Daily Archives: July 30, 2008

Illusions

An excerpt from “the illusionless man” by Allen Wheelis

“Once upon a time there was a man who had no illusions about anything. While still in the crib he had learned that his mother was not always kind; at two he had given up fairies; witches and hobgoblins disappeared from his world at three; at four he knew that rabbits at Easter lay no eggs; and at five on a cold night in December, with a bitter little smile, he said good-bye to Santa Claus. At six when he started school illusions flew from his life like feathers in a windstorm: he discovered that his father was not always brave or even honest, and that presidents are little men, that the Queen of England goes to the bathroom like everybody else, and that his first grade teacher, a pretty round faced young woman with dimples, did not know everything, as he had thought, but thought only of men and did not in fact know much of anything. At eight he could read, and the printed word was a sorcerer at exorcising illusions – only he knew there were no sorcerers. The abyss of hell disappeared into the even larger abyss into which a clear vision was sweeping his beliefs. Happiness was of course a myth; love a fleeting attachment, a dream of enduring selflessness glued onto the instinct of a rabbit. At twelve he dispatched into the night sky his last unheard prayer. As a young man he realized that the most generous act is self-serving, the most disinterested inquiry serves interest; that lies are told by printed words, even by words carved in stone; that art begins with a small “a” like everything else, and that he could not escape the ruin of value by orchestrating a cry of despair into a song of lasting beauty; for beauty passes and deathless art is quite mortal. Of all those people who love illusions he lost more than anyone else, taboo and prescription alike; and as everything became permitted nothing was left worthwhile.”

That is a description of a life that is empty, empty of hope, happiness, joy, and a future.

Find happiness in what you do and in who you are. Seek joy in what you do. Chart a path that is filled with joy and follow it.