What is reality? What is sanity?
What is illusion? What is madness?
The cultural/social/political/consensus way of seeing/interpreting existence forms the core of [REALITY and SANITY].
The most solid/enduring/unchanging formation (relatively speaking).
To diverge from this [consensus state of consciousness] and explore other states of consciousness is referred to as exploring [ILLUSIONS].
Illusions are by definition more fleeting because they are not reinforced and commonly held by the collective.
When this feedback mechanism stops, reality becomes illusion.
The sensory world gives the most consistent and enduring feedback and it is shared by all other sensory creatures. So we feel comfortable to call that the REAL WORLD.
Like you have a dream at night.
It is considered to be the most illusory thing because it is not validated/shared by ANYBODY around you and neither is that validated by the sensory input that kicks in the minute you are awake.
So it seems to me that [ILLUSION/MADNESS] represents reality that is [NOT SHARED], while [REALITY/SANITY] represents reality that is [SHARED].
Like if you imagine a BELL CURVE, anything at the ends of the bell curve slides into ILLUSION/MADNESS, while the CENTER of the BELL CURVE represents the CORE of SANITY/REALITY.
Another way to look at this from the personal level is to look at your own personal conditioning.
When you are in a state of mind that is fully in alignment with your DEFAULT MODE OF EXPERIENCE (CONDITIONED BY YOUR CONDITIONING) – you say you are SOBER/SANE/REAL.
Whereas, when you are in a state of mind that is very different from your usual mode/structure of perceiving existence – you say you are in an ALTERED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS/IN ILLUSION OR FANTASY.
Like say, to feel HUMAN (the experience of being human in a body) is normal/ordinary/sane/real.
Now, how will you interpret an out of body experience, say you feel like a bird and you are flying? Is it real? Is it an illusion?
To me, this question of real or illusion is more related to SOLIDITY than its PURE REALITY.
It also ties to the question:
What is more real? the visible or the invisible?
OR What is more real? – SOLID? OR LIQUID? OR GAS?
OR What is more real? – PHYSICAL BODY? OR HEART? OR MIND/IMAGINATION?
Suppose I release a bunch of smoke and it looks forms a figure.
Would that be less real, than if I showed you the same figure made in stone? or sand?
Usually what I notice is that – the reality of something is associated with its ENDURING-NESS and SOLIDITY.
What is fleeting, relatively unformed/fuzzy/wispy, is referred to as illusion.
In summary, what others call reality and illusion, I see it as:
PERSISTENT ILLUSION(Reality) ———-vs———- FLEETING ILLUSIONS (Illusion)
This is if I consider everything to be an illusion of different degrees.
OR I can also put it as:
PERSISTENT REALITY ———-vs———– FLEETING REALITY
UNCHANGING REALITY ———-vs———– CHANGING REALITY
This is if I consider everything to be reality in different degrees of enduring-ness.
This kind of breaks the duality between illusion and reality.
Illusion is real and reality is illusion.