In an allegory, an artist drew a picture of a beautiful person. He then falls in love with the person in his picture, and turns obsessed with her. Everybody around the artist don’t hesitate to tell him how he is a mad illogical fool.
However, we are also guilty of making the same mistake. The philosopher J. Krishnamurthi tells us how two people in love aren’t really two human beings in love with each other. Instead, two images of these human beings fall in love. The first person crafts an image of the second person and vice-versa. These images then enter into a relationship. However, these images are always static and imperfect. When either person differs from their partner’s image, this leads to conflict and eventually unravels the relationship.
How often do we see a person from faraway and assume that they are pretty, only to have this image shattered when they come closer? How often do we assume a pretty person to be kind, capable and good natured to also have this illusion shatter when we get to know them? The very reason familiarity breeds contempt is because familiarity shatters our images.
Similarly, we make an image of ourselves – the self, the ego – that we fall in love with. Just like that mad artist.
The tendency of our minds is to create an illusory image of the world around us that invariably shatters when it comes in contact with the real world. This is the root cause of our suffering.