Throughout a lifetime, terms such as illusion and delusion can be thought of as negative influences, but are they always? Children often have the strong belief they are superheroes, which bolsters their confidence in various ways. The illusion of seeing such a superhero in a film, a book or even as a mascot can often be truly accepted and believed as being exactly as the character appears. Can that be a negative influence? We all have our own mentors, folks we may not know personally, but assume the person as we see them is exactly that person, with their characteristics we may admire. If those illusionary characteristics are beneficial to motivating another to achieve more than they thought was possible, how can that be viewed as less than a positive influence in a life? The desire to find illusions which may be inspirational or creating change which is very welcome by an individual can indeed change the course of one’s life direction. Often this dynamic may not even be one of any conscious thought, but rather a more subtle acceptance of any illusion which impacts a life.
It would seem with a strong sense of belief in an illusion, as in the examples above, an inner delusion is created as with a child thinking he truly is a superhero. That may be more extreme than those delusions which may be more neutral but that can aid someone, even if the essential truth is not evident and indeed is missing. There can obviously be harmful outcomes of delusional thought, which are not the examples relating to positive outcome. But other delusions can indeed be beneficial as illusions may be also. An example of a beneficial delusion could be one where someone is believing it is possible to achieve greatness in producing art, as other famous artists have done. Such a thought may increase motivation to create more art works, to take courses and consider the business aspect of becoming famous. As the artist works, they may have in their thoughts a strong sense of being a famous artist, even though they are not. In time, one never knows, even though the delusional attitude is not true in the present moment. Again, I do not believe this is harmful in anyway.
Considering a mind-body connection and the terms: illusion and delusion, it is possible to see how both terms may actually reinforce the mind-body theme of actions due to thoughts. If a person is training for an athletic event, they may feel they are imitating someone who they know of and feel the illusion of that person’s attitudes toward their training is helping them achieve more success in that athletic endeavour. The delusion of being even the very best at that particular athletic competition may result in improved mind-body unity than if those thoughts were not existing during the training.
Although there is obviously a darker side to both illusion and delusion, often inner strength and confidence can benefit from accepting a different attitude and behaviour in order to challenge oneself in a very new way. It is interesting to consider whether some historical ‘Greats’ of art, literature, music or athletics were indeed inspired by illusion or delusions which motivated their achievements.