Monday, July 26, 2010

Reality is at times an illusion.

From Wikipedia:
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be....

I hate the word 'reality'.

Reality does not seem to always exist. Reality TV, for example, is simply not real at all. Even the news is edited, not really real either. And all the shows about Hollywood and the magazines like People that we devour? Also fake. Always either trying to put a good person in a bad light, or the other way around. Entertaining, but certainly not reality.

Spin, spin, spin.

And don't even get me started on politics. Or politicians.

So, where do we find reality?

Is what we see and hear real? Can we trust what we see and hear?

The only thing that I see that is certainly real is death. And after the death has occurred, we still change what we have seen and tell stories of a death from our own perspective.

And I guess that is what reality really is. A view from our own perspective. Just our own reality. No one elses.

But we do rely on other's perspectives. And that sometimes is a problem.

Because it is simply not always real. And many times an illusion.

I guess what got me started on all of this was meeting Priscilla Presley this past weekend. She is someone we have all heard of and seen on TV and in movies. Many times, she has been made fun of. Especially lately, with garish pictures in magazines showing her in an unflattering way. Looking rather plastic and unreal somehow.

But when I saw her and saw how she really looked (tiny, petite, her face pretty, not as bad as the magazines lead us to believe and much, much younger than her age of 65) and how she acted (like a really nice person, shy and polite), I suddenly realized we had been misled. They sold us an illusion. And a bad one at that.

Here was a real person who has thoughts and feelings just like we do. Sure, she is famous and rich and lived under the shadow of a name bigger than life. But she was just as friendly as anyone I have ever known and she treated everyone as though she was thrilled to meet them. And it was not an act. I can spot a phony a mile away.

There was a man in front of me, waiting in line to meet her, who lived in Kentucky and who had been, and still was, a huge Elvis fan. He had with him a signed postcard from an Elvis concert he attended in 1971 that was signed by Elvis and a few members of his band. He told us he had waited all these years to finally meet Priscilla and have her sign it as well. He hoped she would, but understood if she could only sign the model horse that the organizers told us was the only thing she would sign and not to ask for anything else. He was so sincere and such a nice guy. He said he would simply ask her and if she said no he would not press the issue. We all hoped she would sign it.

Finally, when it was his turn to meet Priscilla, he showed her the postcard. She was stunned and happy to to see it. She ogled and awed and talked to him about his memories of that concert. Then, she asked for a special pen and signed away. All the people waiting, and there were quite a few, stood and applauded. I am sure that Priscilla wondered about that. But we were all so thrilled for him. And we all told her thanks as we went up to her. Thanks for being so kind to this man. And we meant it.

And we all realized, too, that she was very real. Not a joke as they portray her to be on TV and in the rags.

She was an illusion that turned to reality, not the other way around.

It was a good lesson. It made me stop to think about how I perceive things and to know that my mom was right when she would say to me, "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see."

So we should all be cautious when we hear something about someone we don't know. We should not judge. We should remember that others are trying very hard to make us see things from their perspective, from their reality. And most times, it is only an illusion. Made up for some gain.

I am not sure what there is to gain by making someone else look bad. Perhaps it is to sell magazines or newspapers or whatever. Or to try to make themselves look better by putting others down.

But it is quite mean and I have to wonder what we have become as people who clamor for this misinformation, and view it as entertainment.

You know, we really have such a short time here on this planet. That is certainly a reality. And it is a real shame to waste it in this way.

I would much prefer to spend it the way Priscilla does; being real to ourselves regardless of what other's say.

And taking the time to make people happy.

The image is one thing and the human being is another...It's very hard to live up to an image, put it that way.
~~~Elvis Presley

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.
~~~Abraham Joshua Heschel

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.
~~~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances.
~~~Saint Vincent de Paul

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