For centuries, philosophers have made mention of a “hidden reality” and then speculated as to its nature and how one might dispel illusion and bring what is hidden within sight. Those given to metaphysical speculation posit another world reached by passing through a portal. We have all seen the movies and television series inspired by the old tales of magical caves or fairy rings that, once entered, transport one to another place not of this Earth. Spiritual types speak of supernatural beings inhabiting spirit worlds “beyond” our normal ken. The belief gave rise to some of the world’s largest religions.
Hermann Hesse used simple doors to symbolize the entrance to hidden realities in his controversial novel, Steppenwolf. (Photo: Wikimedia)
Concepts, abstract or general ideas, are a veil that hides reality from our eyes. Without our knowing it, they create a powerful illusion. Anyone who unquestioningly accepts their society’s consensus worldview is suffering from cultural hypnosis. Most of us are affected. We sleepwalk through our lives never understanding that much of what we assume to be true simply is not. We are not even aware that concepts can have this effect.
Many of us sleepwalk through our lives in a muddled state of cultural hypnosis. (Image: public domain)
To dispel the illusion, we must peer past preconceived concepts at the raw data of experience. There is a hidden reality, but it is not on some astral plane or stashed in some mystical “beyond.” The hidden reality is all around us, firmly rooted in this world, yet invisible to eyes blinded by consensus notions of what we are seeing. The hunger that cries, “There must be more to life than this” is, in part, the hunger to experience what lies behind the obscuring veil of concepts. Many sense its presence, as indeed they must, but immediately fall into the very trap they need to escape. They conceptualize the nature of this hidden reality in bizarre and obscure ways, thus trading a consensual illusion for another, even more unrealistic, one.