We live today in a world of almost complete illusion. I am not referring here to the concept of maya as understood in Indian philosophy. That is simply mistaking appearance for reality and has always existed. It is part of being in this world and not seeing that the outer (the measurable) derives from the inner (that which is beyond the senses), having no substantive reality in itself. Maya is connected to Nature (Nature is the Mother and maya is certainly feminine) and, in itself, entirely natural even if illusionary when regarded as fundamental.
But, no, that is not what I mean at all. The illusion we live in today is far more destructive of truth than that for it does not involve mistaking the natural for the real, but has to do with the greater error of failing to distinguish sufficiently between the artificial and the natural. In a physical sense alone, most of us live our lives in a totally artificial environment, surrounded by and dependent on machines. Of course, we still appreciate the natural world but that is not the environment in which most of us live or really have very much to do with. I am not saying that we should all go back to live in caves but a line can be crossed when the disconnect between natural and artificial becomes too weighted in favour of the latter, and then there is a price to be paid. The trouble is that by that point we are usually too much in thrall to the artificial to even notice. I would submit that that line has been crossed, and we are leaving it ever further behind.
But even this is not the truly important issue. The more complete illusion lies in the realm of thought. It is here, in our ideas about ourselves and the world, that the problem really lies. Once we close our minds to metaphysical truth, the so called vertical pole of reality, once we deny our divine origins, we literally enter into a thought world of complete ignorance, and everything we then believe and think is founded on unreality. Today we see the results of this in every sphere. Let me list a few.
In religion, or what has become of it, void of spirit and mystery and lacking any sense of God as a living reality, the living reality: simply reduced, for the most part, to a form of humanism that is more concerned with this world than the next. Even most modern spirituality seems more concerned with what its participants get out of it in emotional and personal fulfilment than in acquiring real holiness of character or displaying devotion for the Creator.
In science which, despite claims of objectivity, has been perverted by an atheistic and materialistic agenda, now so all-pervasive that it is largely unrecognised. Indeed, the very idea of knowledge is fundamentally misunderstood by modern science for it is increasingly seen as having a utilitarian function alone, being but a means to reshape the world according to our desires with no notion of what is really real or understanding that knowledge of the material world is actually the lowest form of knowledge; only truly meaningful when placed in a hierarchical context with knowledge of God sitting at the apex and known to be the one true knowledge, in the light of which all other knowledge must be seen.
In politics where, on the one hand, a horizontal and rigidly enforced egalitarianism has completely supplanted any idea of a natural hierarchy inherent in God and Nature (as the Masters said 'men are by no means equal on the Earth plane'), while, on the other, all non-financial considerations are sacrificed to the idea of the economy, otherwise known as Mammon. We are more concerned with equality than quality, and a nation’s economic success is the yardstick by which it is not only judged but judges itself.
In art, no longer devoted to the pursuit of the good, the beautiful and the true but preoccupied now, according to whether it is deemed 'high' or 'low', with the popular, the challenging and the novel. No longer interested in penetrating the veil between this world and the next, and bringing something of the next world into this one, but focused instead on the exploration and even celebration of the enclosed and earthbound little self.
In morality, now reduced to treating everybody equally and permitting anything that does not actually harm (or appear to as far as we know) anyone else. Gone is the traditional sense of obligation to and reverence for our Creator. Gone is the idea that we have a soul that can be harmed by actions, and even thoughts, which are counter to truth as it exists on the spiritual plane which, if acknowledged at all, is viewed as barely more than an extension of this world. Instead of an understanding that a proper morality must be directed towards a spiritual end, and seen in the context of the reality of God, what we have instead is one that takes the advancement of human happiness and the reduction of suffering in this world as its sole goal.
And in the relation between the sexes which, properly managed, is the bedrock of all civilisation but which maladjusted, with its complementary nature rejected, leads to disharmony and confusion throughout society. Tragically for both sexes, not to mention children, this relation is now in the process of being deconstructed and remade according to a godless and materialistic ideology.
I am not saying that things were better in the past. Some things may have been, many very obviously were not. But that is not the point. This has always been a fallen world. Previously, however, the way beyond its limitations and boundaries were known to everybody and clearly marked out. The lustre from the higher worlds illuminated, however dimly, art, philosophy and even the everyday beliefs of the ordinary person, educated or not. Now the gates appear to have been closed. The prison doors are shut. In fact, we no longer even realise we are in a prison. We take it as the normal and true state, and that is the problem.
I return to the saying of Jesus I have quoted several times in this pages. "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?" This is the Faustian pact we appear to have made, and it is the cause of the illusion in which we live. The simple denial of transcendence, which is a denial of reality, means that we are wrong in every single area of life. Of course, many people might accept transcendence and still labour under an illusion as to its nature and their relationship to it. See Christian fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists. See also many psychics, occultists and others who seek to exploit God for their personal benefit. But that is a different matter. The prevailing world view, the one which forms our world and in which our children are educated and brought up, denies the reality of God. And when you deny truth, you inevitably live in illusion.