Reality vs. Imagination vs. Illusion
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(original post: Aug. 1, 2011 07:40)

It is only due to some kind of illusion that we see a world. Everything is in the mind.” ~ Remez Sasson

Reality, Imagination, Illusion

One of the many long sought after understandings of life – what is the difference between reality, imagination, and illusion, and how do we know? There have been many deep discussions about this topic, and on an understandable and explainable level, it all seems to become clear, or does it?

Remez Sasson’s analogy:

Have you ever watched a movie, when at some point the reel got stuck or there was a power failure? What happens to you when you watch an interesting, absorbing film on the television and then suddenly there are commercials? You are snapped out of the illusion to the world around you. When you are sleeping and dreaming, and someone wakes you up, you feel thrown out of one world to a different one. It is the same in the life we call reality. It is possible to wake up from it.

This only scratches the surface and answers nothing. For some, this analogy is still difficult to comprehend. For others, this may awaken the mind to a new perspective. Some will continue to question everything.


In the East, metaphors are used in order to demonstrate what illusion is in relation to Reality. A jewel made of gold may be called an earring or a necklace, but actually it is only gold. Before it became a jewel, and after it is melted it is only gold. Clay is shaped into vessels such as plates, cups, or vases, but they are only clay.

Due to convenience of speech, we call these objects made of gold or clay by many names, but they are really only clay or gold. Everything in existence is “made” from the Original Substance, and is not a “real” thing standing by itself, exactly as in the above examples. Nothing has a reality of its own.” ~ Sasson

If “nothing has a reality of its own”, how then can it also have an original substance, lest the original substance also be an illusion? It is not difficult to discern that a necklace made out of gold is gold, no matter its new form. But if gold be its original substance, can we therefore consider ‘gold’ to be an original substance? Or is it just another figment of our imagination?

Gold itself is made up of minerals and elements that create it. If we begin to see this, and understand this, does the gold then return to its original forms and cease to exist gold? Does the mind begin to feel the heat and pressure required to turn these elements into gold?

A Mind’s Limits

If we begin to view the refrigerator as an illusion, that it is nothing more than materials held together to house foods that require colder climate control, it means nothing to our senses, only to our mind. In that, what have we truly been set free from?

If we begin to view the refrigerator as an illusion in that it really does not exist at all, should the refrigerator, for all intents and purposes, vanish?

What is the limit of our mind’s capabilities? What, exactly, is the difference between reality, imagination, and illusion? Is there a way to break free from them all?

For Remez Sasson’s full article, Reality Versus Illusion and Imagination