Compass

Fresh Perspectives You Can Use.

Five Years After 9/11 – Life in a World of Illusions

When was the last time you couldn’t believe your eyes? For me that was Tuesday 11 September 2001, five years ago today, when I saw airplanes crashing into the World Trade Centre in New York on TV, collapsing the twin towers within two hours.

This simply cannot be happening, I thought. Is this a movie? It was just too outrageous to be real – and yet, as the tragedy unfolded before our very eyes live on TV, I had to accept it as true – seeing is believing, isn’t it?

As incredible as the 9/11 events were at the time, they are part of our reality today and we see the world with different eyes – life as we know it has changed, not only in the USA.

Although I haven’t been visiting New York myself since then, it never occurred to me that 9/11 might be a gigantic, cruel show. Of course is wasn’t. However, we can believably show anything on screen these days with special effects technology.

After all, in 1997 a movie called ‘Wag the Dog’ with Dustin Hoffman and Robert de Niro won two Oscars : a clever Hollywood producer and an American politician fabricate a war in Albania for TV, only to divert the public’s attention from a sex-scandal which threatens the re-election of the country’s president. Is it ironic that this whole scenario is very believable these days?

Parallel LinesFilm producers and politicians know that perception, not reality, is paramount to influence people. We tend to believe what we see with our own eyes, and yet our eyes betray us all the time : the long lines in the picture on the left for example are parallel, but the clever positioning of the short lines creates the illusion that they are not.

2 WomenThe second, rather famous image on the right here illustrates that what you see depends on you, not the picture – do you see the young woman or the old woman? Change your focus and you can see them both – there are always at least two sides to every story.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – what we believe is true for us. There is no objective reality because we all see the world through different glasses. We can choose the pink or the dark variety at any time, even view life through the bottom of a wine-bottle if we find that appealing.

We forget that we can choose though, only to take the same habitual viewpoints all the time, no matter what we observe – and miss a great opportunity to consciously create our own reality, to live in a world as we want it.

Life is a subjective experience, a projection : you tailor-make it to your own individual specifications. Life is an illusion, like a movie or a play on stage, although it appears to be real at the time of viewing because you immerse in it to feel the excitement, drama and joy of the action.

Why would you want to see a horror movie then?

Because you also love the terror and suspense – it is exhilarating and makes you feel alive. In a cinema, you are conscious of the fact that you are watching an illusion, that you have a temporary experience and will leave the theatre to return to ‘real’ life afterwards.

But life as a whole is the same way. Once we realise that we constantly create our pain as well as our happiness because we want or need to experience it, we’ll take responsibility for everything that happens to us and accept the power to change it.

If we did it, we can undo it.

There is nothing in your life that you have not created or attracted. You are the producer, director, scriptwriter and main character in this play. As long as you believe that there is someone else out there setting the stage, you dis-empower yourself to do anything about the performance.

But still, all sensations portrayed in the show are temporary and we can choose to either label them as painful or enjoyable – nothing is painful, unless you think it is. Let’s not forget that there are people who are jubilant about what happened on 9/11 in New York.

Five years down the line, have we learnt anything? Let’s just say that what I see today only confirms my resolve to stay out of politics and create my own world.

And some people still need their eyes tested, I think.

Until next time, all the best from : Berend

Sunday, 10 September 2006 - Posted by | 1. COMPASS eNewsletter

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