HUMINT: Political Illusion

POLITICAL ILLUSION: When the supportive architecture of a democratic society is misinterpreted and subsequently portrayed to be tyrannically suppressive.

POLITICAL VISION: The empowerment of officers in society to protect and serve all citizens’ liberties without infringing on existing democratic architecture.

ESSAY: Optical illusions are visually perceived Images that trick our senses into seeing what may or may not exist. For example, Rubin’s Vase is a popular, two dimensional illusion. Indeed, it’s a perfect specimen to illustrate the major premise of this essay. For the uninitiated, the curves of Rubin’s Vase double as a silhouette of two opposing human faces. If you are familiar with the illusion, it’s easy for an average observer to flip from a visual perception of a vase, to two faces. Rubin’s Vase is a relatively simple optical illusion. Most illusions are more complex. The origins of optical illusions probably derive from the way we choose to communicate with each other. Letters and numbers are paramount examples. Two dimensional representations of abstract concepts are rudimentary symbols. Inherently, all symbols are open to ambiguous interpretations. Therefore, symbols are a blessing with seemingly harmless, if not entertaining, illusionary side effects.

It is reasonable to believe, mankind’s first illusions came about when we started abstractly remembering our needs. Utilizing speculative anthropology, assume memories of prey tracks represent the origins of two dimensional communication techniques. Paws and hooves, acting as stamps in sand and mud, took information pertinent to tribal needs out of the time domain. We should infer ancient hand prints on cave walls were liberating their makers from the time domain in the same way they understood tracks liberate information about prey from the time domain. The obvious difference between cave paintings and tracks is the subtle difference between art and nature. If cave paintings are indeed art, these graphics represent another human epiphany in time. The transition from cognitively manipulating information in one’s environment to satiate survival needs, to manipulating information for social expression was an important leap. Clearly, the change ripped the lid off Pandora’s Box.

In terms of perception, optical illusions are an important part of the past, present and future of human communication. In fact, optical illusions only represent the tip of a proverbial iceberg of possible misperceptions and miscommunications. Optical illusions are more familiar to society because academics can easily observe and study them. Natural bias for optics aside, what about more complex sensory illusions? Human beings actually see with their brains, not their eyes. Look at a variety of optical illusions carefully and it becomes clear; optics have very little to do with most optical illusions. Human vision is a complex sensory system that can be tricked at various stages. The illusion actually takes occurs in an observers brain, not in their eyes. Indeed, neuronal perception is the easiest stage to bamboozle. We are in fact talking about cognitive illusions, not optical illusions. Therefore, every human perception is susceptible to some form of illusion.

To explore the impact or existence of illusion on other areas of perception, we’ll need to take speculation further. Persistent illusions among a populous eventually reveal themselves through some legislative body. The resultant policy will speak for itself. In the worst cases, such illusions have led to incredible cataclysms, including, but not limited to world war. A common myth is, history is written by the victors. The outcome war is never a coin toss. History’s dust bin is littered with political illusions. Hitler’s 1000 Year Reich, Stalin’s Communist Utopia, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Empire are just a few recent examples. Each illusion has failed to live up to their most ardent champion’s mirage. But, what separates these political illusions from legitimate political vision?

The patterns inherent in mankind’s pursuit of a successful, sustainable and stable society are revealing themselves with every successive attempt. Political illusions inevitably destroy individuals most able to actualize success. The most likely reason for repeated failure of political illusionaries exists because utopian success, by definition, is forever unattainable. On the other hand, legitimate political visionaries leverage every member of society, to iteratively achieve goals that inevitably lead to success. Alternatively, legitimate political vision inevitably empowers officers who serve and protect society. Legitimate political visions are self sustaining processes, while political illusions are self defeating processes. Worst of all, political illusions systematically undermine society’s legitimate officers to protect and sustain the illusion.

It is not unusual for some individuals to get it wrong. Utopian illusions may even gain traction among democratically minded individuals. Even when individuals or organizations are resisting corrupt dictators and tyrants, they may or may not subscribe to a legitimate political vision. To be sure, all visions and illusions deserve severe public scrutiny. When an entire society subscribes to an illusion, mankind will inevitably correct the transgression, or parish as a whole. Have no doubt; confronting strong proponents of illusions requires eternal vigilance. Vigilance in this context can only mean; confronting a persistent political illusion with a legitimate political vision.

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