Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Our life is a Museum of Illusions

I have been to  the museum of illusions in Vienna with my children. As we entered we saw  pictures that appeared totally different according to the side you were looking from. Rooms painted with diagonal stripes made people appear as giants in one corner and as dwarfs in the opposite one.

Holograms, steady objects hit by an intermittent light that made them appear as they were in a perpetual movement.

We walked into a giant kaleidoscope and, though the footboard we were onwas not moving, we felt like fluctuating in the air.

I have never experienced illusions from so close.

I have never experienced something that actually does not exist.

When we left the museum I started looking around. Cars, shops, people who ran in the streets. Were they real? What if everything around me was different from it seemed to be?

What if our material desires were only a deceiving need created by our materialistic soul? What if our daily run, which we are convinced is so necessary for us, goes in the opposite direction of our true goal?

Maybe G-d is challenging us hoping that soon or late we open our eyes and we realize that our life should be very different from what society is telling us? What if one day we just open our eyes and we realize that the aim we were created for is so different from what we have always believed?

There is a chassidic story about a poor man who travels in the world in search of richness. He happens to arrive on an island where diamonds are scattered everywhere while the most precious thing is onions. You earn in onions, you pay in onions, your wealth is calculated in onions. Days go by and he slowly forgets about the real world and the fact that if he simply picked up some diamonds from the floor, he could become very rich. On the island he becomes a very wealthy persons. After ten years he goes back home with a carriage full of onions. Look what I brought you! He says to his astonished wife. You’ve been away for home for ten years and this is all you could earn? She asks desperately. Onions?

In our life everything depends on the perspective we use to look at things. Reality changes according to the lenses we wear.  One day we will realize that we have lived all our life as in  a long dream. A dream made of wishes that do not belong to us, needs that are not ours, material things that should guarantee us happiness and joy but as we buy them, nothing changes inside ourselves.

And G-d hides Himself behind the illusion of this world and waits patiently that we open the curtain, we move the veil and we  discover our spirituality and our real aim.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

About the Author
Gheula Canarutto Nemni is a professor and novelist living in Milan, Italy. Her most recent novel '(Non) si può avere tutto' Mondadori 2015 tells the story of an Italian Orthodox Jewish girl and her challenges in the professional world in Milan.