The elevator came, the door opened, and I started to jump on when two people came out confronting me blocking the way. "Oh, excuse me," I said, expecting the elevator to be empty for me.
My spouse said that she was the one who talked about us going to Africa on vacation; but I remember clearly that it was me.
How could anyone say that about me? Don't they realize what a good guy I am?
I just illustrated four illusions I often have. I experience what I want to. I neglect others by being so involved in me. I have an erroneus interpretation of what happened or is about to. And I live in the world as I would like it to be by forgetting the world as it is. They are called by psychologists and philosophers 1) the objective fallacy, 2) the solipsist deception, 3) the illusion of the absolute, and 4) the realist fantasy.
These illusions are endemic to the special behavior we humans have evolved. They have their uses but often mislead us as well. I explain.
1. Human behavior is symbolic. We use artificial forms to act in and know about our environment. Examples of these forms are words, models, stories, formulas, and media.
2. There is a four-fold tension in our behavior:
- When we use forms, we objectify things apart from us. in the same moment we have a background awareness of our self objectifying things. Objectifying is subjectifying.
- Though we feel ourselves solely in charge of our behavior, our behavior and its products are collaborative or social constructions. Our character, our style, our personality, our soul is developed interacting with caregivers, teachers, peers, and others. So are our forms and thoughts. Socializing is personalizing.
- When we use thoughts to interpret the past, we are projecting a future. The forms and friends we choose determine and are determined by the vision we have of what is good and right. Our vision of what is right and good is shaped by the language we inherit and the heroes we adopt.
- In all this we experience ourselves as intending the world as we want it to be and living in the world as it is.
The liberal illusion: The classic liberal (and modern conservative) assumes that there are eternal values ordained by the divine or by nature. And it is the responsibility of Tribe, Church or State, to enforce the rules and norms that correspond to those values.
Note: some of this is found in my The Adventure of Philosophy. Later I will apply this to the American elections and the candidates.