Marius (Germany) interviews Marcus Stegmaier


Question: You say that life is illusory, what are the grounds on which this opinion stands?


Response: The question is, on which grounds man claims that life is real?


True, but if one comes from the opinion that life is real one must investigate why it could be illusory.


No, if one understands that life is not real, then it becomes clear that it is illusory. Therefore what is it that makes you believe that life is real?


The belief of the last 17 years is now just tried to be turned upside down through a thesis which sounds comprehensible but also is not based on any proof. And on the other hand the opposite thesis that life is real, is also not based on any proof. Therefore i try to find some theses now that life is an illusion and not real.


O.k., the belief that the world or life is real, is a belief, isn`t it? And wisdom is not at all about to accquire another belief which claims that the world is illusory. - It does not help you at all to believe that the world is illusory. And this means that it would not even help you to have valid proof about it, because afterwards in your daily life the world still appears real to you.


O.k. you claim that all that is around us is an illusion, this statue of Steve Jobs, this microphone, this MacBook. - But we are able to touch it, why should it then be an illusion?


Does your computer come to you and say that it is a MacBook?


No, it does not say it to me but it is written on it...


By itself it does not say it - Who is it that tells you that it is a MacBook?


If i close my eyes then i can feel something, if i open the eyes then i see something...


Who says to you that you feel and see something? How come that you know that you feel something?


By “palpation“ of the material and by means of concluding about what i have felt. Advertising has told me that this thing consisting of aluminium with a keyboard and a display is a MacBook. - Therefore i am also able with closed eyes to know, touching the keyboard and the aluminium and the display, that what is in my hands is a MacBook.


Therefore this knowledge is not on your own?


In this case not (*thinks about it shortly*), well, yes, everything was told me some time ago. That this is a pencil and that is a mobile phone ... this may be true but for example a blind man who never has had the ability to see, is also able to know things by touching them, they are nevertheless existent for him.


Yes, and why are they present for him? Did he find it out on his own or was it told to him by others?


I am sure he would have found out on his own. If a man would be totally isolated in a room then he would... (*Marius stumbles*)


Yes, think about it! What would happen to a man who is alone on an island growing up with animals only? Would he say then: “This is a tree, that is an animal, this is a MacBook“?


He would call it differently perhaps, but he also would see a thing ... well he would just call it differently...


A man growing up alone on an island? There is nobody for him to speak with...?


He doesn‘t see the world in the manner we see it?




How does he see it? 


Think about it!


This is what i try now. I say that even if we are isolated, we are capable to perceive colours and forms. I don‘t know whether it was thaught to us that this is blue and that is green...


Yes, this is an important question, isn‘t it? Now we reach a point where you come to understand that in fact everything that you know about the world does not come from your own but that it was thaught to you...


…in this manner, yes... imagine a man in a state of evolution in which he did not have language as yet. He also was eating, hunting animals, broiling them and eating them, defecating, everything did function - without language!


Well, they also had hands to indicate something and perhaps also had a language which we would not perceive and call as a language today, animals also are unable to speak.


Yes. Where does man come from? Man must be nothing else than a sopistication of what has been present already.


Yes, true, we are but a sophistication of animal kingdom.


Exactly, and animals are also eating but they do not label it as such. This means that the world in a certain state of evolution has reflected living creatures so to speak: animals or a primitive man who was eating, hunting, cooking his meal and broiling it, principally he did everything what we do today but in the same time in the mind of illusory prehistoric man there was no label for all that...


o.k. i follow by concluding...


... and at a certain point in evolution, sound has evolved as words. And in this manner, at a certain point, man for everything he saw were given certain words. - How exactly this has happened, you can read in the book (“Evolution of Mind“ by Dr. Vijai S Shankar).


Well this are also just theories.


Is it a theory to say that language must have evolved at a certain point in evolution? Is this a theory or are you just able to understand it?


Yes, at some point in time everything must have evolved.


And what happened before that? Before, animals also existed as well as prehistoric man and they also did everything what we do without having language. - Do you follow?


Yes, i follow, but why does language exist then, why was language made at all and what for?


As part of evolution at some point, language was manifested in the human mind, or better as the human mind, in form of a sophistication of sounds. - And this mind labels the things, matter, plants, animals, men and actions. Now, the question is: How real could that be what the mind reports about life if before also everything must have happened spontaneously! If the mind “says“, “I do this and that, now i take the MacBook and press the button, this i do as a doer and as somebody with free will“, then this could not be a reality, this couldn‘t be real, because prehistoric man or at least the animal kingdom also did everything as we humans do. - Hunting animals, eating ect. without having a mind.


