The reality gap

Do you remember those multi coloured abstract pictures that you had to focus on in a particular way to see a three dimensional image?

Once you had mastered the particular shift in focus required to see the image, the image was perfectly obvious. To someone else, who hadn’t seen the pictures before, mastering the unusual focus was a difficult thing to do and a certain percentage of the population find it impossible to do. Even when you were practised at it, the slightest loss of concentration allowed the image to slide into an abstract mush of colours again and the illusion was lost.

Fame and fortune are similar to these pictures except that the illusion is reversed. The three dimensional illusion is the one that everyone can see without any effort as it is the one that surrounds us constantly. The abstract mush of colours hidden in the illusion is the one that is difficult to perceive. Some people may never be able to see this reality. The distance between these two levels of understanding is the reality gap.

To the uninitiated, fame and fortune ‘appears’ as a fully rounded, three dimensional, desirable reality. But what they perceive is simply an idea – it has to be because they are not rich or famous enough themselves (they imagine). The reality of fame and fortune has to include the minutes; the day to day stuff which everyone has to do but is of no interest to the media as it spoils the illusion of being rich and famous (which the media feed on so it is in their interest to maintain that illusion).

Similarly, even if you have seen through the illusion, a lack of concentration can allow the idea of fame and fortune as something desirable to reassert itself – it being all pervasive – and it takes an act of mental effort to remember the illusion.

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