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Freeman, P. (2012). First Brief Communication: The Resilience of Illusion. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 9(1):78-83.

(2012). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 9(1):78-83

Brief Article

First Brief Communication: The Resilience of Illusion

Phillip Freeman, M.D.

Advances in technology inevitably provoke fears that we are getting ahead of ourselves, transgressing, losing our bearings. Even in the realm of play, the super-enhanced toys offered by more exact simulations and virtual worlds can be viewed as the Devil's playground.

Some turn down the virtual because they fear losing touch with reality. Some turn down the real because they fear a disruption of their own constructed fictions. Some imagine themselves beyond illusion. In this, the first of two brief communications, I consider the ambivalent reception of the virtual as evidenced by fictional narratives in which the protagonists refuse virtual omnipotence and attack the illusionists.

Illusions - from unrecognized assumptions, convictions, and predictions to the more consciously constructed solace of daydream fictions - are ubiquitous. As a psychoanalyst, I have the opportunity to hear about or intuit the role of illusion. Illusions of triumph, love, justice, recognition. Illusions of having once enjoyed a paradise, and of the wait for its return.

A successful academic, a community leader, an athlete and a family man, endlessly pours over his memorabilia of his childhood accomplishments. He rues that he was once full of promise but now - and for as long as he can remember - he enjoys nothing and lacerates himself with dry-eyed assessments of his inadequacies. He readily admits that rationally he should enjoy what he is and has but he knows that he is after bigger game and that no game would be big enough. Every day he recounts his strivings and everyday he waits. His endgame is out of focus, just a vague feeling of finally arriving at some satisfied state.

His illusions of past perfection, and future deliverance, like the imagined quid pro quo for renounced desire, have only yielded suffering to date. But his suffering only adds to his conviction that his virtue will someday be rewarded and so, for the moment, patience, interminable patience, is its own reward.

There are also the illusions of having no illusions.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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