It's life's illusions I recall; I really don't know life at all.
by Joni Mitchell from the song Both Sides, Now. I never liked that song. I felt the lyric rather naive and cliched -- even as a rather naive teen, myself. What she is terming illusions I would call facets of reality. Alternative descriptions. After all, we can only know things by how we perceive them, by the metaphors we create to order our world.
Illusion is, itself, an illusion. We attempt to tell ourselves this is real and this is illusion but it's all, ultimately, real. And all illusion, as well. The thing is to attempt to understand our perceptions, to recognize the meanings of the illusions -- the metaphors -- that make up life.
To create our own metaphors in an attempt to better understand, for we can never directly experience 'reality.' This is why we have art, literature, religion. It's why we have science and even accounting -- they're all ways of ordering our existence and experience.
So look at 'both sides' and recognize that you do know life (or clouds or love). Not all of it but this much, this illusion.
Stephen Brooke ©2010