including the law of small numbers, neglect of base rates, the availability heuristic, asymmetrical similarity, probability illusions, choice framing, context segregation, gain/loss asymmetry, conjunction effects, the law of typicality, misplaced causality, cause/effect asymmetry, the certainty effect, irrational prudence, the tyranny of sunk costs, illusory correlations, and unwarranted overconfidence—the graphic itself being a funny example of this last phenomenon, in that it pretends to know how we think and what would be normal.
Kim Stanley Robinson (The Ministry for the Future)
I think when we sleep, our minds try to fill in the holes. The emotional wounds. And for a split second when we wake, everything doesn’t hurt. For a few breaths, things feel right and normal. Then we blink and it all shatters like illusions do. Everything starts to hurt again.
Jewel E. Ann (For Lucy)
What is said in private is normally not very private.
Bert McCoy
I sent up a silent heartfelt apology to human men everywhere. Once word got out that demons were out here tonguing down women under beautiful illusions, it was over for normal men. “I see.
Kimberly Lemming (Mistlefoe)
The clearest sign of this is the revengeful and reproachful manner in which many people behave, regardless of whether they live in a capitalist or communist country. For revenge and reproach – not freedom Ash have become their goals in life; consequently, the increasingly intensify there dependency and fall prey to the illusion the power is the panacea for all problems.
Arno Gruen (The Insanity of Normality: Toward Understanding Human Destructiveness)
Culture itself constructed the illusion of innate differences on which so much discrimination is based. If there is anything that truly counts as human nature, it is our unique ability to transcend nature through culture
Roy Richard Grinker (Nobody's Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness)
Real love doesn’t make you suffer. How could it? It doesn’t suddenly turn into hate, nor does real joy turn into pain. As I said, even before you are enlightened — before you have freed yourself from your mind — you may get glimpses of true joy, true love, or of a deep inner peace, still but vibrantly alive. These are aspects of your true nature, which is usually obscured by the mind. Even within a “normal” addictive relationship, there can be moments when the presence of something more genuine, something incorruptible, can be felt. But they will only be glimpses, soon to be covered up again through mind interference. It may then seem that you had something very precious and lost it, or your mind may convince you that it was all an illusion anyway. The truth is that it wasn’t an illusion, and you cannot lose it. It is part of your natural state, which can be obscured but can never be destroyed by the mind. Even when the sky is heavily overcast, the sun hasn’t disappeared
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
In normal everyday usage, “I” embodies the primordial error, a misperception of who you are, an illusory sense of identity. This is the ego. This illusory sense of self is what Albert Einstein, who had deep insights not only into the reality of space and time but also into human nature, referred to as “an optical illusion of consciousness.” That illusory self then becomes the basis for all further interpretations, or rather misinterpretations of reality, all thought processes, interactions, and relationships. Your reality becomes a reflection of the original illusion.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Create a Better Life)
Woke CEOs and investors trick consumers with the illusion that by engaging in normal acts of consumption we’re fulfilling our social obligations.
Vivek Ramaswamy (Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam)
The lad knew a trick for see­ing things in their right size in­stead of in the il­lu­sion that they pro­ject... The lad tried that same trick now. He turned around, bent over, and looked at the Per­son back­wards between his legs. And by that view­ing, the Per­son Him­self was a ver­it­able gi­ant, taller than the trees, taller than the dis­tance between here and a full moon. Then the lad straightened up and turned around and looked at the Per­son front­wards; and the il­lu­sion re­turned... and the Per­son was again only a rather large and al­to­gether pleas­ant man, not too large to be ac­coun­ted in the nor­mal hu­man range.
