For humans, mêtis (watchful intelligence) grows in relation to what is present (Empedocles, fr.106 D-K)
Whoever deceives is more just than whoever does not deceive and whoever is deceived is wiser than whoever is not deceived (Gorgias, fr.82 B 23 D-K)
Deception, to these people [Parmenides, Empedocles, Gorgias], is wisdom’s ornament and truth’s halo. Nobody, however foolish or wise, has the slightest chance of escaping it. For according to this tradition there is no ascending to the truth. There is only a descending, a constant bending to embrace illusion as well as truth through learning the justice of deceiving and –behind even that– the wisdom of being deceived (Peter Kingsley, Reality, p.494)
We’ve come to exist in a culture which not only moves away from its spiritual roots, but tries to scape from reality at any expense, even when we pursue “spiritual ideals”, trying to be free of anxiety and distress by achieving an “imagined desirable something” which is somewhere else but here and now.
All dualistic views insist on searching something better by overcoming or disolving delusions. Western science and academic philosophy are a clear example, struggling in endless conceptual debates and fragmenting things into smaller and smaller bits to be more precise and predictive.
But let’s leave kids play. After all, isn’t deception an essential part of our life and Reality as a whole?
This may lead us to think: “how boring and disappointing can life be sometimes; how tricky, painful and overwhelming are some emotions and desires; that can´t be part of the Truth". Then we would be missing those perceptions are just another trick of our dull mind. A hidden vanity moves us to define a dead box we take for true life. Meanwhile, our five senses remain as mere flower buds –as Empedocles put it–, disconnected from the common sense that links them all.
By fortune life shatters our fixed views into pieces, for we are not meant to feed the appearances, but only let them be and play their divine role, just as in the tale, when Buddha did not succumb to the tricks of Mara, the Tempter, and came to recognize him as his own reflection, finding rest, at last; or Jesus, who listened to the Devil but did not follow his three temptations.
Reality or Truth is not the opposite of delusion. And delusion is only an aspect of it. All we perceive through the body are but shadows that can never be separated from the Vast Mind that never changes and gave them birth.
That is precisely the reason why our falls and deceptions are bells tolling for us.