No Illusions, No Delusions

Sunday, May 25, 2008 – No Illusions, No Delusions  


Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone “America died from a delusion that she had moral leadership.” ~ Will Rogers


It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness. ~ Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy


Getting rid of a delusion makes us wiser than getting hold of a truth. ~ Ludwig Borne


One cannot properly appreciate the human realities so long as one labors under the adolescent delusion that people get the fates they deserve. ~ Nicholas Rescher


Actually we are a vulgar, pushing mob whose passions are easily mobilized by demagogues, newspaper men, religious quacks, agitators and such like. To call this a society of free peoples is blasphemous. What have we to offer the world besides the superabundant loot which we recklessly plunder from the earth under the maniacal delusion that this insane activity represents progress and enlightenment? ~ Henry Miller


A sense of humor always withers in the presence of the messianic delusion, like justice and truth in front of patriotic passion. ~ Henry Louis Mencken


DELUSION, n. The father of a most respectable family, comprising Enthusiasm, Affection, Self-denial, Faith, Hope, Charity and many other goodly sons and daughters. ~ Ambrose Bierce


Delusion produced not one mischief the less because it is universal. ~ Edmund Burke


When a man finds himself led, though by a train of honest sentiments, to wish for that which he has no right, he should start back as from a pitfall covered with flowers. He that fancies he should benefit the public more in a great station than the man that fills it will in time imagine it an act of virtue to supplant him; and as opposition readily kindles into hatred, his eagerness to do that good, to which he is not called, will betray him to crimes, which in his original scheme were never proposed. ~ Samuel Johnson, Rambler #8 (April 14, 1750)


Every man amuses himself with projects which he knows to be improbable, and which, therefore, he resolves to pursue without daring to examine them. ~ Samuel Johnson, Adventurer #69 (July 3, 1753)


However we may labour for our own deception, truth, though unwelcome, will sometimes intrude upon the mind.” ~ Samuel Johnson, Idler #80 (October 27, 1759)


Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces. ~ Sigmund Freud


It is respectable to have illusions – and safe – and profitable, and dull. ~ Joseph Conrad


Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. Drugs, alcohol, or lies. Unable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort. ~ Jean Cocteau


I’m all for the illusion that I’m a sex symbol. ~ James Nesbitt


One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. ~ Carl Sagan


A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. ~ Saul Bellow


Some of my best friends are illusions. Been sustaining me for years. ~ Sheila Ballantyne


If you are a novelist of a certain type of temperament, then what you really want to do is re-invent the world. God wasn’t too bad a novelist, except he was a Realist. ~ John Barth


Few people have the imagination for reality. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought. ~ John Kenneth Galbraith


The formula “two and two make five” is not without its attractions. ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground, 1864


As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. ~ Albert Einstein


There’s something beautifully soothing about a fact – even (or perhaps especially) if we’re not sure what it means. ~ Daniel J. Boorstin


What seems to be, is, to those to whom it seems to be, and is productive of the most dreadful consequences to those to whom it seems to be, even of torments, despair, eternal death. ~ William Blake


There is no such thing as real happiness in life. The justest definition that was ever given of it was “a tranquil acquiescence under an agreeable delusion” – I forget where. ~ Laurence Sterne


All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher. ~ Ambrose Bierce


Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick. ~ Bruce Lee


I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it. ~ Garrison Keillor