R.A. Lafferty
Inflation is not caused by increasing the fiduciary circulation. It begins on the day when the purchaser is obliged to pay, for the same goods, a higher sum than that asked the day before. At that point, one must intervene. Even to Schacht, I had to begin by explaining this elementary truth: that the essential cause of the stability of our currency was to be sought for in our concentration camps. The currency remains stable when the speculators are put under lock and key. I also had to make Schacht understand that excess profits must be removed from economic circulation. I do not entertain the illusion that I can pay for everything out of my available funds. Simply, I've read a lot, and I've known how to profit by the experience of events in the past. Frederick the Great, already, had gradually withdrawn his devaluated thalers from circulation, and had thus re established the value of his currency. All these things are simple and natural. The only thing is, one mustn't let the Jew stick his nose in. The basis of Jewish commercial policy is to make matters incomprehensible for a normal brain. People go into ecstasies of confidence before the science of the great economists. Anyone who doesn't understand is taxed with ignorance! At bottom, the only object of all these notions is to throw everything into confusion. The very simple ideas that happen to be mine have nowadays penetrated into the flesh and blood of millions. Only the professors don't understand that the value of money depends on the goods behind that money. One day I received some workers in the great hall at Obersalzberg, to give them an informal lecture on money. The good chaps understood me very well, and rewarded me with a storm of applause. To give people money is solely a problem of making paper. The whole question is to know whether the workers are producing goods to match the paper that's made. If work does not increase, so that production remains at the same level, the extra money they get won't enable them to buy more things than they bought before with less money. Obviously, that theory couldn't have provided the material for a learned dissertation. For a distinguished economist, the thing is, no matter what you're talking about, to pour out ideas in complicated meanderings and to use terms of Sibylline incomprehensibility.
Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944)
When "mystics" etc. talk about ordinary consciousness as "sleep," "dream," "illusion," etc., are they talking about something very esoteric that only other mystics can understand? Or are they talking about the extent to which normal consciousness ("mechanical consciousness" in my sense) relates to fictitious predicates attached to groups and ignores (does not perceive) person1, person2, etc.?
Robert Anton Wilson (Coincidance: A Head Test)
Union with God is not something we acquire by a technique but the grounding truth of our lives that engenders the very search for God. Because God is the ground of our being, the relationship between creature and Creator is such that, by sheer grace, separation is not possible. God does not know how to be absent. The fact that most of us experience throughout most of our lives a sense of absence or distance from God is the great illusion that we are caught up in; it is the human condition. The sense of separation from God is real, but the meeting of stillness reveals that this perceived separation does not have the last word. This illusion of separation is generated by the mind and is sustained by the riveting of our attention to the interior soap opera, the constant chatter of the cocktail party going on in our heads. For most of us this is what normal is, and we are good at coming up with ways of coping with this perceived separation (our consumer-driven entertainment culture takes care of much of it). But some of us are not so good at coping, and so we drink ourselves into oblivion or cut or burn ourselves “so that the pain will be in a different place and on the outside.”15 The grace of salvation, the grace of Christian wholeness that flowers in silence, dispels this illusion of separation. For when the mind is brought to stillness, and all our strategies of acquisition have dropped, a deeper truth presents itself: we are and have always been one with God and we are all one in God (Jn 17:21). The marvelous world of thoughts, sensation, emotions, and inspiration, the spectacular world of creation around us, are all patterns of stunning weather on the holy mountain of God. But we are not the weather. We are the mountain.
Martin Laird (Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation)
One of our major topics for dispute concerned “reality,” which Shea regarded as a word denoting something concrete and external to any observer. I, as my books all make clear, and this book seeks to make even clearer than before, share the view of Husserl, Nietzsche, Korzybski and the Deconstructionists: “reality,” like “illusion,” “art,” “stoned,” “straight,” “normal," “abnormal,” “fantasy,” “mask,” “hallucination,” “the truth behind the mask,” “the mask behind the mask” etc. designates a judgment or evaluation by the observer and has no meaning apart from the observer-observed transaction.
Robert Anton Wilson (Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death)
In case Dr. Jones's point still seems obscure or excessive, consider the celebrated "cock-eyed room" designed by Dr. Albert Ames. This is discussed in Blake's Perception mentioned above and has often been shown on educational television. This room is designed so that the brain, using its ordinary programs and metaphors, will classify it as an ordinary room. It is not ordinary, however: it has walls and ceiling and floor designed at odd angles which optically produce in educated humans the same signals as a "normal" room. (Some evidence suggests that children under 5 years of age are not taken in by this illusion.)
