I admit I tend to bang on about illusions a lot... but only because they play such a vital role in keeping us in our place.
Here's a little short story for you. It has a point so bear with me:
One day a very ordinary fellow was on his way to work at the car wash. He was no different to you or me. He drove a beat up Dodge that was unreliable and unpredictable, he hated his job and his home was just a place to hang his hat and crash. Nothing spectacular about him. But, when he saw a huge plastic garbage bag dumped in the middle of the road, he didn't just drive around it like most of us probably would at 06:00 am on the way to work. He decided to put it in the back of his old Dodge (it was a mess anyway) and take it to the dump on his way home.
Well, this bag was heavy. There was no way he could lift it but he was determined not to leave this bag of (as he assumed) garbage in the middle of a public highway so he dragged the bag to the rear door and, as he did so, the plastic tore. Out tumbled a tightly packed wad of $100 bills! His heart beating wildly, he quickly got the bag into the back of his Dodge and split it open. It was full of $100 bills all tightly packed in stacks of 100. He counted the stacks... 200 in all. He had a total of £2000,000 in the back of his old Dodge! Well, he was civic minded enough to be willing to take and abandoned garbage bag to the dump... but that was as far as it went.
"Wow!" he muttered "Just think what I could do with this money!"
Going to the dump was definitely off the cards... come to that, so was going to work!
The old car struggled as he drove home with all that weight in the back. "Your days are numbered too, old pal!" he muttered, tapping the dashboard affectionately.
As soon as he got home, he put the money into several suitcases and dumped the garbage bag in the trash. He then spent the next week opening several bank accounts, some with a high interest return. He gave notice on his rented apartment and bought a neat little house just outside town. The Dodge went to the breakers yard and a 1960s Corvette Stingray took its place. His life had really turned around. Despite the amount he had already spent, his high interest accounts were really paying off and, pretty soon, he had more than he had started with. "I got the car of my dreams, I got a house that suits me and I don't have to work." He thought. "What more could I want?"
It then occurred to him that he'd always wanted his own boat. Nothing too flashy but big enough to be sea-worthy. Well, he soon had his boat and he was eager to take her out and treat himself to a little trip. He knew nothing about navigation but he didn't care, he wasn't going any place in particular anyway.
His lack of experience soon got him into trouble. He hit a storm that took him way, WAY out to sea. He had no idea where on the planet he was and, to cap it all, his boat hit a rock and sunk. However, as the boat had hit a rock, he figured he can't be far from land. Clinging to a piece of wreckage, he made his way to an uninhabited island.... where he remained for the rest of his life.
The story doesn't end here though. The first couple of years were tough but he gradually learned to hunt and identify what plants to gather for food. The problem here was that he couldn't store food because bugs would get into it and spoil it. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't fashion a bug-proof container. He'd learned to build a passable shelter which was fine until it rained. Then the roof would leak and, no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't make the roof waterproof. He'd learned a lot about adapting to his environment and making use of the natural materials around him... but it seemed there was nothing in Nature that could provide the bug-proofing and waterproofing he needed.
He endured this for another year or so when, one day, a hug plastic garbage bag full of tightly packed $100 bills washed ashore.
"Wow!" he cried. "Just think what I could do with this garbage bag!"
OK. I don't think I need to spell out the moral to this story. It's a story of value.
Money has only the value that those who allude to the illusion of power assign to it. It has no intrinsic value. It's value is an illusion but, because we all buy into the illusion, our friend was able to exchange it for things that had a far more tangible value to him. But this, too, was an illusion. Until then, he had lived in poverty and, yes. That was also an illusion. Without the concept of money, he would have access to everything he needed in life without worrying about whether he could afford it. The illusion of money brings with it the illusion of wealth and the illusion of poverty.
Sure the experience of wealth and poverty is very real but only because we submit to the assertion that money gives us access to what we want and the lack of money can bar us from the very basics of life. Do squirrels rent the trees they live in? Do they buy nuts and get extra when they're on Special Offer? No. Of course they don't. Wildlife have the freedom to live where they want and eat what they want. They don't have to work for it. Yet we deny this freedom to ourselves while claiming to be at the top of the 'Evolutionary Ladder' (another illusion).
The role of money is not to provide, for it is the very nature of life to do that. The role of money is to exclude. Money does not create wealth because wealth is here by default. Money creates poverty. Money provides the incentive to achieve more and the lack of it creates the penalty for not achieving. It is the promise and the threat that keeps everyone either hypnotised by the desire to gain more or cowed by the fear of losing what we have. It is the medium that keeps us all under the control of those who allude to power. And yet it is a sham. It does not exist.
Money is the Big Illlusion and it works only as long as we believe it.
But what was the thing of real value when the illusions had been stripped away? The garbage bag.
Think about it.