Are you able to follow that the belief that you are the doer in life could therefore not be real?


...This would be an idication for it…


…and not only the evolution of man is an indication for it, but also your own evolution, illusory it may be. Ponder: You also have been eating as a baby and done everything and showed movements, without being thoughts present, isn‘t it?



Maybe there were thoughts but i just can‘t remember it...


But these are all questions which need to be understood and pondered about. If you don‘t enquire on your own, that the world is an illusion, it would just be another belief for you. - And this belief would not help you, as much as the belief that the world is real and your are the ruler of your life, doesn‘t help you. You may think the world is an illusion but if tomorrow your parents annoy you and bother you, then it appears damn real to you. And therefore the knowledge that the world is an illusion, is not an understanding as yet that the world is an illusion. It only slowly but steadily becomes an understanding, as part of the evolution of life, if man understands his mind. If he understands that not only a thing which he sees is nothing but an optical illusion which transforms itself simultaneously into an auditary illusion which transforms magically into words with meanings, saying: “This is a computer“, “This is a MacBook“... If he is not just aware concerning things that they do not exist as real but also concerning all other words in the mind. All needs to be understood with clarity, first and foremost words like “love“, only then man looks through his mind. - If one understands that the world is an illusion, the idea of love must be an illusion, too.


Is it?


In the end the question is: How is it possible for me to be happy? Man believes that it is love when there is a feeling for somebody. - But how come that parents don‘t love their children in some certain situations, how could this be love? Or if one is in love with somebody, and has a lover, how come that one sometimes is angry about him? - And if it is the case that there is anger sometimes about the lover or the parents - how real could have been the love in the first place?


It could change, sometimes increases and sometimes decreases...


If love is real, it does not change; it does not increase or decrease or become its opposite, for then it would not be true love, it would just be minimal hatred. How could love be real if one is enamoured today and when the partner tomorrow was untrue by playing around the love is gone? This only means that the love was dependent on a condition, it was not unconditional and therefore it was illusory. What the mind takes for love is dependent on conditions and this is part of the understanding that life is illusory. Every word in the mind has to be understood that it exists only in a range of duality. As you already have said: Love could sometimes increase and sometimes decrease - this is love in the mind‘s sense of the word, what the mind believes to be love: It is just a range between love and minimal hatred. This means: If one loves the other today, this is just minmal hatred. This is because it could be the other way around the other day. And this hatred of tomorrow is just minimal love. It just is not absolute. And this relativity of duality, duality between love and hatred, big and small, is in fact One - just in different forms of appearances. This duality is not real in the sense that there is love and there is hatred which actually is One, sometimes appearing as more love and less hatred and sometimes appearing as less hatred and more love.


Duality just means this “dual approach“ of for example love and hatred?


This composition of two terms: “Love“ in the mind only derives its meaning from its opposite, “hatred“. This is therefore illusory because this love as such does not exist. This is the meaning of “illusory“: What the mind, the ego, takes for love is not absolute but oscillates between love and hatred. This is the nature of the mind, which depends on duality and this is the meaning of “illusory“. If this is understood, it reveals itself that what the mind labels as true love could in fact not be true love. And then unconditional love reveals itself, so to speak - which, then, is not dependent on what the other does or makes, it is just based on the understanding that the other is not as he is because of his own free will and choice. And if you understand this then you also understand the duality as what it really is: just thoughts.


I‘d like to come back to the issue of the illusory things. Is is not just argueing about names? If somebody said to you that this is not a “MacBook“ but a “BookMac“ then you would see a “BookMac“ whereas i would see a “MacBook“, but we both see a block of milled aluminium with a display and a keyboard.


And if we would call it plastic?


Then we both would see plastic, i guess.


This is exactly what it is all about. The words which happen so to speak for certain things are just not the absolute nature of that which is right in front of you. This is what it is all about.


True, but in principal it doesn‘t matter how we call it as we both see the same thing?


Yes, and this shows why that which the mind says about the world is an illusion and not a reality. We both see, so to speak, the same: The world is nothing but a reflection of energy and this energy reflects itself as images, words and colours and this makes the mind, also as a part of this energy (the mind is sound and sound is nothing but energy too) label that which is in front of us. - The unknown gets labeled through the mind. This is how an illusory world gets manifested in the mind and the idea that man is the doer, the speaker and the thinker slowly but steadily has become the truth.


