Why Reality is an Illusion: Five Major Factors That Influence How We Perceive Reality

Why Reality is an Illusion: Five Major Factors That Influence How We Perceive Reality

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by The Unbounded Thinker

‘Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.’ – Albert Einstein

We love advising each other to be realistic because we don’t know that reality is an illusion. A traditional African’s reality is different from an American’s reality. A child’s reality is different from an elderly person’s reality. A cat’s reality is different from our reality although we live in the same physical realm. Different creatures and people from different cultural backgrounds experience reality in a different way. What then is real?

Consciousness is the only reality. Everything else is an illusion. In other words, everything else is but a construct of perception.

To prove that reality is an illusion, I’ll share five factors that influence how we perceive reality.

1.Belief Systems

Most cultures’ belief systems affect how they perceive reality. For instance, the Maasai warrior believes a boy only graduates to manhood if he kills a lion. This belief system affects a Maasai’s perception of reality as he might believe that all adult males who haven’t killed a lion are still boys. For this reason, the Maasai might think Bill Gates is still a boy because he’s never killed a lion.

Besides this, an individual who believes snakes are bad will be scared to death if he encounters a snake while an Indian girl who plays with cobras won’t.


Senses are the biggest proof that reality is an illusion because animals’ extraordinary senses make them experience a different reality from ours. For instance, while we can’t see at night, snakes have a unique sensory system for detecting infrared radiation that enables them to see in total darkness. Also, a bear can zero in on the smell of a rotting carcass a mile away but we can’t.

3.The Information We’ve Been Exposed to

The information we’ve been exposed to affects how we perceive reality because it shapes our belief system. For instance, an individual who has read many inspirational books might believe it’s possible to be rich regardless of one’s socioeconomic status. On the other hand, a person who has never read these books might think it’s unrealistic to believe that one can rise from rags to riches.


Dimensions are levels of consciousness that affect how we perceive reality. People stuck in the 3rd dimension of consciousness believe human beings are victims of circumstances. They believe physical reality is the only reality. These people are governed by the sense of duality (good/bad, female/male), and they think all bodies are purely solid since the idea of a soul seems so far fetched to them.  

On the other hand, people who ascend to higher dimensions, such as the 5th dimension, believe in the existence of a spiritual world. They also view themselves as limitless beings who are masters of their circumstances.

Although they experience duality, they know reality is an illusion and they strive to transcend the dualistic world and awaken to oneness. Besides, their experience of time is somehow different because they sometimes lose the sense of linear time and feel as if everything is happening at once.


Your emotional state determines your reality. The sunset is a beautiful thing when you are happy, but boring when you are sad. Furthermore, fear can make you see things that don’t exist.

When good things happen in your life and you become happy, you perceive physical reality as a heavenly place. Conversely, when you become sad because tragedy just knocked on your door, you start believing that physical reality is unfair and the earthly realm is full of suffering.

Concluding Remarks

No one should ever tell you to be realistic because reality is subjective. It’s affected by belief systems, senses, information, dimensions, and emotions.

Whenever you are sad remember that you have created that reality and for this reason, you can make yourself happy by changing your belief system and emotional state.

And lastly, realize that ‘there’s no reality except the one contained within us. That’s why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.’ – Hermann Hesse

CHECK OUT..Why Reality is an Illusion (Part 2)

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