Magician’s were once massive misogynists and sawing a woman in half was an act I remember seeing a few times in my childhood. It goes back a couple of hundred years. You know the illusion. A beautiful woman gets inside a box, which is then closed and locked, and her feet pop out the bottom. The magician produces a saw and begins to cut into her. When he’s got all the way through the woman and the box, he separates the two ends and strikes a misogynistic pose – and the audience applauds.
Imagine being in the 1800s and seeing that act for the first time. Many in the audience would have thought it was real. You’d either be amazed or horrified, running to the stage to apprehend the murderer and give him a good beating before the police arrived. If you thought it was magic or murder, would you have been correct? No, you would have been guilty of misinterpreting reality.
The reality, the state of things as they actually were, was that it was an illusion: the magician had a special box, the saw never touched the woman and she always remained intact. The misinterpretation was that the woman had been sawn in half, separated and put back together again. The sawing into flesh, the separating of flesh and the reconnecting of the flesh were only real in the minds of the audience; and the reality of the situation remained real, regardless of what happened in those minds.
Now, two hundred years on, ponder why we’d see through the illusion – effortlessly – the very moment we saw the usual kind of box getting wheeled onto the stage?
That’s the effortlessness we can wake up to every morning when we feel the sense ‘I am’ – instead of then getting lost in the illusion of ‘I am me, this person, in bed right here, warm and cosy, with this, that and the other to do today, and blimey, I’ve just remembered what happened yesterday; so hey, I’ll better get up and get washed and changed and make a cup of tea and…’ We still get up and get on, but we’re no longer lost in the illusion of what isn’t.