What does “enery“ mean in this case?


Energy is a word, one could also say that energy is “nothingness“. Energy is the “unknown“ in general, but if man understands that which is in front of him is a spontaneous, uncontrollable and unpredictable transformation of energy and not what the mind tells him, then he becomes free of the belief that there are human beings acting based on free will and really doing what they do, and this is what it‘s all about. - Therefore the world is an illusion: Because everything is a singular movement of energy transforming itself spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably and life is not full of actions, individuals, time and real thoughts.


Is it not a contradiction to say that you don‘t have free will and yet it is not predistined?


No, because destiny is based on the assumption that actions, individuals, time etc. are real but all those are just thoughts in the mind, a sophistication of sound. The mind is sound in life. - Life is a play of light and sound.


But it was predestined that we skype now, isn‘t it?


To say that man does not have free will, is a relative understanding. “He is not the thinker, the speaker and the doer“ - and this is very helpful in daily life as yet but an absolute understanding means to be aware that every label in the mind - be it of objects, animals, plants, actions etc. - is illusory first and foremost, and that life is just a singular flow of energy. Then it becomes clear that there could not be anything predestined because even an action which would be predestined is nothing but an illusory thought in the mind. This is absolute understanding. Relative understanding is to say: “O.k. we look like humans and i am just not the doer.“


How does a man who never had the ability to see, a blind man, perceive the world?


Also for the blind man that which his senses say about the world transforms as thoughts in the mind...


…Yes, but he does not see anything….


Yes, man does not see the world, in fact he thinks the world. Relatively speaking he has other senses which obviously are sufficient to transfrom into thoughts. If you begin to ask now how a deaf-mute blind man sees the world, i recommend you the book “Evolution of Mind“ in which it is explained, because the deaf-mute blind man is a difficult task.


O.k. further questions: Does a hydrogen atom exist or not?


In the same manner as a computer, a hydrogen atom is also a reflection of energy and not a reality in life.


What about electricity?


The same.


And the equator? - Because it could not really be seen, it is just a selected line so to speak.


Now i notice what you want to say. The equator and your other examples are only apparently different from an object like a computer, because you point it out virtually so to speak with your finger on a terrestrial globe and you call it “equator“ in the same manner as you point with your finger onto a “computer“ and label it as a “computer“. In principal it is just a matter of abstraction and not a real difference.


To come to an end, let‘s deal with the topic “pain and dream“. If i have rightly understood, pain, if it is illusory, would mean that we only have pain as long we are consicous of the pain. There is the example of a GI having lost his arm in war and only began to feel the pain when somebody pointed it out to him. - This could also be called a state of shock. But when i am not informed before and someone bounces me or beats me i also will perceive this as pain, even though i don‘t know it before.


No, if you have a sore throat and fall asleep, do you feel the pain then?


Not in sleep, but the pain in the throat therefore has not really disappeared, i just don‘t feel it any more.


But what else could pain be if not that you feel it? In sleep there is not the thought about pain.


If i awake again, the pain comes back again.


But also not all the time. If you watch a movie and have other thoughts, there is the possiblity that you don‘t have any pain any more.


And just a touch, is it illusory too?


Yes. Do you feel the bed on which you sleep?




While sleeping?




Good, this is exactly the answer. Man is just not aware enough to “see“ that everything of which he thinks that it is a real perception is in fact just a thought in the mind. If your alarm clock goes off in the morning you have already woken up to hear it. Life wakes you up precisely in that moment when it makes the alarm clock go off. Not the alarm clock because you hear it, wakes you up but life is precise in the manner that it manifests an illusion in the mind and man is just not aware enough to perceive it. As soon as you have come to look through every nook and corner of your mind you become aware enough to notice it. Not as knowledge! But only as a “direct, clear, awake seeing“.


Why are we alive? What is in your opinion the meaning of life?


Every meaning of life which you could imagine is just a thought in the mind.


We are just primitive animals with the ability to think about such things and to philosophise, but without any meaning?


Again: Any meaning you give to your life could not be anything else than a thought in the mind.


I follow, but…


It is just relative. Any meaning you give to your life is just relative and not absolute. - Every man has an idea of what the meaning of life could be.


…in principal it is very deflating, isn‘t it?


For the ego, yes, but if you understand life clearly, you also understand what deflation is and you are free of it. Perhaps this is the meaning of life - relatively speaking: that you look through life as an illusion and are able to enjoy unconditionally every single moment of your life, come what may, without fear, without anger, without anxiety “What do i have to do tomorrow, i hope i do everything rightly.“


If this is the case, why does it happen that in daily life we do not think about such things but only about the apparent real things which we take to be real?