Robert Anton Wilson (The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science)
Two factors, in particular, were especially significant in this deal.  First, I used my strong posture to persuade the seller to sign a commission agreement based on 5.5 percent of the total selling price rather than the 3 percent figure I normally used.  After my Dayton and Memphis experiences, I took it as an article of faith that every seller worth his salt would, at a minimum, try to at least whittle down my commission—regardless of what figure we had agreed to. That being the case, I thought it would be interesting to see if starting out at a higher commission figure than I hoped to actually receive would produce better results.  When the inevitable commissiondectomy attempt began, I would be able to better afford to have my commission cut.  It was just a matter pacifying the seller's sick mind.  My experience had convinced me that the important thing for him was to believe that he had succeeded in shafting the real estate broker who had committed the dastardly sin of selling his property for him (and probably saving his financial hide in the process), even if his belief was an illusion.
Robert J. Ringer (Winning Through Intimidation)
We use winter as a blank slate, the place where everything is scrubbed away. From the most mystical vision to the most obvious folk use, winter is the climate of imagination. Winter displaces us from the normal cycles of nature so comes our escape into the mind… Another sense of memory and winter is the memory of winter when it is over. The snows of winter become the tangible sands of the memory clock. Summer supplies the illusion of same time over and over. Winter and cold places supply a sense of past time, and an urge to think about time passing. Though our setting for all these essays has been winter, our true subject has been time. We share a sense of timeless winter, of eternal winter as the place where time stands still, the poles as places permanently outside of our dailiness, the snow as nature’s secret…we could lose the polar icecaps but would not stop hearing winter music.
Adam Gopnik (Winter: Five Windows on the Season)
With that last illusion of him achieving a normal life gone, the love he had felt for her had been scrapped away leaving a scarred and hardened shell of a heart, whose only purpose was to pump ice-filled blood to an organ that no longer had the capacity to hold any lasting emotions for anyone, including himself.
Jamie Begley (Gavin's Song (Road to Salvation #1))
In order to enjoy the priceless advantages guaranteed by press freedom, one must submit to the unavoidable evils it produces. The wish to achieve the former while escaping the latter means submission to one of those illusions which normally sick nations use to sooth themselves when, tired of struggling and exhausted by their efforts, they seek the means of combining hostile opinions and opposing principles at the same time, in the same land.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
Normal is waking at 6 a.m., fighting traffic, and working eight hours. Normal is to slave at a job Monday through Friday, save 10%, and repeat for 50 years. Normal is to buy everything on credit. Normal is to believe the illusion that the stock market will make you rich. Normal is to believe that a faster car and a bigger house will make you happy. You’re conditioned to accept normal based on society’s already corrupted definition of wealth, and because of it, normal itself is corrupted. Normal is modern-day slavery. Don’t be normal.
Peter Voogd (6 Months to 6 Figures)
In truth power is really understanding your place in the universal design. Some materialists and some spiritualist understand a fragmented version of power. Which is why they chase power. They get a glimpse of power and chase its fragmented counter part. Which gives them power over normal folks(who just exist, but are still asleep). Yet in order to keep power those people have to stay sleeping. Yet when you wake you realize power as it is understood by normal folks is an illusion. Real power is being aware of the ever shifting dynamics between nature, the cosmos and everything in between.
jamal thompson. From the rise of the kings
To awaken” is to be transformed. We awaken from the unconsciousness of nightly sleep to the consciousness of our daily life. But in the fairy tale myth of Sleeping Beauty, awakened from poisoned sleep by the kiss of her heroic Prince Charming, we have a deeper meaning: It takes both courage and positive action for humanity to awaken from its normal passive consciousness—an actual sleep state—into active higher consciousness and true self awareness. True self awareness becomes possible when we can focus attention on the primal elements within, awakening them to their purity, and assembling them into a new self, free of emotional reaction and sensual “bondage” to external events.
