Vital lies

Take stock of those around you and you will …
hear them talk in precise terms about themselves
and their surroundings, which would seem to
point to them having ideas on the matter. But
start to analyse those ideas and you will find that
they hardly reflect in any way the reality to which
they appear to refer, and if you go deeper you
will discover that there is not even an attempt to
adjust the ideas to this reality. Quite the contrary:
through these notions the individual is trying to
cut off any personal vision of reality, of his own
very life. For life is at the start a chaos in which
one is lost. The individual suspects this, but he is
frightened at finding himself face to face with
this terrible reality, and tries to cover it over with
a curtain of fantasy, where everything is clear. It
does not worry him that his “ideas” are not true
he uses them as trenches for the defense of his
existence, as scarecrows to frighten away reality.

—JOSÉ ORTEGA Y GASSET

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