Because the mind is conditioned to believe that all what it thinks is real. - Because the mind thinks to be the speaker, the thinker and the doer.


How could this be changed?


Man evolves as part of the evolution of life. Life has conditioned the mind, life de-conditions the mind. The question about a “how“ does not show up at all.


Well, now i know the theses and theories but in principal still not much has changed already. - And this it is all about, that one notices a change...


Give me an example in your daily life about which you think that your understanding is not clear enough as yet.




it is not necessary to find it today, ponder about it


*ponders, a little perplexed*


Great example. You just are not aware enough as yet to understand that the thought will happen to you or not. If you were clear about the fact that thoughts happen to you and you don‘t make them happen, you would be totally relaxed with it that the thought just does not show up now, even if i requested you three times “Ponder about an example!“


Let‘s take goals, dreams and wishes as an example for being stressed oftenly.


Your goals, dreams and wishes appear real to you...


No, they appear illusory to me because they exist just as thoughts as yet.


Beautiful. Then you shouldn‘t be stressed at all. - If you think that you have the goal to get a certain job and also believe that it is under your control to achieve it, and that you are the one who has to do it, to achieve it, then you are stressed on the way. But if you understand that this is not the case and that life happens by itself then you have trust in life and you stay relaxed all the time. If you understand that, you will always be relaxed.


This may be the case, but if i go through life with the thought that in the end everything will be well, then i would stop doing anything at all, and i lay in my bed and wait, isn‘t it?


You would, in theory. - But this only shows that the idea that life is illusory is just a belief to you as yet. - Everything will happen exactly as it is meant to happen and you could not prevent from happening that you leave your bed again and apply for a job and get the job or not. Only because you believe that you couldn‘t do anything, this does not mean that life does not happen anyway.




So don‘t worry! Even though you believe that you are not the doer, everything still happens by itself and if you notice this, that everything happens by itself, you don‘t just believe that you are not the doer, but you understand that you are not the doer, and this is wisdom and equanimity, relaxation, enjoying life in every moment, illusory it may be. Unconditionally without future and past, simply the timeless Now reflecting an illusion of life.


Yes. Let‘s talk about the issue “time“. - Is time an illusion, too?


The mind could never be present in the absolute present, life has to happen in the present, but how short is the duration of the present? Not even science is capable to measure the absolute present as a unit of time and these days even science comes to the conclusion that life happens spontaneously in a timeless zone. - The mind is nothing but sound in the “absolute present“, one could say “enery“ which slowly makes an appearance as sound. And only in a certain illusory time going by, sound in your mind transforms as a word. A word needs time to be spoken out - depending on how long the word is. This means that the mind never lives in the “absolute Now“ but always in the past, in the apparent present or in the future. And everything which the mind says about life could not be that which happens in the “Now“, but has to have happened already in the past. In the “timeless Now“ and the “thoughtless Here“ nothing happens but a continuous, spontaneous, uncontrollable and unpredictable transformation of energy. Life is light and sound. The sound-aspect of life which is a delay because sound is light at a lesser speed, reflects an illusory world, an illusory man and an illusory mind. Understanding life is not a question of “yes“ or “no“, but to understand in what manner that which man perceives exists. It exists. But it does not exist in the manner the mind says it exists. - Not “yes“ or “no“ but “illusory“ is the answer and only if it is understood as wisdom and not as knowledge in the mind, it reveals itself.


Very subjective, how did it begin to you that you have understood?


As i began reading the books of Dr. Shankar.


And why?


Because those books don‘t add further knowledge to humanity about how to live and what should be done to become happy, but those books show why everything which the mind thinks, is not real but has to be illusory.


Yes, but you also must have been at a point when you thought that life were real. - Why, then, the wish to search for the illusion?


I have always asked myself how it could be possible that, if my children do something which i don‘t like, then my love as a father stops. I wanted to understand why i was not capable to love my children unconditionally. And then it became more and more clear that what i believed to be love couldn‘t be love because it depends on conditions. In this sense it could be said that i have begun to question and enquire into such important words like for example “love“. It could be said that this was the beginning.


Yes, that‘s clear, and thanks, i have learned a lot.


It was a nice conversation. I hope that it will not remain just learned knowledge to you.


Copyright 2012, Marcus Stegmaier, M.A.