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke (Clairvoyance for Psychic Empowerment: The Art & Science of Clear Seeing Past the Illusions of Space & Time & Self-Deception (Personal Empowerment Books))
Give her time, bro. She’ll come around.” “I don’t think so. She trusted me, and I broke that trust beyond repair.” “She’s just stressed, it was a hard day. Give her—” “And it’s my fault, Mase! All of this was my fault. In less than forty-eight hours, my fiancée gave me back the ring I’d given her to protect the people she loves, was almost murdered, and then broke up with me again. For real this time, and it’s because of what I am. I told you, who we are . . . what we do . . . we can’t have relationships. And this is why. I don’t blame Rachel for anything. I put her in this situation, she was in danger because of me.” Mason quickly stood up and began pacing. “No she wasn’t. All that shit had gone down with her and Blake before we’d ever even shown up. It had been going on for years, and it had nothing to do with your job. You being a cop is what saved her yesterday morning. Like I said, give her some time. She’s gone through a lot over the last few months, but she loves you.” I don’t love you. I’m in love with an illusion. I’d known heartache before, but what was happening now couldn’t be described as heartache. Those words had shattered my soul. I felt hollow and lost. And like I could easily drown in the searing pain making its way through my body. “She doesn’t want to see me, Mason. She wants me gone. I couldn’t keep her safe even after I promised her I would. The least I can do is give her what she asks. It’s over.” “Kash—” “Stop. She deserves a normal life, not the one I have to offer. I couldn’t protect her before, but I will now, by walking away.” Before
Molly McAdams (Forgiving Lies (Forgiving Lies, #1))
Normal is waking at 6 a.m., fighting traffic, and working eight hours. Normal is to slave at a job Monday through Friday, save 10%, and repeat for 50 years. Normal is to buy everything on credit. Normal is to believe the illusion that the stock market will make you rich. Normal is to believe that a faster car and a bigger house will make you happy. You’re conditioned to accept normal based on society’s already corrupted definition of wealth, and because of it, normal itself is corrupted. Normal is modern-day slavery. Don’t be normal.” Figure
Peter Voogd (6 Months to 6 Figures)
While some siblings accept, and even embrace, their destiny as members of the 'team,' others are (mostly privately) outraged, having experienced the obverse of the soothing stereotype in their own families. A graphic designer whose autistic brother tried to strangle her when they were children, and who struggled for years to get her parents to recognize the danger he presented, is acutely aware of the discrepancy between the illusion and the reality of damaged families: I'm trying to eradicate the Hallmark Hall of Fame Special myth - 'how I learned the meaning of life by having a disabled sibling.' The cover of Newsweek on autism had a beautiful blond good boy. People just want to look at the pretty kids on Jerry Lewis, the sanitized version, not the ugly cases like my brother. The severely disabled aren't telegenic.
Jeanne Safer (The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling)
I’m tired of everything,” he said. “I’m tired all the time.” He sighed again, heavily. “Mostly,” he said, “I’m tired of not being near you.” I found myself relaxing, shifting back so I was pressed against him, a wall of heat all the way down my spine. He rested his hands on my hips, his fingers creeping under the hem of my shirt just enough to dull my pain. Let the damn poison beetles come, I thought, as I felt a kiss on my neck, right behind my ear. This was inviting further pain, and I knew it. His fate wouldn’t let him choose me, and even if that wasn’t the case, I suspected the deep well of his grief wouldn’t let him choose anything at all. But I was sick of doing what was good for me. He kissed where my neck met my shoulder, lingering, his tongue tasting my skin, which was likely salty from sweat. I reached up and buried my fingers in his hair, holding him against me for a moment, and then twisting my neck so our mouths collided. Our teeth clacked together, and normally we would have drawn back and laughed, but neither of us was in a laughing mood. I pulled at his hair, and his hands tightened around my hips so hard it was just on the good side of painful. I had buried myself in rage since the destruction of the sojourn ship, and since the illusions between him and me fell away. Now I buried myself in wanting him instead, twisting into him, grabbing his body wherever my hands found purchase. Want me, I told him, with each clutch of my fingers. Choose me. Want me.
