Some excerpts from the first few chapters of:
The Conquest of Illusion
by J.J. Van Der Leeuw.(1929)
Wisdom is knowledge which is experience and therefore life; the quest of wisdom is in reality the quest of life.
The very existence of the desire for truth is the promise of its fulfillment and prophesies achievement.
It is a great but terrible thing when doubt is born, terrible in that it destroys the old world, great in that it opens the way to a new and nobler one.
Philosophy must be realization if it is to be worth anything, and the truth we realize must become part of our very consciousness.
There is never a truth but carries in it the possibility of misconception.
One truth emerges from our experience like a mountain peak from a surrounding plain. We now realize that no philosophical problem whatsoever can ever be approached in our world-image [the world of appearances], that there is but one way of approaching these problems which is; to conquer the illusion of our world-image, to enter the world of the Real and, in that Reality, to experience living Truth.
All questions, for instance, which have to do with a beginning of time or a beginning of creation, show in the very nature of the problem they touch the unthinking acceptance of time as an objective reality and are consequently problems about which we may think for many years, but which we can never solve. In fact, if we do claim to have solved such a problem we stand condemned by our own claim.
As it is in mathematics so is it also in philosophy -- according to the principles from which we start and which we assume as self-evident we reach certain conclusions which appear to be logically true, but which in reality are already conceived in the principles from which we started and which we recognized intuitively. Thus, in philosophy too, logic is the *method of exposition* and as such exceedingly valuable, but it does not lead to truth or produce truth; it is only the intuition which recognizes truth.
The intellect, bound as it is to the illusions of the world-image, fails us; to the intellect the world may seem one or many, but cannot be both at the same time. The realities of the Absolute must always be paradoxes to the intellect and whatever is explained about them intellectually will always lead to misunderstanding.
Nirvana is the extinction of the craving to be the relative thing and thereby the extinction of the relative as such in the realization of the Absolute. We are as justified to say that *we become the Absolute*, that the dewdrop becomes the shining sea, as we are in saying that the dewdrop is lost when slipping into the sea, that *we are annihilated when realizing the Absolute*.
If the unphilosophical mind were to ask: Why the Absolute? and Whence the Absolute? the unchanging Voice of that which is eternal and unchanging would give him the answer, could he but realize it. The Absolute is its own explanation, its own cause, its own fulfillment and its own realization.
True tolerance does not lie in blindness to characteristic differences, but rather in understanding why these differences exist and why they are valuable in the unity of universal religion.
We must guard against the illusion of duality, as if there were on the one hand the Absolute and on the other the relative, which then are synthesized in a higher unity. - There are not two worlds, one of relativity and one of the Absolute; there is but one world of ultimate Reality, the Absolute, which, when approached in its multiplicity is the relative.
As long as we, in philosophy, ask questions concerning reality, while we are bound in the illusion of our relative standpoint, and then try to deal with these faulty questions by means of the intellect, which is the mind functioning in the realm of relativity, it is quite impossible to come to a realization of living truth.
Thus in all the questions concerning the first Cause, the beginning of creation, the matter out of which the universe is made, its origin and the relation of our universe to its Creator, illusions enter, especially the illusions of an absolute time and of the objective reality of matter, and the questions can never be solved, being wrong in themselves.
Truly, 'fools rush in, where angels fear to tread,' and it makes the philosopher shrink with horror to see a mind which cannot yet think beyond the futilities of everyday life deal readily, definitely and conclusively with subjects of which he himself has only begun to realize the depth and the mystery.
The greatness of a true and living philosophy of life is not that it answers the problems of life, but that it does *not* answer them; did it answer them it would but show that it was born of illusion even as they are. Its greatness lies in the fact that it is able to *transcend* the problems and questions, which are rooted in illusion, and, in the experience of living reality, forget these futile playthings.
Relativity is but the spelling of the Name of the Absolute, it is its very being, its constitution, its description, we might almost say its one characteristic. That is why in the experience of Reality it seems absurd to ask how the relative originated in the Absolute, whence it came and why it is; it *is* the Absolute, and is only seen as the relative when viewed from the relative standpoint of some creature in its illusion of separateness.
Ever-present reality is the mystery we experience in the world of the Real and in that experience questions cease.
With thanks for selecting this and typing it out to Leo Bartoli.