The Paradox Of Illusion

The prophecy of the event leads to the event of the prophecy.                                                         Paul Watzlawick

When sick people believethey are taking medicine, they often get well, even though what they are taking is only a placebo. The placebo effect arises from the patient’s beliefsabout the treatment’s effect on the future, rather than form the treatment itself. The decisions you make today partly determine your future, but they also partly reflect what you believeyour future to be. Your beliefs about your future may be the most important factor in determining what your future will be. That’s what this blog is about.

You wouldn’t ask someone if they would like to take a placebo in order to get well. And you wouldn’t ask someone if they would like to take a placebo in order to have a positive future; although one might exist because the placebo effect is the result of positive thinking. Positive thinking/believing about the future might lead to a positive future prophecy. This takes us to the paradox of illusion: It is an erroneous perception or a positive self-deception. Therefore there are negative and positive illusions.

 The key to the paradox of illusion is in its definition: A false idea or belief;having been altered subjectively in some way in the mind of the perceiver. So an illusion is in the mind of the perceiver, having been altered subjectively. The subjective mind of the perceiver can make the illusion negative or positive. The subjective mind is where all subjective beliefs occur. Before the future arrives it exists in our minds, our dreams, our hopes, our visions or in our dreads and fears — in our positive or negative illusions.

If you want to have a positive future, you should get good at dreaming, not dreading. Most people seem to dream vaguely and dread precisely — especially about the future. If you think you can, you might. If you think you can’t, you’re right, Unknown. Thinking you can’t is a subjective belief, a negative illusion. Thinking you can is a positive illusion.

Shelley Taylor, in her 1989 book Positive Illusions, identified three positive illusions that create self-fulfilling prophecies: 1) Unrealistically positive views of oneself. 2) Illusions of control. 3) Unrealistic optimism for the future. Her book subtitle: Creative Self-Deception and the Healthy Mind.

If beliefs become prophecy, you will want to believe positively, to dream precisely. Positive dreams don’t always come true. And they won’t if you don’t dream them. Create your own built-in placebo for your positive future. How do you do that? Make your future your present responsibility.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.                             Eleanor Roosevelt





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  1. Marianne says:

    That all makes sense to have positive view of one’s future. However, it is easier said than done. I think I need help in developing a technique to change my illusions from negative to positive. It is more difficult at our age to create a positive future when we are dealing with less than positive. Of course, I realize we can and must develop positive ways to deal with our more difficult futures. Those futures are often somewhat beyond our control. Being proactive in planning how we will live in our aging is important, and I guess in a way is developing a positive outcome.

  2. Eugene Unger says:

    When major league hitters believe they will hit a 3 inch ball with a 3 inch bat traveling at at 100 mph at least 3 out of 10 attempts . Some get 30 million dollars a season to try!!



  3. Betsy Collard says:


    It’s been way too long. What about breakfast some day next week?

    Sent from my iPhone


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