Veronica Roth (The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2))
In the conclusion to The Metaphysics of Sex , I emphasised that the chief purpose of my book was to broaden the reader’s intellectual horizons. I had made the same point in other books, books of a different kind, yet marked by the same crucial references to doctrines and worldviews now largely forgotten. Apart from much new information, I argued that what readers — and only some readers, at that — might gain from a similar broadening of intellectual horizons was an awareness of the fact that contemporary manifestations of sexuality - usually primitive, degraded and even morbid manifestations - are not simply ‘normal’, possible and real. I suggested that in the case of more qualified individuals - whether male or female - the doctrines and perspectives described in The Metaphysics of Sex might provide the means to solve various personal problems, and to find a way out of the baseness of ordinary human existence. On the other hand, I pointed out that, given the present condition of humanity, one should generally hold no illusions with regard to the possibilities of realising the truly transcendent potentialities of sexuality - although sex certainly remains ‘the greatest magical power in nature’. p212
Julius Evola (The Path of Cinnabar)
Neurologically, OBEs are a form of bodily illusion arising from a temporary dissociation of visual and proprioceptive representations—normally these are coordinated, so that one views the world, including one’s body, from the perspective of one’s own eyes, one’s head. OBEs, as Henrik Ehrsson and his fellow researchers in Stockholm have elegantly shown, can be produced experimentally, by using simple equipment—video goggles, mannequins, rubber arms, and so on—to confuse one’s visual input and one’s proprioceptive input and create an uncanny sense of disembodiedness.
Oliver Sacks (Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales)
Une norme, dans l'expérience anthropologique, ne peut être originelle. La règle ne commence à être règle qu'en faisant règle et cette fonction de correction surgit de l'infraction même. Un âge d'or, un paradis, sont la figuration mythique d'une existence initialement adéquate à son exigence, d'un mode de vie dont la régularité ne doit rien à la fixation de la règle, d'un état de non-culpabilité en l'absence d'interdit que nul ne fût censé ignorer. Ces deux mythes procèdent d'une illusion de rétroactivité selon laquelle le bien originel c'est le mal ultérieur contenu. À l'absence de règles fait pendant l'absence de techniques. L'homme de l'âge d'or, l'homme paradisiaque, jouissent spontanément des fruits d'une nature inculte, non sollicitée, non forcée, non reprise. Ni travail, ni culture, tel est le désir de régression intégrale. Cette formulation en termes négatifs d'une expérience conforme à la norme sans que la norme ait eu à se montrer dans sa fonction et par elle, ce rêve proprement naïf de régularité en l'absence de règle signifie au fond que le concept de normal est lui-même normatif, il norme même l'univers du discours mythique qui fait le récit de son absence.
Georges Canguilhem (The Normal and the Pathological)
Yet there are lessons for us all in the lives of those whose depression (sometimes aided by mania) spurred them onward to a realistic sense of the world’s hazards, empathic concern for others, creative approaches to problems, and the resilience to survive and thrive. Our normal mild self-illusion often serves us well in the course of our daily lives. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, we need to aim slightly above if we wish to hit the mark. But such normal illusion also hides important realities. When the crises of daily life come, we realize that we had been living a forgetful life, unaware of some basic truths. Then some depression may help us see what has happened and what we must do. And then we might be able to meet the challenges of life, and maybe even attain some happiness in the process. Quite a paradox it is: being open to some depression may allow us, ultimately, to be less depressed.
S. Nassir Ghaemi (A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness)
But in having power, or the illusion of power, i was blessed with the knowledge of it. I saw the view from the top. In capitalism, the normal people think the special people are free because they can control people, and the special think the normals are free because there's no pressure. What I learned is that too far over the top edge is madness or evil: Max swimming toward his death, Parker jumping off the roof, Lucky Mike raping a little girl. But too far over the bottom edge is destitution and isolation: the man with the elephant trunk for a forehead, the breastfeeding women crying "help me" from the doorways in Phnom Penh, Rocky Balboa cut in half by a power-mad tourist. The two poles are related. The calamities I saw were not separate from the freedom of the special people, they were the result of their freedom. Lucky Mike's ultimate freedom depended on the ultimate slavery of another. Those at the top are not free either, because their freedom is tied inexorably to the sacrifice of those at the bottom.
