50 Illusion Quotes For Defining What Is Real

Question your reality with these thought-provoking illusion quotes.

American astronaut John Young once said, “The greatest enemy of progress is the illusion of knowledge.”

What is an illusion? 

The word illusion comes from the Latin illude, which means mock or deceive.

Illusions come in many forms.

An illusion is anything false or deceptive associated with experiences that fool the senses. 

When we experience something that runs counter to what our eyes see or our ears hear, it can create an illusion.

Real-life illusions fool our senses.

We can attribute many illusions to the McGurk Effect, a visual-auditory illusion that tricks our minds. 

Illusion is a technique used to mislead, confuse or deceive other characters in literature, movies, shows, or performances.

When reading, illusion refers to the reader’s experience and how much they feel immersed in the literature.

It is that magical experience of feeling you are in the story you are reading. 

Illusion quotes about life

1. “Sometimes my art is just an illusion – or is it?” Criss Angel

2. “Luck is merely an illusion, trusted by the ignorant and chased by the foolish.” Timothy Zahn

3. “There is no doubt whatsoever that the universe is the merest illusion.” Ramana Maharshi

4. “For you who no longer possess it, freedom is everything; for us who do, it is merely an illusion.” Emil Cioran

5. “Playing a character is an illusion, and I feel that when you know too much about a person, possibly part of that illusion is disrupted.” Al Pacino

6. “Performance-enhancing drugs are an illusion. I wish I had never gotten involved with steroids. It was wrong. It was stupid.” Mark McGwire

7. “If time is not real, then the dividing line between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion.” Hermann Hesse

8. “People live with the illusion that we have a democratic system, but it’s only the outward form of one. In reality, we live in a plutocracy, a government of the rich.” Jose Saramago

9. “After a crisis, we tell ourselves we understand why it happened and maintain the illusion that the world is understandable. In fact, we should accept the world is incomprehensible much of the time.” Daniel Kahneman

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10. “People may think I’m trying something new by telling stories, but they’re just jokes connected to give the illusion of stories. But really, I just continue using my imagination and creating. That’s what I do.” Steven Wright

Illusion quotes to inspire and teach

11. “The greatest enemy of progress is the illusion of knowledge.” John Young

12. “Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is.” Charles M. Schulz 

13. “I think the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of reality because illusion never leaves us ultimately happy.” Parker Palmer

14. “Well, I also love magic, which is, you know, different than showmanship. Magic’s an art where you use sleight of hand or illusion to create wonder.” David Blaine 

15. “The environment that we call society is created by past generations; we accept it, as it helps us to maintain our greed, possessiveness, illusion.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

16. “The magical, supernatural force that is with us every second is time. We can’t even comprehend it. It’s such an illusion; it’s such a strange thing.” Anthony Hopkins

17. “The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.” John Steinbeck

18. “Now I believe I can hear the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion, deception, and ignorance, but it isn’t -it’s human.” Desiderius Erasmus

19. “Of course, the illusion of art is to make one believe that great literature is very close to life, but exactly the opposite is true. Life is amorphous; literature is formal.” — Francoise Sagan 

20. “The purpose of satire has been rightly stated as to strip off the veneer of comforting illusion and cozy half-truth, and our job, as I see it, is to put it back again!” Michael Flanders

Insightful illusion quotes

21. “Lost Illusion is the undisclosed title of every novel.” Andre Maurois

22. “Men should never marry their muse. It ruins the illusion.” Stana Katic

23. “We have an illusion of security, and we don’t have security.” Isaac Yeffet 

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24. “A man’s wife is his compromise with the illusion of his first sweetheart.” George Jean Nathan

25. “Art has a double face, of expression and illusion, just like science has a double face: the reality of error and the phantom of truth.” Publilius Syrus

26. “The most fatal illusion is the narrow point of view. Since life is growth and motion, a fixed point of view kills anybody who has one.” Brooks Atkinson 

27. “Glamor is a beautiful illusion – the word ‘glamour’ originally meant a literal magic spell – that promises to transcend ordinary life and make the ideal real.” Virginia Postrel 

28. “Is not this whole world an illusion? And yet it fools everybody.” Angela Carter 

29. “The secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is to give the other side the illusion of control. Don’t try to force your opponent to admit that you are right.” Christopher Voss 

30. “No illusion is more crucial than the illusion that great success and huge money buy you immunity from the common ills of mankind, such as cars that won’t start.” Larry McMurtry

Illusion quotes about love

31. “The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one.” Wayne Dyer

32. “Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.” Ludwig Borne

33. “Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion.” Miguel de Unamuno

34. “Life is an illusion. I am held together in the nothingness by art.” Anselm Kiefer 

35. “There is an optical illusion about every person we meet.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 

36. “There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’; it’s an illusion. We are all human beings.” Roger Waters 

37. “Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.” Scott Adams

38. “Love matches, so called, have illusion for their father and need for their mother.” Friedrich Nietzsche

39. “I don’t care if you’re gay, black, Chinese, straight. That means nothing to me. It’s all an illusion.” Joe Rogan 

40. “We cast away priceless time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality.” Judy Garland 

More illusions quotes to inspire you 

41. “A woman should be an illusion.” Ian Fleming

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42. “Fashion is the most beautiful illusion you can have.” Alessandro Michele

43. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Albert Einstein

44. “A poor man with nothing in his belly needs hope, illusion, more than bread.” Georges Bernanos

45. “Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.” George Orwell 

46. “Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self.” Wayne Dyer

47. “If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered.” Stanley Kubrick 

48. “Religion is an illusion, and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.” Sigmund Freud

49. “There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all.” Rebecca West 

50. “Time is an illusion. Time only exists when we think about the past and the future. Time doesn’t exist in the present here and now.” Marina Abramovic 

What did you learn from these illusion quotes?

Reality is subjective.

What is valid for one is not always true for all.

Each of us has a unique human experience.

Our egos are a part of our identity but not all of our identity. 

American psychologist Wayne Dyer once noted, “Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self.”

How we define illusion will change as we evolve.

There are aspects of ourselves that are illusions. 

We have thoughts or beliefs about who we think we are that may or may not be accurate.

Sometimes these ideas become so powerful they alter how we see reality.  

Self-reflection allows us to put our inner thoughts through a personal sieve of truth; we can filter out things that may not be authentic reflections of our reality. 

There is no shame in realizing we had the wrong impression of ourselves.

Illusions can hold us back from seeing who we are.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these illusion quotes and sayings?

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