The Age of Illusion

The Prisoner

Life today, so defined by the hard edges of technology, offers little respite to the senses - and so, the intellect. The screens always seem to be there, grabbing our attention, stoking emotion, creating expectation when the reality most often is a glowing void. What technology taketh away in solace it giveth in distraction, dopamine, and cortisol. Our techno-driven modern existence is an extended hall of mirrors, designed to seduce, stimulate, and enslave.

And so we dwell in the midst of our own reflection, our persistent narcissism and neurosis. But the images thrown back to us are often blurred and distorted, putting us hardly at ease. We grow discomfited, in fact, are made anxious and alienated from ourselves. We want to love our reflection, but sensing distortion, we distrust it.

Distrusting ourselves, we find it hard to trust others. Despite the immediate and hyperconnected nature of our life, it all lies on the shifting sands of anomie. We hoard Facebook “friends” for comfort, but they just as easily lurk as potential enemies should we defy the proper dogma - drift from our “lane” - or rouse envy to an undue level. Each of us “friends” is readily disposable, primed for cancellation at the slightest deviation. We tread a narrow and perilous path in a world made fragile by our own egos.

The hall of mirrors, so confounding to identity, doubles as a maze. It confines, contains, and confuses the psyche. We struggle to find the exit, while at the same time we stop to gaze at the next looking glass, hoping the next image we see will dispel our demons and offer deliverance. And so we yield to the labyrinth’s perpetual promise. We cannot pass it by without stopping to look, like Lot’s wife, and so turn back on - and into - our own illusion.

Beyond the Synthetic

The way out beyond this synthetic existence? Salvation, a land receding, like a coastline ship’s stern. You have to climb the rail and take the leap. Jump and start swimming.

Let the surf take you and wash you up on the beach. You wake in sunshine and salty air, revived in the world you were born into. Human connection. Words softly spoken. Emotion displayed tenderly, properly, and in proportion. The written word. On the printed page. Leading to reflection and considered thought. And that leads to conversation - speech that is freely exchanged, not hurled in anger like a dart. Nothing reflects back to us in this high touch world, devoid of the shiny and alluring. Rather it draws us in and envelopes us with an earthy sense of ease and love.

Once we join identity and sensibility to this timeless environment, rooted in nature, we lose the harsh and brittle judgement of the mirror. We lose self consciousness and merge with the source. Through touch we get in touch. This is the way back.