Isaac Simpson
...an unlikely group pieced together these past few weeks from parties and family references, friend-of-friend happenstance, and (in one case, just now being introduced) sheer, scarcely tolerable intrusiveness-five people who, in normal life back home, would have been satisfied never to have known one another. Five young expatriates hunch around an undersized cafe table: a moment of total insignificance, and not without a powerful whiff of cliche. Unless you were one of them. Then this meaningless, overdrawn moment may (then or later) seem to be somehow the summation of both an era and your own youth, your undeniably defining afternoon (though you can hardly say that aloud without making a joke of it). Somehow this one game of Sincerity becomes the distilled recollection of a much longer series of events. It persistantly rises to the surface of your memory-that afternoon when you fell in love with a person or a place or a mood, when you savored the power of fooling everyone, when you discovered some great truth about the world, when (like a baby duck glimpsing your quacking mother's waddling rear for the first time) an indelible brand was seared into your heart, which is, of course, a finate space with limited room for searing. Despite its insignificance, there was this moment, this hour or two, this spring afternoon blurring into evening on a cafe patio in a Central European capital in the opening weeks of its post-Communist era. The glasses of liqueur. The diamond dapples of light between oval, leaf-shaped shadows, like optical illusions. The trellised curve of the cast-iron fence seperating the patio from its surrounding city square. The uncomfortable chair. Someday this too will represent someone's receding, cruelly unattainable golden age. (4-5)
Arthur Phillips (Prague)
Until recently, three unspoken principles have guided the arena of genetic diagnosis and intervention. First, diagnostic tests have largely been restricted to gene variants that are singularly powerful determinants of illness—i.e., highly penetrant mutations, where the likelihood of developing the disease is close to 100 percent (Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease). Second, the diseases caused by these mutations have generally involved extraordinary suffering or fundamental incompatibilities with “normal” life. Third, justifiable interventions—the decision to abort a child with Down syndrome, say, or intervene surgically on a woman with a BRCA1 mutation—have been defined through social and medical consensus, and all interventions have been governed by complete freedom of choice. The three sides of the triangle can be envisioned as moral lines that most cultures have been unwilling to transgress. The abortion of an embryo carrying a gene with, say, only a ten percent chance of developing cancer in the future violates the injunction against intervening on low-penetrance mutations. Similarly, a state-mandated medical procedure on a genetically ill person without the subject’s consent (or parental consent in the case of a fetus) crosses the boundaries of freedom and noncoercion. Yet it can hardly escape our attention that these parameters are inherently susceptible to the logic of self-reinforcement. We determine the definition of “extraordinary suffering.” We demarcate the boundaries of “normalcy” versus “abnormalcy.” We make the medical choices to intervene. We determine the nature of “justifiable interventions.” Humans endowed with certain genomes are responsible for defining the criteria to define, intervene on, or even eliminate other humans endowed with other genomes. “Choice,” in short, seems like an illusion devised by genes to propagate the selection of similar genes.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Gene: An Intimate History)
Most normal, mentally healthy people have these features: they overestimate how happy they are; and when things go well, this illusion only gets worse.
S. Nassir Ghaemi (A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness)
was taking place parallel to the peaceful existence of those who did not want to know, who could afford the illusion of a normal life, and of those who could deny that they were on a raft adrift in a sea of sorrow, ignoring, despite all evidence, that only blocks away from their happy world there were others, these others who live or die on the dark side.
Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits)
Studies on abandoned and severely mistreated Romanian children revealed striking lesions in certain areas of the brain and marked emotional and cognitive insufficiencies in later life,” Alice Miller writes. “According to very recent neurobiological findings, repeated traumatization leads to an increased release of stress hormones that attack the sensitive tissue of the brain and destroy existing neurons. Other studies of mistreated children have revealed that the areas of the brain responsible for the ‘management’ of emotions are 20 to 30 percent smaller than in normal persons.”12
Sylvie Imelda Shene (A Dance to Freedom: Your Guide to Liberation from Lies and Illusions)
In his book Sickness Unto Death, Søren Kierkegaard says, it is the normal state of the human heart to try to build its identity around something besides God.2 Spiritual pride is the illusion that we are competent to run our own lives, achieve our own sense of self-worth and find a purpose big enough to give us meaning in life without God. Søren Kierkegaard says that the normal human ego is built on something besides God. It searches for something that will give it a sense of worth, a sense of specialness and a sense of purpose and builds itself on that. And, of course, as we are often reminded, if you try to put anything in the middle of the place that was originally made for God, it is going to be too small.
Timothy J. Keller (The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness)
The hallucination is not a perception, but it has the value of reality, and it alone counts for the hallucinating person. The perceived world has lost its expressive force, and the hallucinatory system has usurped this force. Although the hallucination is not a perception, there is a hallucinatory deception, and this is what we will never understand if we turn the hallucination into an intellectual operation. As different as it may be from a perception, the hallucination must be able to supplant it and to exist for the patient even more than his own perceptions do. This is only possible if hallucination and perception are modalities of a single primordial function by which we arrange around ourselves a milieu with a definite structure, and by which we situate ourselves sometimes fully in the world and sometimes on the margins of the world...This fiction can only count as reality because reality itself is reached for the normal subject in an analogous operation. Insofar as he has sensory fields and a body, the normal subject himself also bears this gaping wound through which illusion can be introduced; the normal subject's representation of the world is vulnerable. If we believe what we see, this is prior to all verification, and the error of classical theories of perception is in introducing, into perception itself, intellectual operations and a critique of sensory evidence to which we resort only when direct perception flounders in ambiguity. For the normal subject, and without any explicit verification, private experience links up with itself and with the experiences of others, and the landscape opens onto a geographical world and tends toward absolute plenitude. The normal subject does not revel in subjectivity, he flees from it, he is really in the world, he has a direct and naive hold on time, whereas the hallucinating subject makes use of being in the world in order to carve out a private world within the common world, and always runs into the transcendence of time.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of Perception)
The most significant source of my adolescent period anxiety was the fact that, in America in 2016 (and far more so in 1993), acknowledging the completely normal and mundane function of most uteruses is still taboo. The taboo is so strong that it contributes to the widespread stonewalling of women from seats of power - for fear that, as her first act in the White House, Hillary might change Presidents' Day to Brownie Batter Makes the Boo-Hoos Stop Day. The taboo is strong enough that a dude once broke up with me because a surprise period started while we were having sex and the sight of it shattered some pornified illusion he had of women as messless pleasure pillows. The taboo is so strong that while we've all seen swimming pools of blood shed in horror movies and action movies and even on the news, when a woman ran the 2015 London Marathon without a tampon, photos of blood spotting her running gear made the social media rounds to near-universal disgust. The blood is the same - the only difference is where it's coming from. The disgust is at women's natural bodies, not at blood itself.
Lindy West (Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman)
It was an almost supernatural power, I sometimes came to think (though immediately I mocked the idea), making normally talkative people like the Bolognan fall silent, or silent people like the Libyan turn entirely mute, a force that wrested every last question from the mouths of the eternally curious, that created a space of artificial silence and darkness where I could cry and writhe in pain because I didn't like what I was doing, but where I could also come as many times as I wanted and where I could walk (or probe the surface of reality with my fingertips) without false hope, without illusion, not knowing the meaning of it all but knowing the end result, knowing why things are where they are, with a degree of clarity that I haven't had since, though sometimes I sense that it's there, curled up inside of me, shrunken and dismembered - luckily for me - but still there.
Roberto Bolaño (Una novelita lumpen)
(...) a wealthy Indian princeling named Gotana (...) came to realise, after a long andmoving spiritual struggle, that people suffer because the things we cherish inevitably change and rot, and desires are inevitably disappointed. But he also realized that, simply by sitting and breathing, people can begin to disengage from the normal run of desires and disappointments, and come to grasp that the self whom the sitter has been serving so frantically, and who is sufferin from all these needs, is an illusion. Set free from the self's anxieties and appetites and constant, petulant demands, the meditator can see and share the actualities of existence with others. The sitter becomes less selfish and more selfless.
Adam Gopnik
I never asked Mom why she wanted to kill herself. Maybe, like the rest of us, she sought an escape from our home’s chaos that swarmed like flies that would neither die nor move on. No
Linda Schoonover (An Illusion of Normal: The True Story of a Child's Survival in a Home Tormented by Mental Illness)
Fear is normal." Levi's eyes locked with mine. "But you must choose whether you will live by it or not.
J. Rodes (Emerald Illusion)
if only you could see through my eyes at the life that I've lived and if only you could think through my thoughts & hear every word that was said and seen and how it made me feel as all of those words were forced down my ears and stabbed in my chest were my heart used to be.. then and only then would you know why I hide myself so deep in the dark parts of the abyss that became my home and its the place where I can go where my heart is safe from a world that didn't care if my feelings were hurt or if they loved me for what I'm not or tried to kill me for not being their carbon copy illusion of what they thought was normal and if only you walked along side of me through it all then you would understand my choices & not hate my mistakes.
John Speigle
Hayden still liked to think he was more normal than Bonk, who once choked on a soap cake for no good reason.
V. St. Clair (Forest of Illusions (The Broken Prism, #3))
One works hard to prop up an illusion that sucks the life out of them, and the other works hard to make their home a place that restores them, nurtures them, and gives life to others.
Craig Groeschel (Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working)
At a bar addiction is normalized, made to seem a regular part of living: the warm light and familiar faces, friendship or the illusion of it. Addicts are lonely creatures.
Jennifer Haigh (Heat and Light)
For example, the sixfold base referred to above is that of the five senses, to which Buddhist thought adds a sixth or mental sense. All such models set out to disturb our normal sense of self, presenting not an achieved subject, but rather a process of selfing, the creation of self, which is always changing. It is not that a self does not exist, but rather that it does not exist in the manner we consider it to--as permanent, partless, independent and essential. From the Buddhist perspective ignorance arises when this process of selfing is grasped and identified with as an isolated individual entity, not as a changing process. The self, then, which is Buddhism is to be negated, is an illusion; it is the imposition of an identity with attributes of independence and permanence upon the foundation of the transactional or processual self that arises from the interaction of a network of causes and conditions.
Gay Watson (A Philosophy of Emptiness)
Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. - Charles Addams
Tracey Livesay (American Royalty (American Royalty, #1))
Having a bank account in the United States or China won't make any difference as a business owner but people who don't have enough money and time to travel long distances and test the system for themselves, want to believe in illusions. Many banks are actually happy to steal people's money due to their nationality, like they did with Russian people now. And this while the masses consider it to be normal. Imagine if countries stole your money every time your government did something they don't like! Actually they do, which is why your government promises one thing before being elected and then does another. The employees of these governments and big companies are like little Nazis. They will simply repeat: it's the "policy of the company" or "it's the law". Nobody cares to question laws or policies because they think smart people are the ones who obey. Well, you will get nowhere in life by obeying a system that is manipulated against you, which is why so many frustrated people, seeing others in jet planes and traveling the world, are turning to crime and prostitution. This tendency will keep increasing. Yet if I tell people to learn to use a gun, they will say that a spiritual guru would never say such things. Well, I would never trust any guru or religious person who said to me to wait until someone knocks me off with a hammer or that I must accept the misfortunes of life as an opportunity to meditate on karma. As a matter of fact, that's exactly what I got in all religions where I sought answers to this problem, which means even religions have been corrupted by illusions and ignorance. They empower a very toxic demon around these lies called guilt. But this demon is kept alive with dogma.
Dan Desmarques